BlackBerry PlayBook OS version 2.0 has been released to the public, according to a Research In Motion press release that was posted today.  The new OS version introduces features meant to close the feature gap between it and competing tablets, and to address some of the criticisms voiced in reviews of the device (including ours).

First and foremost, PlayBook OS 2.0 introduces an email client to the platform, addressing a key issue with the platform as it was at release - the client supports a unified inbox, as well as integration with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn messages. The calendar and contacts apps can also make use of information pulled from these social networks. The BlackBerry Bridge app has also been updated, and alongside generic promises that it makes things “quicker and easier,” it adds a feature that allows the keyboard on a BlackBerry phone to be used to control the PlayBook.

Other, smaller features include a Print To Go app, an updated touch keyboard with auto correct and predictive typing, an improved browser, and a new BlackBerry Video Store for US users. RIM also announced the availability of a program called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which will allow for management of BlackBerry phones and tablets in an enterprise environment. The version released today is a preview, with availability of the final version scheduled for late March.

The BlackBerry PlayBook had a starting price of $499.99 when it launched, but that has fallen by about half at many retailers. If you’re interested in trying some of these new features, getting into a PlayBook is considerably less expensive than it was even a few months ago.

Source: RIM

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