Research in Motion (RIM) has announced that its BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 software update is now available to users, bringing a raft of new features that it hopes will drive demand for the device after a disappointing initial launch.
The delayed update includes major new features such as a unified inbox to sync all email accounts into one application and social integration that displays contacts' updates from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
It also includes BlackBerry Bridge functionality that lets users operate the tablet via a BlackBerry smartphone, so the trackpad can be used to navigate on the tablet's home screen when giving presentations or use the phone's Qwerty keyboard to write on the tablet.
Perhaps the most notable feature to be added, though, is the inclusion of an email application to allow users to access, read and respond to messages directly on the device, without having to pair it with a BlackBerry smartphone.
Writing in a blog post the firm's senior vice president of mobile computing David Smith said the new features would give the device a cutting-edge over rivals such as the iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab range.
"We've made updates and enhancements to some of the things you've told us you like the most. We've also brought you some new, highly anticipated features that you'll find only on BlackBerry PlayBook tablet," he said.
The firm also issued advice to those awaiting the update, explaining in a blog post that it will be rolled out to devices in the coming weeks and should be simple to install.
"When BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 is released, you will receive a Software Update notification that appears on the status bar," it said.
"When this appears, tap ‘Update' to start downloading the Software Update. You'll need to restart the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet when the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update is complete, so make sure you save any files you might be working on."
While Playbook 2.0 is generally available, many users will have to wait for their mobile operators to push out the update.
Despite RIM's upbeat attitude the PlayBook has failed to capture much market interest, with initial reviews of the device poor, forcing the firm to take a huge $485m hit to lower the price of the device for resellers.
The firm has also recently appointed a new chief executive, Thorsten Heins, as it aims to revamp the company in the face of increased competition from Apple's iOS products and a slew of rival manufacturers running Google's Android platform.
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