Research in Motion today released the second generation operating system for its Blackberry Playbook tablet, finally adding an integrated email client and native calendar and contacts apps to its much-maligned tablet, among other 'updates' and 'enhancements'. The BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 OS is now available worldwide. See our BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 review.

RIM today confirmed that the over-the-air upgrade is available world-wide as of today via its @BlackBerry Twitter feed, saying: "The countdown stops NOW. @BlackBerry #PlayBook OS 2.0 is here".

Those 'updates' and 'enhancements' include for the first time an integrated email client with what RIM calls 'a powerful unified inbox consolidating messages from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as personal and work email accounts'. It has long been considered a massive failing of the original PlayBook that it had no email app, and users had to utilise either a BlackBerry phone or webmail. (A situation not without a certain irony given that the reason BlackBerry became so successful was the email capabilities of its phones.)

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 also includes social integration with Calendar and Contacts apps, and an updated BlackBerry Bridge with remote control feature that allows a BlackBerry smartphone to be used as a wireless keyboard for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

The PlayBook now gets updated document editing functions and a mobile printing app called Print To Go. RIM also claims that there are 'thousands' of new apps, including a range of Android apps that will now run on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

BlackBerry PlayBook is currently available from £169 (for the 16GB model) from retailers including Dixons, Curries, PC World, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u as well as selected B2B resellers.

PlayBook 2

In the article linked to from the Tweet, RIM's David J Smith, said: "I’m excited to announce that the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 software update officially launched worldwide today. In October, I spoke to you about some of the key features you could expect with the release of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. Today, I’m proud to tell you – we’ve delivered them.

"As you will see, we’ve made updates and enhancements to some of the things you’ve told us you like the most. We’ve also brought you some new, highly anticipated features that you’ll find only on BlackBerry PlayBook tablet."