On Monday RIM said that the company will showcase both the BlackBery 7.1 OS and the PlayBook OS 2.0 this week during CES 2012 in Las Vegas. The former smartphone-based OS is officially rolling out from carriers around the world starting today and the roll-out will continue over the coming weeks. New releases of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), BlackBerry Traffic and BlackBerry Travel will also be available on BlackBerry App World starting today.
"The BlackBerry 7.1 OS incorporates a new feature called BlackBerry Tag that can change the way BlackBerry users share information and content," the company said. "By simply tapping their NFC enabled BlackBerry(R) smartphone against another NFC enabled BlackBerry smartphone, users can make sharing easier than ever. They can instantly invite a friend to BBM, exchange contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content, and they can also pair their BlackBerry smartphone with an NFC enabled Bluetooth device."
In addition to BlackBerry Tag, the update now includes mobile hotspot capabilities for sharing an internet connection with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices, support for carrier-implemented Wi-Fi calling services, an enhanced Universal Search and an enhanced version of BlackBerry Maps. Customers with a BlackBerry Curve 9360 or 9380 smartphone will also discover a newly-added FM radio app, as the FM radio circuitry is already built into their devices.
As for PlayBook 2.0, CES 2012 attendees visiting the RIM booth will get a chance to play with the new OS and sample new features including an advanced messaging experience (unified inbox, multi-tasking within email, inbox management tools), an integration of social relationships (a people-centric calendar, a relationship-centric contacts app), BlackBerry smartphone/tablet data sharing (remote control and remote playback via BlackBerry Bridge), improved mobile productivity (updated document editing capabilities, Print To Go, better corporate data management), and new apps/content such the Video Store and enhanced web browsing.
"BlackBerry PlayBook is already recognized for delivering powerful performance, true multi-tasking, advanced web browsing and HD multimedia in an ultra-portable design," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 we are building on this strong foundation, as well as leveraging our strengths in communications, social integration and productivity, to allow people to use their BlackBerry PlayBook in new ways throughout the day."
The BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 software update will be available as a free download for all BlackBerry PlayBook users and is expected to be available in February 2012.