RIM has released BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 for its 7-inch tablet, finally adding much-needed features like a native email app and social networking integration, as well as turning your BlackBerry phone into a remote control. The free upgrade is available today, bringing with it select Android app compatibility; RIM says the BlackBerry App World is also being updated with "a range" of Android apps that will work with the PlayBook.
Although the PlayBook was first put on sale in April 2011, RIM opted to release the tablet without its own email abilities. Instead, users who wanted on-device email access had to tether the PlayBook to their BlackBerry smartphone; otherwise the only way to access messages was through the browser. RIM's motivations were seemingly speed to market and an attempt to spur handset sales as well, but the strategy backfired.
That's been addressed now with OS 2.0, which also brings a new Print To Go app, a boosted on-screen keyboard with better prediction and auto-correction abilities, and Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn integration in the contacts and calendar apps. BlackBerry Bridge also gets a boost, with the ability to use your smartphone to remotely control your PlayBook; however, CrackBerry has discovered that, since the system uses the Bluetooth HID profile, the new Bridge app turns a BlackBerry handset into a remote for seemingly any tablet or other device.
Meanwhile, RIM is also making an initial release of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, its tool for managing BlackBerry PlayBook tablets and BlackBerry smartphones in an enterprise. The full version - which will add mobile device management capabilities for iOS and Android devices - is scheduled to arrive in March 2012.
Details on how to install PlayBook OS 2.0 here.