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RIM announces new apps for PlayBook; previews Android App Player

RIM announced new features for their mobile devices at the Blackberry World conference today. In addition to Facebook and Video Chat, the company also announced Bing integration and displayed the PlayBook's Android App player.


At the Blackberry World conference, taking place from May 3rd to May 5th at the Orlando World Center Marriot in Florida, Research in Motion (RIM) has so far presented numerous new innovations for their mobile devices. In addition to the announcement of a new multi-platform Blackberry Enterprise Solution for smartphones and tablets, the company will also be offering more flexible management regarding device security along with new apps and strategic partnerships.

First off, RIM has introduced a new video chat application for its PlayBook tablet; enabling users to keep in touch with family and friends through video calls over a WLAN connection. With just one click, users can initiate a video call with any persons on their contact list via features such as picture-in-picture (PIP) and “one-click video”.

Another application introduced by Blackberry today is the Facebook app for the PlayBook tablet. The application, which is basically a streamlined version of Blackberry’s “Facebook for Blackberry Smartphones” app, includes features such as quick search, management of Facebook friends by means of profile photos, and direct integration of Facebook Chat. As always, a continually updated news feed informs the user of friend activities and status updates. Both of the previously mentioned apps will be coming via an OTA update tomorrow.

RIM also previewed a few other applications that have been dearly missing from their tablet. Native calendar, contact and email apps all were not available upon the tablets launch but were on display at the Blackberry conference. Unfortunately, it looks like those apps won’t be included in tomorrow’s update and will be released later on this summer. 

With regards to the strategic partnerships, RIM also announced that they will be teaming up with Microsoft and their Bing search engine. Thus, by late 2011, Bing will be the standard for search and mapping services on all Blackberry devices and will directly compete with Google and their Android services. In return, Microsoft will be investing in further development of the Blackberry operating system.

Finally, RIM also previewed a working version of their Android App player. It had been previously announced that the PlayBook would be capable of playing Android Apps; however, that functionality was not present upon the tablet’s launch and will be coming later this year. The Android apps will be available directly from the Blackberry App World and are not even confined to their own section. Also, upon installation, the Android apps will not be labeled any differently than native Blackberry applications.



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Ronald Tiefenthäler/Omar Qudsi, 2011-05- 4 (Update: 2012-05-26)