BlackBerry PlayBook email app demoed as though it's something impressive

Criticised for its lack of native apps -- especially email -- the BlackBerry PlayBook has been showing off new features that will run on the tablet after an update this summer.

BlackBerry maker RIM has proudly shown off its native email app for the previously hobbled BlackBerry PlayBook at the stupendously boring BlackBerry World conference.

PlayBook users can expect to see email, calendar, contacts, tasks and memopad run natively on the tablet after an update this summer. Right now, if you want to check your email you have to rely on either a Web-based app or use the BlackBerry Bridge software to connect the tablet with a BlackBerry smart phone. Rubbish.

There are only 3,000 PlayBook apps available at present and native email was undoubtedly one of the major missing pieces for the tablet when the first wave of reviews poured scorn on the machine last month.

To be fair, the new email app is pretty classy, with a slick two-pane interface that shows a list of messages on the left and the full email on the right. You can see it in action in the video below.

RIM also gave the audience a first look at Android apps running on the PlayBook, including music apps, IMDb and a videogame info app. The 7-inch tablet will be able to run apps as if they were developed natively, via a Dalvik Java virtual machine and a fairly clunky app player that replicates Android's buttons for the buttonless PlayBook.

The UK is yet to get its collective national hands on the PlayBook. Although a June launch is anticipated, there has been no official word from RIM on the UK release date yet -- at least that means it should have this basic functionality added by the time it arrives here. Learn more about the BlackBerry PlayBook in our full preview.

 

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