Blackberry Playbook OS 2.0 is finally here and with a whole lot of new and “revolutionary” features. Email, calendar and contacts were missing from 1.0 and is now part of 2.0. It’s not just your standard kind either, these features have social integration. Read on to find out in depth what the new features are and if they are a benefit to you. If you are coming from 1.0 and going to 2.0 this should feel like a whole new tablet. If you are undecided about which tablet you want, OS 2.0 may push you more in favor of the Playbook.
Email and the Universal Inbox
The new Messages apps gives a nod to the past by continuing to build on proven experiences. The iconic BlackBerry splat noting the arrival of new messages in the universal inbox remains part of the core messaging experience. But the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 messaging experience goes a step further; it has been extended to include ‘social messaging’, allowing you to directly integrate messages from some of the most common social networks: Facebook®, LinkedIn®, and Twitter®.
And to take it one step beyond just integrated social messaging, you can now see a contact’s social details right from the Messages application.
Tabbed email: You can reference one email while you compose another, or put an email you’re in the middle of composing on hold, while you type out a quick response to another message.
Rich text editing: You can write and edit email like you would on a computer – including support for fonts, attributes and sizes, as well as formatting. You can even edit or insert your “in-line” comments in an email thread.
Message Threading and Quick response: Let’s face it – in an era of ubiquitous mobile devices, email is more chat-like than formal. You can choose to view your messages as threaded conversations rather than single messages. Thread messages reduce a conversation to one inbox entry, thus reducing the signal-to-noise ratio in your inbox.
BlackBerry Keyboard: Longtime users know the keyboard input on BlackBerry smartphones is clever, including auto-entry of periods at the end of sentences and “@” symbols for email addresses. The new PlayBook OS 2.0 keyboard also introduces next word prediction, which helps makes hammering out emails on a virtual keyboard so much easier.
Search: Sometimes you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for. The search feature allows you to type out a partial string and constrain the search to specific recipient fields or subject, sent, received, and filter by when it was received (today, yesterday, even last week) – all in real time.
Calendar with social integration
Like the new Messages app that includes a universal Inbox, so you can conveniently manage all your email in one place, the new Calendar app in PlayBook OS 2.0 allows you to manage all your appointments and events in one place – including the ability to manage both work and personal (Gmail®, Hotmail®, Yahoo!®) appointments and Facebook® events (never miss a birthday again!). Of course, the Calendar app offers the common features that you’ve come to know and love, but it now also includes some compelling new features to help you organize your day:
People View: In addition to the traditional Day, Agenda, Week, Month views, you can now view your day based on the people you’re meeting with. This view provides additional information on your contacts pulled from LinkedIn®, including where you’ve met in the past.
Visual Cues: You’ll be able to more quickly scan and manage your calendar at a glance. For example, the Calendar app provides visual cues that identify days that have more appointments than those that are relatively light. For example, when you view your calendar at a glance, dates with many appointments will show up in a larger font while the dates in smaller fonts have fewer appointments. If you have a lot of appointment conflicts, a red highlight identifies the conflict so you can’t miss them!
Zoom in to a detailed view: From the “Week” view, you can go directly to a day’s calendar with ease. Simply tap any day to zoom into the details of that day, including the meetings you have scheduled and the people you will be meeting with.
Contacts: Your social hub
Your contacts are more than just an address and phone number, so why treat it like a rolodex? The new Contacts app acts as a social hub that helps you maintain a complete and current view of your contact’s social status.
Contact Linking: The majority of people use more than email and phone to stay in touch with their personal and professional contacts — Facebook, Twitter®, and LinkedIn are growing exponentially in their popularity and usability. The Contacts app allows you to automatically bring all these distinct social profiles into a single people-centric view in your address book – meaning you can set up one contact name and integrate all of their contact and social profile information into one profile. You also have the option to reduce duplicate entries, and manually link or de-couple your contacts from social profiles. Watch this demo to learn more.
Status Updates and People Views: Using information gathered from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the Contacts app lets you see your contact’s recent social status updates and common friends.
Meetings, Places, and News: Be prepared before walking into that meeting. For each of your contacts, you can view past (and future) meetings with that person, see the places you’ve met previously, and read news about their company.
Favorites and Video Chat: Mark your top contacts as a “favorite” for quicker access, and sort your address book by those contacts who also use BlackBerry PlayBook Video Chat.