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Can the PlayBook OS 2.0 save the BlackBerry tablet?

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(Read caption) The RIM BlackBerry PlayBook. This week, RIM announced the release of PlayBook 2.0, a new software update for the PlayBook.

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Last year, RIM released the BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet computer designed to compete with the Apple iPad. But reviews were tepid, sales were lackluster, and RIM was forced to repeatedly slash the price on the device, in a (mostly) unsuccessful effort to gin up consumer interest. Now RIM has announced the arrival of PlayBook 2.0, a software upgrade that addresses some of the complaints voiced by critics of the RIM tablet. 

Among the niceties on the PlayBook 2.0 software: more social networking integration, more apps, and the ability to check your email without tethering the PlayBook to a BlackBerry smartphone.

"It's what the first Playbook software should have been from a company which stakes its brand on messaging strength, with tightly integrated calendar, email, and contacts," Frost and Sullivan analyst Craig Cartier told Reuters today. 

The software goes live this week. So hey, is it worth picking up a RIM PlayBook? The software is an improvement, and prices on the tablet have hit rock bottom – you can now get your hands on a PlayBook for $200, a price tag three hundred bucks cheaper than the cheapest Apple iPad. The short answer, writes Roger Cheng of CNET: save your cash. 

"I've spent a bit of time with PlayBook 2.0, and the upgrades are neat. But the changes all represent minor improvements to a tablet that needed to take massive steps forward to compete with its ever-progressing competitors," Cheng writes. "The PlayBook launched nearly a year ago in April, and despite the new software, the hardware remains the same." 

And what would you wait for, exactly? Maybe the Apple iPad 3, which is very likely to be unveiled next month. Or the new Nook Tablet, which debuted this week.

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