The Unified Inbox may very well be the "killer feature" of Playbook 2.0. Having one place in which to read and send all your messages is the future of mobile communication.
Prior to the OS 2.0 upgrade, the only way to email or message was to "Bridge" your BlackBerry to the Playbook. Even when bridged, you only had access to your various email accounts that were on your BlackBerry.
The Playbook surpasses virtually every other platform with the inclusion of a unified messaging inbox. What that means is that in one place - the Messages app - goes not only your email, but also Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages and Twitter Direct Messages.
Explanation of the Unified Inbox on the BlackBerry PlayBook
Getting Your Data In:
The beauty of the unified inbox is that is just works. The first time you start the Messages app, the Contacts app or the Calendar app, you will be prompted to "add accounts." When you add an email (i.e, Gmail) account, Facebook account, Twitter account or LInkedin account, any messages you receive will automatically go to the unified Messages inbox.
NOTE: You can only have one Facebook, one Twitter and one Linkedin account going into the inbox.
For those who are Outlook users and want to get your Outlook information into the PlayBook, it is a bit more complicated - but it is doable! Probably the easiest thing to do is to sync your Outlook information with your Gmail account and then set up the Gmail account on the PlayBook. Find out how to do all that here.
Reading and Replying
If your inbox looks a bit cluttered, just touch the "@" icon at the top of the left hand row of vertical icons and each separate account will be listed. In this example, I only want to see my Facebook messages, so I just touched the Facebook icon.
The beauty of this is that you don't have to open the dedicated app (i.e., Facebook or Twitter) to respond. You can respond to and compose messages in all of your accounts right from the Messaging app. Each installed account has its own icon along the bottom of the vertical row of icons to the left of the screen. Just touch the Twitter icon along the left hand side of the Messaging app and send a Direct Message - it couldn't be easier! Since your Twitter contacts were installed automatically, the Playbook knows who you are trying to message.
Want to send a Facebook message but don't want to get distracted by looking at everyone's updates? Just touch the Facebook icon and type away. Again, the Playbook already has your Facebook contacts, so it will try to match your contacts as you type in the "To" field.
To change the look at feel of your inbox, pull down the Menu by swiping down from the top. You can change the sort order by touching the Sort icon and then choose to sort by Date, Sender or Subject.
You can also change the display of your inbox from Single Messages to Conversations by touching the Settings icon and next to Display As, choosing Conversations. In Conversation view you can see that the icon changes to show you that there are multiple emails in that thread. This makes it easier to follow a particular conversation and see all the related emails. Touch the top email of the Conversation thread and you will see every email in that thread. To return to the main email inbox, just touch the "back" arrow at the top.
So, you can see that working with the Unified Inbox on Playbook 2.0 really helps not only keep you organized, it helps you fire off messages quickly to each of your Messaging account - all from one place. This is the future of messaging. This is why the Playbook smacked the iPad 2 in this category and it would, I dare say, smack just about any mobile device out there in this particular category right now.
Find out more tips and tricks and discuss anything related to your Playbook 2.0 in the PlayBook forums.