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BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update brings email at long last

The new version of RIM's PlayBook OS is out today, finally bringing native email to the ailing tablet.

The new version of RIM's PlayBook operating system is out today, finally bringing native email to the company's ailing tablet.

Those of you who own the PlayBook will be delighted to know you can now install the free update, by keeping an eye out for the software update icon in the status bar (it looks like a little box with a green arrow pointing downward), then tapping this icon and starting the download.

With version 2.0, the PlayBook gets an email app that also drags in messages from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as improvements to BlackBerry Bridge that let you use your BlackBerry phone as a remote control for the tablet, and built-in calendar and contacts apps.

2.0 also includes support for some Android applications, which is good news, as the number of decent apps on the Android Market far exceeds those on RIM's own app store. You'll see those apps popping up on BlackBerry App World.

Helpful additions then, but it's a crying shame these features weren't present at launch. Worse still, this crucial update was expected to arrive way back in October.

The other bad news is that there's still no sign of BlackBerry Messenger. BBM is the popular messaging service you find on BlackBerry phones that suffered a serious outage last year, and was a target for blame following the London riots.

While those who splashed cash on the PlayBook will appreciate the new features, I'd be amazed if this update helps rescue the PlayBook, which had its price slashed to £169 in January. Manufacturer RIM admitted in December to picking up a £235m bill for unsold PlayBooks.

BlackBerry's hopes now rest with BlackBerry 10, and the rumoured BlackBerry London smart phone. Will that be enough to put the company back on top? I'm doubtful, but stranger things have happened. I want to know your thoughts in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.