Research in Motion, after 10 months, finally introduced wireless e-mail to the world in its tablet computer, the Blackberry PlayBook.
The e-mail application is one of many new additions to the Blackberry PlayBook’s new operating system. Early Tuesday, 2/21/12, the OS became available as a no-cost download to the public. This is a big improvement from the previous version that could only send and receive e-mails by being connected to a BlackBerry phone.
Due to the new software upgrade, owners of BlackBerry phones will be able to use the familiar keyboard on their handsets as a physical keyboard for the PlayBook through a wireless connection.
The new upgrade allows the PlayBook to run apps that are developed for devices using Google’s Android OS. Also, the new OS features the capability to integrate information and messages from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, onto its e-mail, calendar and contact apps.
Another benefit of the new software upgrade is that the PlayBook now allows owners of BlackBerry phones to use the keyboard on their handsets as a physical keyboard for their PlayBook through a wireless connection.
While we welcome the arrival of the new operating system from Research In Motion we’re also skeptical about how much of a new force the company would become over the course of the next year. This could make RIM a key force in the tablet computer market or it could inspire consumers to get excited about owning a Blackberry again.
However, while the new software fills in the gaps in the PlayBook, it still fails to bring the most popular feature on the BlackBerry phone to the PlayBook. The feature I’m referring to is the Research in Motion instant messaging service known as BlackBerry Messenger or BBM for short. BBM was probably the main reason most people purchased BlackBerry phones when they first came out.
Sadly, even with this new improvement I don’t see how the PlayBook will be able to compete with the other tablets like the Kindle Fire by Amazon or Apples third generation iPad that is due to be out this March. The PlayBook also offers very few apps compared to the Android-based tablets and Apple’s iPad. Only apps that have been submitted by developers to Research In Motion and then made available through an online BlackBerry app store will work for the PlayBook.
On another note, RIM has restrictions to Android apps from perform certain functions due to security concerns. This is probably due to the fact the RIM is intending to promote its tablet to large corporations and institutional users. This enterprise market was the original use of BlackBerry phones.
The only challenge for RIM is how to sell the PlayBook tablet as a profit even through its flaws and software shortcomings.
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