Aside from announcing on what RIM is up to with their BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 software update, the company also announced the availability of the new BlackBerry 7.1 OS. Owners of BlackBerry phones with OS 7 will be interested to learn what 7.1 brings them.
Here are the new features of the BlackBerry 7.1 OS:
- WiFi Hotspot. Probably, the most exciting feature is that BB’s running on 7.1 will now be able to share their mobile’s internet connection via WiFi to up to 5 devices (not necessarily BBs). The iPhone has this since iOS 5 while Android phones have this feature for a long time. What’s nice with BlackBerry is that BIS is relatively cheaper than regular data plan so in effect, sharing a BB’s internet would be more affordable in the long run. Of course, telcos still have the last say whether this feature will be enabled or if they will be charging extra to BB users who wants to use their phone as a mobile hotspot.
- WiFi Calling. BlackBerry’s answer to those VoIP apps is WiFi Calling which allows you to make calls from your BB using WiFi. It’s not as simple as it seems because it uses a carrier’s WiFi calling service which is something we haven’t heard of yet in this part of the world. This is a wait and see feature for local subscribers.
- BlackBerry Tag. Using the power of NFC or Near-Field-Communications, BlackBerry Tag lets you share contacts, media and files, and even invite friends to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) by just touching your phone to another BlackBerry.
- Improved BlackBerry Maps. It’s no secret that Google Maps is better than BlackBerry Maps which is powered by Bing. To add more functionality to BlackBerry Maps, RIM added some location-awareness feature to it. With the new BlackBerry Maps, you can discover special offers, coupons and discounts from nearby vendors based on your location. We still have to find out though if this would be applicable here in the Philippines right from the get-go.
- FM Radio. Wow, I didn’t notice that BlackBerry phones don’t have FM radios built-in. However, with 7.1, two phones will be having that feature, the BlackBerry Curve 9360 and 9380 which already has FM radio built-in, the new OS just gives them the app to use it. All you need is to plug in your headphones to use it.
So what do you think, BlackBerry 7 users? Exciting updates?