After a long wait and a fairly long beta process, PlayBook OS 126.96.36.1992 has finally been released, bringing with it a whole slew of good additions to the PlayBook OS. I have been running the beta since it was released, so I have already had many of the features included in this update, including portrait mode in the P.I.M. apps and many of the Android app player improvements, for some time. However, they are solid changes that brig the PlayBook OS ever closer to realization of its capabilities. Although, that will never really happen until the release of BlackBerry 10 (which will be available as an over-the-air download for the PlayBook soon after it is released.)
One thing in particular I would like to address is the time it took for this update to be released. PlayBook OS 2.0 was released in late February, and 2,01 came in mid April. Then we waited, and waited. This left myself and many others wondering, why such a long wait? 7 Months is a fairly long time for an update this size, although granted, there are a lot of changes here, it was still a considerably longer time then I would expect a manufacturer to take for an update of this size. The answer is, for those of you who don’t know, that RIM has been hard at work building BlackBerry 10 from the ground up. BlackBerry 10 is the next-generation OS that will power its next-generation devices. This is RIM’s last hope to pull itself out of the decline that it is currently attempting to stall with all its might.
Here is the change log:
During setup, software updates no longer mandatory
At setup, a Wi-Fi connection is no longer mandatory
Software updates possible over cellular networks for the PlayBook 4G LTE
You can use the email, calendar and contact apps on the portrait mode.
More flexibility and control over which folders are synced when using Active Sync.
Access to IMAP email folders.
PlayBook 4G LTE can now make video calls over cellular networks.
You can send content to the Print to Go app without being on the same Wi-Fi network.
Android Apps now run in separate windows, not all in the same window.
Android apps in need of the Camera API are now supported.
In-app payments for Android apps are now supported.
The Canadian Video Store is now a default application instead of a voluntary download.
Text Messaging is now supported with BlackBerry Bridge.
Yet more browser enhancements, making it the highest HTML5 scoring mobile browser (with a score of 393 and 9 bonus points out of 500).
Full device encryption is also now available.
Although this update is far from making the PlayBook a new device, there are some very handy features here that I am sure all PlayBook owners will appreciate. So, fire up your PlayBook, tap settings, and Software Updates, if it hasn’t notified you already, and start downloading! Oh, and one more thing, unfortunately, this is update is currently only available for Wi-Fi PlayBooks, PlayBook 4G LTE owners will have to wait for carrier approval for the update to come to them. This is expected within the next month or so.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on this, or any article on my blog!