BlackBerry,PlayBook,RIM,tablet,OSRIM has upgraded its PlayBook tablet software but does it make it competitive after so many market developments lately? The Waterloo, Ontario based company is hoping that a fresh upgrade with PlayBook 2.0 software will ignite demand not only among its corporate customers, but among consumers as well.

E-mail, calendar, and contacts are finally included, which should have been out of the gate with the first PlayBook. Also included is contact integration with social media, which was a feature even on BlackBerry smartphones. RIM also cma egood on its word on BlackBerry Bridge, enabling a BlackBerry smartphone to serve as a remote control for the tablet.

After almost a year on the market, the PlayBook has struggled against other tablets including a becy of Android-based ones and of course the Kindle Fire and the iPad. While the new version sports new software, RIM unfortunately did not update the hardware, meaning that esthetically it still lacks a lot. With an expected new iPod 3 in early March, PlayBook may soon look even more behind from a feature and design perspective.

While the PlayBook 2.0 OS does support Android apps, it’s not Ice Cream Sandwich or even Honeycomb-based ones, meaning that you’ll only be able to experience smartphone-based Droid apps, a significant disappointment. RIM is revealing though that BlackBerry developers are more profitable with over 30% earning over $100,000 a year on their apps. While the platform is now small in app portfolio size compared to iOS and Android, it seems to have a loyal core. But will stay in the camp throughout the year?

I’m still waiting for the BlackBerry 10 OS and a quad-core based PlayBook to see if RIM can weather the storm. Right now, there are few features and capabilities to woo even die hard enterprise fans. RIM did roll out a new video player, but I think PlayBook is still a tough sell among consumers. Also discussed was BlackBerry Mobile Fusion that will offer similar email encryption that corporate users enjoy.

RIM clearly needs to get BlackBerry 10 launched a new slate of PlayBooks in both 7-inch and 10-inch sizes to market if it PlayBook is even to be a player going forward. At $199.99 it is out gunned from a content and marketing perspective when compared to the Kindle Fire. The Fire is bundled with Amazon Prime and has a ton of content. The PlayBook 2.0 not so much. Even Barnes & Noble today announced a $199 version of its Nook Tablet.  And if the rumors are true and Apple comes out with an 8-inch version of the iPad, the PlayBook will have been played yet again.

– Randy Giusto