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Second Playbook OS versions now includes native e-mail

Las Vegas CES is not all about high profile promises and news as even Canada’s Research in Motion (RIM), better known as makers of Blackberry phones, has unveiled that the lackluster RIM Playbook will be shipping is OS 2.0 with email and other practical apps it missed when the tablet designed to take on the predominantly iPad crowd first hit those markets in early 2011. RIM’s deliberate omission rode on a security feature that allowed its corporate clients to start using the device online right out of the box without much risk. If users wanted contacts, messaging or email, they have to pair their Blackberry phone to the Playbook for temporary use.

That was the letdown, especially to non-corporate users who found the absence of even a basic client email apps disappointing. And to think RIM needed to go beyond the corporate markets so badly to survive competition with Apple’s iPad. No wonder nine months from its release and Playbook still has to take off.

To redress market disappointment, RIM blesses its 7-inch toothless Playbook with a new OS 2.0 that now comes with dedicated email, calendar and contacts apps. Not exactly exciting news at the CES, but it is still a practical update that happens to possesses features worth a long wait.

* PlayBook’s native e-mail offers a unified inbox that brings in your online accounts that include social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, allowing you to switch between inboxes using multi-view panels with collapsing interface. Composing emails comes customizable fonts, colors, and features like predictive text, autocorrect, and keyboard shortcuts.

* PlayBook’s native calendar works as expected where you directly create appointments or get linked to any subscribed online calendar. One nice feature RIM brought to the function is to increase or decrease calendar date based on how many events you have lined up for the day. One glance at the calendar gives you immediate notice on your busiest and freest days.

* Playbook’s new Contacts offer a few niceties as well. It can sync profile data from your connected Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and integrates with the Calendar app so your contacts get notified when there a rescheduling or cancellation of calendared appointments.