PlayBook OS 2.0 coming in Feb. with email, contacts, calendar apps

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After a bumpy 2011, ailing mobile firm Research In Motion has unveiled a long-demanded software update for its BlackBerry slate. During a gathering at CES, the company displayed devices running PlayBook OS 2.0, which finally adds native email, contacts and calendar applications. Interestingly, the former two serve as hubs for not only PlayBook messages and contacts, but also those from your social networking accounts, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and others.

The email app also offers an array of text formatting options, allowing you to bold, italicize, create bullet points, as well as change your font type, color or size. The calendar app is said to be pretty standard, but we've heard good things about the cross-app integration. For instance, BGR reports that contacts are tied to meeting entries in the calendar for quick and easy access. The calendar also syncs with popular services by Google, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail and Microsoft Exchange.

BlackBerry PlayBook running PlayBook OS 2.0 (via Digital Trends)

The latest revision revamps the homescreen, allowing you to group applications into folders or place your most used applications on a dock. You can also expect a "reading view" mode in the browser, a feature mostly associated with Apple's desktop and mobile Safari browsers, as well as an improved version of BlackBerry Bridge, which has a remote control function that allows you to type, navigate and perform gestures on a PlayBook using a BlackBerry smartphone.

Unfortunately, you'll have to wait another month for these features as the overhauled operating system isn't expected to be released until February, approximately 10 months after the PlayBook tablet hit shelves. Some analysts believe this update is "too little, too late," and won't do much to boost PlayBook sales or help RIM's faltering reputation in the mobile consumer segment. Nonetheless, existing PlayBook owners will undoubtedly appreciate the additional functionality.

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