Tech Blog

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 Is Now Available for Download!

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-21-2012 03:16 AM - last edited on ‎02-21-2012 09:51 AM by Administrator

Whether you bought a BlackBerry PlayBook way back on April 19th of last year, or if you took advantage of the recent price drops, there is good news.  The long awaited update to the BlackBerry PlayBook is finally upon us and BlackBerry PlayBook owners can now download and install the update. This update brings a number of expected features such as an updated homescreen, on device (native) Email, Calendar and Contacts apps, and also a number of unexpected but very cool features. If you have a BlackBerry PlayBook, you’ll want to download this update ASAP.  At 400-500MB in size though, make sure you have access to a high speed wireless connection first!

 

IMG_00000015.jpg

 

The new PlayBook update brings a number of new and updated features, including:

 

Advanced Messaging App – This is much more than just a basic email app, bringing together a unified messaging experience in which you can send and receive emails and messages from other messaging services like Twitter and LinkedIn. Also expect a more desktop like experience with the ability to multitask and write emails in rich text. So if you need to reference other emails repeatedly while composing a new email and you want to throw in things like bullets and use different fonts, etc? No problem. You can easily switch between messages without having to save your draft. It also includes the ability to set signatures or out of office messages directly from within the app.

 PlayBook_2_Messages.jpg

 

Calendar – Although you will have access to all basic calendar functions in the new Calendar app, you will also be able to do more as the calendar will allow you to search appointments based on the person, and it will bring together information about that person from different areas so that you can get all the info you need before a meeting.

PlayBook_2_Month.jpg 

 

Contacts – Again, this is more than just your basic address book. Sure, you'll be able to put in all the regular info, but you'll also be able to bring in other info, such as social media (e.g. Twitter) connections. The info therein will integrate into the messages and calendar apps and each contact file will show things like recent status updates, and much more.

 

Documents To Go – This app is getting some much needed improvements, including the ability to edit embedded charts and sheets, a new formula wizard with more than 100 functions and enhanced support for the virtual keyboard.

 PlayBook_2_WordToGo.jpg

 

Print To Go – This is one of those new and unexpected apps.  With this app, you’ll be able to print from your Windows based laptop or PC directly to your PlayBook.  To start, you’ll need to download the software to your computer (available at http://blackberry.com/PrintToGo).  Once that is installed, you will be able to wirelessly print essentially anything as a digital printout to your PlayBook, just as if you were printing to paper.  So you’ll be able to “print” hotel and airline bookings, maps, documents for review, etc.

 

Remote Control for the BlackBerry PlayBook – How cool would it be to be able to use your BlackBerry to control a cursor on your PlayBook, or even better, how would you like to be able to use your beloved BlackBerry keyboard to hammer out those messages instead?  Well, now you can!  Just make sure you update your BlackBerry Bridge app on your BlackBerry smartphone.  Using this feature, you will be able to plug your PlayBook into your TV and then control it from the couch using your BlackBerry – so that means that if you need to stop the playback on a movie, or you want to play a game of Monopoly on the big screen, you won’t need to sit right in front of your TV.  This will also be great for controlling presentations.

 

 BlackBerry Remote.jpg

 

Improved Keyboard – One of the complaints a lot of people made was that the keyboard often took up too much screen space, so RIM has made it a bit more narrow, allowing you to see more of your screen.  But that’s not where the real improvements lie.  RIM has also introduced something that most users have been hoping for: autocorrect and word prediction.  I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten frustrated at my PlayBook wondering why pressing Space twice doesn’t automatically insert a period, or why I can’t just type “il” and get “I’ll”.  Yes, its minor, but it’s an annoyance, nonetheless.  Well, great news, the PlayBook OS 2.0 has brought that, and more.  The new word prediction function is so good that you can type entire meaningful sentences with the input of just a few letters.

 

 PlayBookKeyboard.jpg

 

File Manager – This was another of those glaring omissions in the original PlayBook software, but RIM has listened and has finally introduced a File Manager.  Now you’ll be able to more easily search for or delete files.  Yes, it’s a simple thing, but it’s a useful tool.

 

Reader Mode – This browser mode enables users to view webpage content in an easier to read format that focuses on the content, rather than the ads, etc.  In other words, it helps you focus on the important stuff.

 

New Apps – In addition to the recent releases of Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, Plants vs. Zombies and others, the PlayBook OS 2 update will also bring a whole onslaught of Android apps to the PlayBook, so get ready to spend a lot of time scouring App World for the newest and greatest.

 

BlackBerry Balance and Mobile Fusion – For those of you who manage IT at work and want to ensure that your coworkers are able to do their work on a secure system that is separate from their personal info, RIM has also introduced BlackBerry Balance and BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.  These systems will improve device manageability, provide the ability to secure, manage and control confidential corporate information, and overall increase corporate security for the security minded companies.

 

Video Store – Although this is only expected to launch in the United States right away, Canadians should also get access to the BlackBerry Video Storefront later this year.  This will bring new release movies, TV shows and more for purchase or rent when it does become available.

 

How to install the PlayBook OS 2.0:

 

To update the software on your BlackBerry PlayBook, you can either wait for an update notification to appear on your PlayBook in the top right corner, or you can manually update by going to Options, then Software Updates.   Click on the button to check for updates, and proceed with the download.  Once the download has completed, the update should install automatically.  After a reboot, you’ll be up and running!

 

How to install the BlackBerry Bridge Update:

 

 BlackBerry Bridge Update.jpg

 

In order to use the new features such as the BlackBerry Remote, you will need to upgrade your version of BlackBerry Bridge.  If your BlackBerry smartphone has not already prompted you to download the new version of BlackBerry Bridge, you can get the update by going to BlackBerry App World, go to My World, press the BB Menu button and select Refresh.  You should now see the BlackBerry Bridge update show in your list of installed apps.  If you do not have BlackBerry Bridge installed on your BlackBerry smartphone, you can find it on App World by searching for BlackBerry Bridge in the search box.

 

I will attempt to follow this up with a review once I’ve had a chance to play with the official version, but in the meantime, feel free to download and explore it yourself!

Comments
by Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-21-2012 04:28 AM

I find it funny that although RIM is a Canadian based company, the United States gets first dibs on some of the new features.

 

JB

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-21-2012 04:30 AM
Alas, the joys of licensing media...
by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador ‎02-21-2012 06:33 AM - edited ‎02-21-2012 07:07 AM

2hrs later and the servers are holding up well..... downloading complete and now installing....

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxZK2VJyqYs&hd=1

 

With a 5mb connection, download in 10 minutes... installation in 10 minutes.

 

It preserved my applications and browser bookmarks.

by mwashburn on ‎02-22-2012 06:29 AM

While I don't think I would classify the update as amazing, I would certainly say that it is a significant improvement and certainly should force people, especially those hardcore BB'ers, to consider this now.  2 weeks ago I wouldn't have bought a Playbook, even for $199, now it might be worth consideration.

by Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-22-2012 06:50 AM

The installation took longer than the download for me, but like XL said, didn't take too long and din't lose anything as part of the update process.  I like some of the new apps, but I found the AppWorld still a little bit chincy in terms of what is available.  Looking forward to seeing more from the Android side of things!  Definitely worth the wait though, and I'm glad I got a Playbook when I did.  It served me well throughout the Christmas/Caribbean travelling I did in December/January, and will continue to serve me well with the new features :smileyhappy:

 

JB

by Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-22-2012 10:18 AM

Just noticed another neat, if not very subtle addition that might not be useful or even noticed by a lot of people.  I work in a loading dock, and as such I have loads of time to sit and watch TV shows or movies, a lot of which I use my playbook for via HDMI.  Normally I just pause the video when I go on break, and I come back and have to wake the device up and re-enter my password before continuing watching.  With the OS 2.0 update, I noticed today that the video remains on while paused and no matter how long it is left the playbook does not go to sleep providing the video app is in full-screen mode.  This isn't very good for battery life per se, but for someone like me who uses the Otterbox and covers the screen when using HDMI, who goes on a half hour lunch or 15 minute break, to come back and have to remove the screen cover and then re-enter my password and then replace the screen cover, it was an annoyance.  Now that I don't have to do that anymore, I'm even more impressed with this update.  It may have been an inadvertent or unintentional part of the update, but it's certainly useful for me!  :smileyhappy:

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-24-2012 12:47 AM
That's a cool point Juice... And you'll also notice that there is a Standby and a Lock button now when you tap the battery icon, which is so much more useful. It used to be that when you put your PlayBook into Standby, the lock also automatically engaged, which was really annoying when you realized 10 seconds later that you forgot to check something. Its the little things that make a difference. @mwashburn, I'm not sure if you've played with one yet, but check it out. At the current price point, its a steal, if for nothing more than to give people a decent mobile messaging and web experience, and for media consumption. Of course you can also do much more with it too though. I took mine in place of my laptop for a week long work trip and with a remote desktop app installed, I was able to do the same work as if I had taken my laptop. I'm still hoping to post my impressions of the update... Hopefully this weekend. :smileyhappy:
by oldgoalie on ‎02-24-2012 06:52 AM

New OS is an improvement, but what a waste of a hi def screen and HDMI connection. All you can watch is the 2 minute sample video supplied or the NFBC. Not even a Netflix app yet. Someone needs to get on the ball with this one.

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador ‎02-24-2012 07:10 AM - edited ‎02-24-2012 07:29 AM
  • You can load your own personal home videos on it and play back on those great stereo speakers.
  • YouTube works great on the Playbook
  • You can play website flash videos on your TV with the HDMI connection
  • There is a new Rovi's Blackberry video store is being tested in the states and will likely be available in Canada soon
  • Netfllix doesn't offer HD to Canada and have stated they are not supporting RIM products
by Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-24-2012 07:54 AM

While Netflix would be nice, the YouTube app shows videos (where possible) in 720pHD.  I get a great picture when I use the HDMI connection on my TV, despite it being replicated on a larger screen - it looks as good as it does on the PLaybook despite the size difference (I was expecting the picture to be pixelated when transposing a non-HD image onto a bigger screen, but it looks at least as good, just bigger).

 

If you take HD video with a camera or camcorder you will be able to play those on the playbook.  Games look really nice as well, and play in 720p (Plants vs. Zombies looks really nice - nicer than on my PC!).

 

I don;t think they've dropped the ball with the HD resolution on this - what type of video files have you been trying to play that you haven't been able to?

 

JB

by Jerryg50 ‎02-24-2012 06:05 PM - edited ‎02-24-2012 06:07 PM

I did the Playbook update, and including the Bridge update. It's a terrific impovement!

 

I noticed the specifications for the touch screen are improved. The response is more exact. I also noticed the improvements in the Word processor and Spreadsheet program, just to begin with. I set up the email client to use multiple email accounts, including Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail. Everything is working great!

 

This new update effectively turned the Playbook in to a new tablet. It is a vast improvement. I also noticed that when tethered to the phone it is a bit faster than before, and it was considered very fast to begin with.

 

Another plus, is it will now work with a Bluetooth headset. Make sure the headset has its own volume control. The Playbook volume control will not work with Bluetooth audio devices.

 

This OS2 system is what RIM should have done in the first place!!! They would have been a high ranking tablet in the market place. The size and weight is perfect for carrying around. Their product quality is very high.  I keep it with me in my jacket pocket. At the present pricie I bought more of them for other family members.

 

 

Jerry G.

 

by Chem63 on ‎02-24-2012 10:36 PM

Where does one find the android apps? Or are they still to come?

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador ‎02-24-2012 11:38 PM - edited ‎02-25-2012 09:19 AM

The applications are mixed in with the Blackberry applications....

  1. start App World on your Playbook with OS 2.0
  2. type "Android" in the search box at the top right and press return
  3. anything with "by Android" are Android applications registered with Blackberry for the Playbook

 Yes more will come over time....

by A_Chiz on ‎02-25-2012 09:45 AM

As far as video is concerned Shaw just launched Exo which is their on demand service that you can view from a laptop or a Playbook (or other tablet). The picture quality is great and it's free if your a shaw customer.

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎02-25-2012 04:42 PM

XL is correct.  Android apps aren't obvious - i.e. there is no specific app player that you can see for most Android apps.  The apps look just like normal PlayBook apps in most cases.  :smileyhappy:

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎03-01-2012 08:34 PM

Here's a great walkthru video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTqAcmc9E4Y

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