Review: BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 User Interface
The user interface for the PlayBook has been improved upon all over the place in the 2.0 update. The first thing you’ll notice is that the apps in the multitasking view appear as larger cards. Swiping between apps is much faster now and extremely responsive. While swiping from the side bezels, you can switch between apps very quickly, faster than on any other platform. The motion of the cards is effortless and completely natural.
You now also have a dock for your most common applications, giving you quick access to them with an upwards swipe from the bottom bezel.
The icon organization tabs, “All”, “Favorites”, “ Media”, “Games” and “Bridge” have been tossed out in favor of a simpler organization structure similar to the one found on iOS devices. One of the most useful features in the update is the ability to create folders. By simply dragging one icon on top of another, you create a folder with the two icons inside. Moving apps within existing folders is intuitive and very slick. These changes make for a definite improvement over the previous operating system.
The interface is simpler, yet more powerful and pleasing to the eyes at the same time. You now also have direct access to the native file system, instead of through certain apps. I really don’t like the native file browser though. It’s still clunky and barely useful, but that’s another story. There are many other quality file browsers that are available in App World, but you’re lacking their integration with other apps.
The battery icon has been enlarged and touched-up. All of the bridge icons have been redesigned despite maintaining the same functionality prior to the 2.0 update. And lastly, launching apps is noticeable faster. The OS appears very polished and virtually bug-free.
Overall, OS 2.0 delivers a solid improvement to the user interface. While keeping it simple and powerful, small tweaks and enhancements made to the multitasking view are for the better. The addition of folders helps a lot with the organization and was well-done. Although not much was done and the update wasn’t completely necessary, I’m very happy with the changes. In this business, good enough is usually not good enough, and we’re glad RIM now recognizes that.