The BlackBerry PlayBook is taking two big steps toward becoming a more complete tablet as RIM today announced the PlayBook will soon have a video chat client and tablet-optimized Facebook app, both announced a day before the BlackBerry World conference begins in Orlando.
The BlackBerry PlayBook video chat app will be similar to video chat clients found on other tablets and will utilize the PlayBook’s 3-megapixel front-facing camera. Features include one-click video and VoIP calls through a dedicated contact list, pop-up call notifications, a “do not disturb” mode that ignores all incoming calls, and in-call rear and front camera switching.
The app is scheduled to ship tomorrow, May 3, as an over-the-air update. The team at TabletPCReview will be sure to try out the new feature and update our PlayBook review with our findings.
Also coming in May is an official tablet-optimized Facebook app for the PlayBook, though RIM did not disclose a specific date. The new Facebook app will deliver the “popular features of Facebook, optimized for the 7″ high resolution, multi-touch LCD display of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet,” according to a release.
TabletPCReview criticized the PlayBook for the dearth of app offerings, including a lack of social networking programs. RIM has not yet released any information regarding the sorely missing native email and messaging clients, which RIM promised it would bring to the PlayBook through an update. BlackBerry World kicks off tomorrow; perhaps reps will announce those apps then.
Update: It looks like the vaunted BlackBerry Messanger (BBM) is also shipping out. Members of the CrackBerry forum are reporting that BBM is popping up as part of a BlackBerry Bridge app update. So far, the update only applies to those running BBM on BlackBerry OS 6, but a BlackBerry OS 5-compatible version should come soon.