As expected, Research In Motion began pushing out its long-awaited PlayBook software upgrade Feb. 21.
PlayBook OS 2.0 includes a number of features demanded by users ever since the 7-inch tablet made its debut in April 2011. These include built-in email, calendar and contacts; a variety of new apps; and social-networking integration with calendar and contacts. The BlackBerry Bridge app, which lets users tether a BlackBerry smartphone to their PlayBook the better to view things on the latter s larger screen has likewise been updated: Now, a BlackBerry can act as a wireless keyboard and mouse for the PlayBook.
A new "reading view" for the Web browser offers a streamlined way to read online news articles or Websites with large amounts of text. In a bid to boost the tablet's consumer appeal, RIM is also offering a Video Store with new releases for rent or purchase.
Although the PlayBook gained some early buzz ahead of its release, it subsequently faced an uphill battle for adoption in a market segment dominated by Apple's iPad. In December 2011, RIM announced it would take a $485 million charge against its PlayBook inventory, or $360 million after applicable taxes.
In a Dec. 2 statement, RIM cited "competitive dynamics of the tablet market" and the delay of the PlayBook OS 2.0 upgrade as reasons behind the write-down. "The Company now believes that an increase in promotional activity is required to drive sell-through to end customers," the statement added. "RIM will record a provision that reflects the current market environment and allows it to expand upon the aggressive level of promotional activity."
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