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'.

RIM today confirmed that the over-the-air upgrade is available worldwide 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 failing of the original PlayBook that it had no email app, and users had to utilise either a BlackBerry phone or webmail. 

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.

In the article linked to from the Twitter message, 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."