BlackBerry announced the launch of the latest version of their hand-held operating system at CES earlier this week. Shortly to be made available for the devices running OS7.0 currently the update includes a range of additional functionalities including: -
Mobile Hotspot – Turn your BlackBerry device into a mobile hotspot (Mi-Fi router); allows you to connect other devices via Wi-Fi and use the mobile data connection of the BlackBerry to access the internet. Great if you want to use a Wi-Fi only tablet device when you are out and about. Remember to speak to your mobile phone provider about the most relevant tariff options if you want to make use of this functionality.
BlackBerry Tag: Simplifies the sharing of contacts / media / files by using the (Near Field Communication) NFC functionality built into the latest devices. Additionally, you can invite people to become BBM contacts purely by touching devices.
Universal Search: Complete with an auto-suggest feature, universal search that suggests results based on the search terms used.
BBM: BBM 6.1 brings improved BBM functionality including support for BlackBerry Tag; longer status messages; the ability to personalise messages with avatars and emoticons and colourisation of message threads. Note BBM 6.1 is available now in the App store even if you don’t want to upgrade to 6.1.
FM Radio: For the Curve 9360 / 9380 devices only an FM radio application is included iand allows users to listen to local FM stations without using any of the data bundle.
In addition the upgrade includes improvements to the Travel application; adds vendor coupons and incentives to the BlackBerry Maps application and support for voice over Wi-fi calling. Certainly the last feature will only be relevant to the North American market (is not supported by UK carriers) and we wait to see whether the Travel / Maps application will include European specific content.
OS 7.1 will be supported on 9360 / 9380 / 9790 / 9810 / 9860 / 9900 smartphones. To check whether an update is available on your BlackBerry device go to “Options, Device, Software Updates” and you will be advised whether an update is available. Please speak to your IT helpdesk for support prior to trying to update your device.
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