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BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 and BlackBerry Bridge 2.0 demoed at BlackBerry DevCon

RIM’s new CEO and President Thorsten Heins and head of RIM software EMEA product management Vivek Bhardwaj have just given us a glimpse of some of the new features coming to BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 and showed off BlackBerry Bridge 2.0.

Though there’s still no launch date for PlayBook OS 2.0 (at the time of writing) we got treated to the three key areas – messages, contacts and the calendar – that’ll be getting some attention with OS 2.0

The new ‘unified inbox’ that we’ve heard about allows you to access “Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, comes into one inbox and you’re able to manage it effortlessly and easily,” according to Bhardwaj who showed off the new functions to the 2,000-strong crowd.

As well as getting all of your DMs and notifications slung into your inbox alongside your Groupon and Vouchercodes, you can access “rich content in the email right away,” so things like images (like that of the sports car below) can be expanded and interacted with using pinch to zoom gestures.

For LinkedIn messages, Bhardwaj described the new email app as having a “newsreel capability that goes into the internet and brings up information [about an employees’ company],” if available. So you’ve got more than just an inbox that simply aggregates messages with PlayBook OS 2.0.

The calender app has also been given an overhaul, coming with a neat visual trick. On your busy days, the numbers in your calendar will grow and become bigger as more reminders and events are added, with your quiet, off-days being smaller and less threatening-looking.

What we really wanted to see though was the latest version of BlackBerry Bridge and that’s what we got. BlackBerry Bridge 2.0 will let you connect your BlackBerry 7-running phone to your PlayBook like normal and use it as a Wi-Fi tether.

As well as this, you’ll be able to use the Qwerty keyboard of your BlackBerry phone to type out emails and URLs on your PlayBook, essentially using the phone as a miniature wireless keyboard.

Very cool, and something we heard about round the time of CES. What’s really really cool though is that if your BlackBerry phone has a touchscreen, then you’ll be able to use this as a separate trackpad as well. So your BlackBerry phone can become a wireless keyboard and a mouse.

Pretty nice right? The release date for BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 is touted as being the 17th of February. In any case, it almost certainly won’t be dropping before the 13th. We’ll of course update with the official release date once we get it as well as a full review of OS 2.0 once we install it ourselves.

You can check out the General Session Live Webcast of BlackBerry DevCon Europe here.


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