RIM BlackBerry released an over-the-air update to its PlayBook OS software earlier today. I had been using the beta with good success over the past few weeks. The biggest new feature is the native email client which I configured to access to Gmail as well as access to my corporate Lotus Domino email through Lotus Traveler. Note that IBM doesn't formally support Traveler for PlayBook at this time. With the prior 1.0 release of PlayBook it was necessary to pair with BlackBerry smartphone and use the bridge software to access enterprise mail. With the new 2.0 release, a BlackBerry smartphone is no longer needed and it can connect directly to the new BlackBerry Device Service which can in term connect to Domino or Exchange via Traveler or ActiveSync respectively. Unfortunately, PlayBook can't connect to an existing BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Enterprise BlackBerry customers wanting to support PlayBook will need to deploy new infrastructure. This is also true of new Universal Device Service which allows the management of iOS and Android device (i.e. the Ubitexx MDM acquisition RIM made last year) and the new BlackBerry 10 devices that are due out later this year.
RIM's enterprise customers have some important decisions to make in the coming months with fierce competition from the upcoming iPad 3, Android tablets including a new Nook Tablet which matches the Kindle and PlayBook's $199 price and ARM-based Windows 8 tablets later this year. While enterprises are likely to continue to adopt multiple mobile platform strategies, it remains to be seen if the enhancements RIM has planned will prove competitive - particularly in the US market.