Playbook update to bring video chat this month

Blackberry’s tablet is slated to get its own Facetime-like application.

Research in Motion announced it will be bringing video chat functionality to the Playbook later this month, utilizing the gadget’s front-facing camera and allowing users to chat with one another. The proprietary app will let users add friends, view video call history, and offer voice chatting as well, all over a Wi-Fi connection. There is no 3G or 4G version of the Playbook yet available.

RIM also noted it will be releasing a Facebook app this month as well. Currently, the pre-loaded Facebook “app” is nothing more than a shortcut to the browser app, with loaded up.

The new dedicated application will let users more easily upload photos and video, and connect with the social networking site without disrupting their current browser activity.

These upcoming additions will hopefully make the Playbook a more attractive device, but they also underscore one of the biggest complaints about the device – many have criticized it as an unfinished product. That is, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that a true iPad competitor should have.

It looks like RIM will incrementally roll those out over time, but clearly it could have taken a bit longer to have them available from day one.

We’re also still waiting for the Playbook models with mobile network connectivity, as portability is one of the defining ideas of the Blackberry brand.

The Playbook has received mixed reviews, but according to analysts it likely sold very well in its initial launch, giving RIM a much needed boost. It’s up to the company to keep the newfound momentum going.