By now, most people who own a BlackBerry PlayBook will have received the notification on their tablet to go ahead and update to OS 188.8.131.522. The latest OS offers a broad range of changes but to the average user, not all of them are instantly obvious.
Luckily, between the information offered up by RIM and the folks in the CrackBerry Forums who have been picking apart the OS like there was no tomorrow, we have a good idea of all the changes implemented.
If you jump below, we've outlined most of the major changes with this release, though there is surely more that isn't documented. For that, there is also a forum thread set up by CrackBerry member ryacht which helps to summarize some of the finer (and not so finer) points of the update as a whole.
- Software updates are no longer mandatory during setup. The customer can choose the best time to update for them.
- Setting Up WiFi connection is no longer mandatory at setup.
- Overall faster browser performance.
- Faster boot / reboot times.
- WiFi file sharing performance enhancements.
- Portrait Mode can now be used with the Email, Calendar, and Contacts App.
- Greater flexibility and control over which folders are wirelessly synced when using Active Sync
- Full access to IMAP Email folders.
- Print To Go - Now you can send content to your BlackBerry PlayBook even if it’s not connected to the same WiFi network.
- Android Apps will now run in individual windows rather than being lumped into one Android Player Window.
- Apps which require access to the camera are now supported.
- In-App Payments can now be submitted in both BlackBerry and Android apps.
- Video Store is now available in Canada. Thousands of movies and TV shows, new & old, available on demand to rent or buy New releases available same day as DVD.
- Text Messaging is now supported with BlackBerry Bridge. When Bridged you can read, send and receive text messages on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
- When Bridged, and connected to WiFi, the BlackBerry PlayBook automatically sends and receives data over the WiFi network to decrease cellular data usage, and increase performance.
- Over-the-air (OTA) enrollment with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion enabled.
- New IT policies for added security. - Enterprise configurations such as email, Wi-Fi, VPN profiles, or enterprise apps can be pushed directly to the device by IT administrators.
- ActiveSync Certification Management - Certificate-based authentication can now be configured in order to allow access to work email, calendar, and address book data. These can be securely installed to the tablets over the air with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which utilizes Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP).
- Full device encryption, including personal data - From the Options menu on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, you can now enable “Full Device Encryption” by navigating to Security and then Encryption.
As noted previously, this update is only for the WiFi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook. Overall, there is additional enhancements that have been added to the OS that are only applicable to 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook and as such, we've not noted them here. So, there you have it. A broader list of the changes. If by chance we missed anything on the list that you've noticed, feel free to drop it in the comments and let us and everyone else know.