PlayBook Update Allows Android Apps, Many Fixes

Dennis Faas's picture

Research in Motion (RIM), best known for its BlackBerry smartphone, has recently released a highly-anticipated software update for its struggling PlayBook tablet computer. The updates help to resolve interactive features of the device.

The PlayBook was first launched in April, 2011, in an attempt to siphon off sales from the iPad.

Unfortunately, it sold just 500,000 units in its first quarter of availability, only 250,000 units in the next quarter, and a disappointing 150,000 units in its third quarter. (Source:

Email Issues, Lack of Apps Kept Down PlayBook Sales

Several factors contributed to PlayBook's market struggles.

When the PlayBook was first released, the device originally lacked a native email application, forcing users to tether it to a BlackBerry smartphone to receive messages.

This was a clunky, unpopular procedure that most experts believe kept down sales of the PlayBook. (Source:

But a bigger problem was the relative dearth of applications for the device. Prospective PlayBook owners could find only a handful of programs, while iPad owners could choose from hundreds of thousands.

New Update Allows Android Apps, Fixes Email, Social Media, and More

The PlayBook OS (operating system) 2.0 update addresses many issues.

First, it provides that long-awaited native email application, which also offers users social media updates from Facebook and Twitter.

The new email app is very easy to use, and includes a predictive-typing feature that, once learned, can significantly speed up the process of writing messages.

The update also contains a much-improved calendar application for scheduling meetings and appointments, plus a contact list system that is fully integrated with the popular website LinkedIn, the business social media platform.

Even more important, however, may be the update's ability to run apps written for the Google Android environment.

This development vastly increases the number of apps available for RIM's Playbook tablet, essentially solving one of the device's most crippling problems.

BlackBerry Bridge Allows for Wireless Smartphone-Tablet Integration

PlayBook users who also own a BlackBerry will be pleased with the update's extended integration between the two devices.

Of particular interest is the BlackBerry Bridge application, which allows users to type messages on their smartphone's QWERTY keyboard (standard keyboard) and have them displayed on their PlayBook.

Initial reactions to the software update have been positive, though some experts believe it comes far too late for a device that months ago lost virtually all sales momentum. (Source:

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