RIM preparing BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 rollout as PlayBook 4G launch nears

By Bla1ze on 25 Jul 2012 01:13 am EDT
RIM preparing for BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 rollout as PlayBook 4G launch nears

With rumors of the BlackBerry PlayBook 4G launching on July 31st, it's looking like RIM is getting things lined up for a full on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 rollout as well. As we know from the beta build, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 will bring quite a few changes with it but as noted in the above document, it has some changes and inclusions that weren't present in the beta build plus, some features that will be for the BlackBerry PlayBook 4G only. Some of the highlights include:

  • 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
  • Software updates can be done over a cellular network (4G models only)
  • 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
  • The BlackBerry PlayBook now gives you the ability to conduct a video chat over 4G Cellular Networks (Some Carrier Restrictions May Apply)
  • 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. Buying that next power-up in your game is easier than ever!
  • 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.

Looking over the information, while meant for the BlackBerry Playbook, it's pretty easy to see a few things that will make their way to BlackBerry 10 as well. Active Sync for email, Video Chat (BBM) working over LTE, possibly offering Video Store on smartphones and what of the Android App Player? Lots of things to look forward to.

Sadly, the documentation lacks any sort of release date but RIM internal builds of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 are getting up there and assuming the launch date of the BlackBerry PlayBook 4G is indeed correct, it would make a lot of sense for RIM to release BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 alongside it.

Reader comments

RIM preparing BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 rollout as PlayBook 4G launch nears


I'm glad to finally see text message support. When I'm Bridged it's great that I can use BBM, but if I'm still talking to people via text I still have to pick up my phone to do it. So this is great!

Just keeps getting better and better...

Video chat over the cell network is cool to see. One of the first companies to offer this(I think)


Well considering marketing materials are generally made in something like Photoshop then of course this is a "photoshop"......What did you expect it to look like?

Did not say if contacts and calendar are native or mention notes/memos. Hope they are included as native apps that can be synced. Been a year waiting for that and would be real nice.

...native contacts and calender have been there since the Feb release of OS 2...

BlackBerry Torch 9860
BlackBerry PlayBook O/S 2.xx.xxxx

WOW!!!! This is looking like a significant upgrade similar to when OS 2.0 came out!

I will be definitely looking forward to being able to send and receive text messages using the bridge function.

I also wonder if I'll be able to use the video chat while bridged. It says you can do video chat via cellular networks so I wonder if that would include using the bridge function as well.

I honestly wish that the Playbook 4G LTE coming out would have the following added to it:
Quadcore processor
1280 x 768 or higher resolution
8MP rear camera

Then I would gladly pay the $550 price tag!!!!

It wouldnt cost 550 with those specs.. Also why does it even need 2gb's of ram and quadcore if its already smooth and fast?

Not so fast if multiple windows open. browser drags if u got to much going on(opening crackberry for example always causes my PB to hesitate on screen taps then after few second all taps happen at once, don't know if that would be ram or processor). Plus more ram never a bad thing IMHO.

Ok so we'll make due with a few items removed. How about we go back to 5MP camera for the rear and drop the quad core to dual core. The 2GB of RAM is needed because if you start installing apps, games, movies, and music, it starts to get a little sluggish. Right now on my 64GB playbook I have about 360MB of free RAM and so it runs a little choppy at times.

I agree 2Gb RAM wouldn't hurt but costs would be high.
But the processor is getting a 50% bump in speed. 50%! That should show honestly.
Plus they have had months to optimise this OS now it may be better.

I agree with 2GB or RAM for the power user who likes to use QNX brutal multitaskting to the max.
But I also would love a 1280x768 screen, it would be much better for portrait web content reading.

Also, the PB cannot keep up with Flash HD live streaming while sending audio to the Music Gateway.

So Wifi bridge is not entirely what we have been expecting it seems.How disappointing. Good to see 2.1 is ready to roll tho. Now the playbook has a complete OS *hopefully*... That is prior to BB10 launch.

When they first mentioned it... "wifi bridge", i assumed it was an alternative to bridge through bluetooth. Where some sort of »wifi-direct« feature would be enabled for data transfer over wi-fi since its faster speeds.. Therefore faster bridge browsing, music streaming, perhaps a video clip... So forth.

Accessing blackberry bridge functions (bbm, task, email, remote control, browsing)... That's more than a hotspot.

I guess I'm confused at what your question/issue is.

Current State
-Bridge functions exclusively through Bluetooth.
-Internet connectivity through Bridge (Bluetooth), Wifi, or Handset hotspot.

Future State
-Bridge functions through Bluetooth or Wifi.
-Internet connectivity - same as current state

Are you saying that the PlayBook should "Bridge" through the phone's hotspot instead of through Bluetooth? My guess is that it will with the new 2.1 only if you have the hotspot feature ACTIVE with your carrier.

Yes thats what i was saying ..thats not what im understanding from that log tho. Its implying that its connection over wifi ... That sounds like a router is involved.

Between yesterday and today's blogs regarding the new Playbook, one of the documents is wrong. Yesterday's document said OS 2.0, Today's OS 2.1 Where are these doc's coming from?

I would assume the 4g tablets are already built and packaged and come shipped with 2.0. But 2.1 will be available for download.

Anyone else see a hint at setting up the PB for skype in this release?
•Apps which require access to the camera are now supported
•Android Apps will now run in individual windows rather than being lumped into one Android Player Window.

The app using the camera is probably the strongest of the Skype requirements in this release.
Whilst I don't personally use Skype, I know this could mean a TON of points in the fan factor.

Maybe it's just me reading too much into this, but that looks like a setup to me.

Don't hold your breath for it. In the Beta version Devs have been trying to port various builds of Skype to no avail. Let's focus on the video chat feature for a tiny sec...before we all turn this into a no skype nightmare. It seems like all good news released from RIM gets daunted by the lack of Skype and Netflix. I'm this close to cutting my wrist and bleed out infront of my playbook.

I totally hear you, but what I'm saying is this is the closest we've been to getting a Skype release. The fact that the PB will now support apps that want/need to use the camera is a HUGE start in getting Skype off their collective butts and making a build for us.

Well it's now supporting apps that want/need to use the camera in the Android Runtime. The playbook's os was always opened to the possibility...

I would waste my time cutting an apple over missing Netflix, much less my wrists.. Blockbuster/Dish Network is the strategic partner that RIM should be looking into.

I really hate to sound like "that guy", but might this support of camera access for android ports mean that the skype port might be usable? Or is it a different problem altogether...?

Of course. Because if something doesn't work on a beta, it most surely won't work on the gold release. Your logic is flawed.

I do believe the android app for skype won't work 100% on 2.1, but the argument you presented is just not right.

The beta represents all changes to Android Runtime, why would an app that doesn't work on a beta work on essentially a more stable release.

Skype doesn't work because it's unstable, it works because it can't access the camera.

That problem only exists with certain email providers.

For example, if you have Hotmail, there is no read/deletion sync through BIS

Glad to see RIM working at these 6-monthly updates that have been hinted at since the 2.0 release.

2.0 was waaaay to long. I think that 6 months is a great amount of time to implement new features and excite PlayBook owners on release.

And then the next update should be BlackBerry 10 - sometime at the start of next year.

Cool. Bring it on!

All i want is the ability to sort the messages on bridge mode. Its unacceptable that we cant sort emails by subject, not even group them! I hope they finally bring this "feature" now.

Just as I suspected. Nothing to get excited over other than the video store. I'd gadly give up everything else for a decent browser that doesn't feel like it came straight out of the mid-80's.

It already has a great browser, one of the best HTML5 browsers available. If you are complaining about editing bookmarks, get over it. Most people never have to edit them and everything works different with a touch environment. Learn to use touch differently.

Sounds like a good update. Android app player improvements are a welcome change. Imap will be great.

I agree with comments above, sorting email is long over due. Documents to go needs a major update. I broke down and purchased a pdf reader that makes Adobe reader look like a joke.

Looking forward to broweser improvements.

"Blackberry by choice"

updates like this are great! some features added to hold us over till BB10 hits the playbook, keep em coming!

I agree 100%. I have badgered RIM about this on the Beta site and I have been told that they are looking at it; I do not however see this in the 2.1 release notes (unless I've missed it).

Actually Enterprise customers like myself don't want USB devices to be able to connected to the Playbook. USB device connection is a security hole.

I would like them to fix the damn native email application. After my PB has been on for a while, it no longer syncs, then it no longer loads at all. It's frustrating!

+1, neither of my PlayBooks have had any issues, of any kind really, since say one of the launch of the PB...

BlackBerry Torch 9860
BlackBerry PlayBook O/S 2.xx.xxxx

Still needs the messaging capabilities of a blackberry phone, sorting, saved searches, etc.
Universal Inbox with option to include native apps or bridged apps.
Does not address the need for sharing abilities (i.e. pictures)
The lack of 'long press' options in much of the OS makes it feel immature compared to the other OSes, where a long press will give you tons of options.

That said, this is only a point release, so the features are not as impressive. I just hoped it would be a step towards bb10, rather than a tweak release. Still excited!

All this, yet still, I can't make a bloody folder for my pictures.....
Anyone else wanna +1 on this fix???

As we can do this with it USB attached to PC it does have an easy work around but would be nice if it could be done on device alone.

get a file browser off appworld, my favorite is "file browser" by Aftab, its only 0.99$ too... its quite versatile check it out.

Shouldn't need one.
Point is, I should have the same ability to make a folder in pics or vids like I do on the home screen with apps

Most of my pictures are coming from my camera via PC so I make the folders there. I don't see this hindering my ability on the Playbook. Just use one of the file managers and you can do it directly on the playbook.


Am I the only one wondering if the enhancements to the App Player will mean a new version of Android at its core? I know it's a pipe dream, but we could be on the verge of a new level of side-loading compatibility ... maybe.

The Playbook keeps getting better and better.

Love my great little purchase. With the money I saved over a 500 dollar competitor I could buy an entry level HD TV.

Thank you RIM!

Auto send/receive over wifi to save on cell data plan and for performance. First BB DataSmart uses compression over cell data plan is great for fixed data plans. Auto-wifi is for performance. This is the best of both worlds. Can't wait for PlayBook 4G and PB OS 2.1. Fantastic news!

#BeBold 9900 + PlayBook #BlackBerryByChoice

Here is a list of 10 things that I think RIM needs to fix to make the PlayBook a top tier product:

1. Sync native apps with BlackBerry handset so I am not maintaining two contact lists, etc.
2. Make the email application more stable so I'm not constantly getting errors with my comcast email account.
3. Allow the option to have blackberry.net email to be routed through the PlayBook as well.
4. Enhance the folder structure. It stinks that I can't pick a folder to save a Word or PDF document.
5. A better media player with more features such as an equalizer, etc.
6. Enhance PDF and Docs to Go
7. USB-OTG functionality
8. Better email search and sorting functionality.
9. Enhance Bluetooth stability. For some reason with this new OS and Bridge, my PlayBook is dropping connectivity with my 9900 intermittently.
10. Other miscellaneous minor "cleanup' things to help polish the PlayBook.

Don't get me wrong, I love my PlayBook and use it every day.. I can't wait for the new features and enhancements that 2.1 will bring ultimately leading to BB10..

Adding to your list:

- ability to customize alert sounds
- ability to send a pic or video from the respective native apps, via email, txt, bbm, etc
- ability to rename a picture or video from the respective native app
- an "on-screen" global volume control (like the bridge, orientation lock, bluetooth, wifi, and brightness controls) so I don't have to use the physical buttons to adjust the volume
....I'm sure I can think of much more, but it's all just wishful thinking at this point.

Print to Go finally doesn't require the same Wifi Network. I wonder if that is only going to work for the 4G version and not the Wifi only version.

"Print To Go - Now you can send content to your BlackBerry PlayBook even if it’s not connected to the same WiFi network."

This is going to be sweet!!!

I cant wait for this update..

Right now the docs to go apps work just fine for me honestly.. they are definitely a good mobile solution. I agree the PDF reader does need to be improved however. Come on RIM I know you can do it..

"Me and my 9900 went swimming together the other day. My 9700 fell in the toilet. :( now I am having to use my old reliable 8100"

Apps that require camera ...
.. Android Skype?

Far East Language keyboard ...
.. Japanese, Korean, Chinese?

Upgraded File Manager?

Upgraded Docs2Go?

Upgraded Acrobat?

Video camera ..

I dont get the update to bridge and wifi and whatnot. To my understanding, the PB did this already? Someone needs to explain it to me..

Currently, the Bridge functionality is exchanging data through the Bluetooth connection between the devices. With the update, if the devices are connected to Bridge AND WiFi (I'm assuming both have to be on the same WiFi network), then the data will stream through WiFi. That is my dim understanding of it so please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks for the reply. This was my first slim understanding of it as well at first, but there doesn't seem to be much detail on the matter. I guess we'll have to see first hand exactly what they mean. Maybe we can bridge videos now as well if we're within the same wifi network. Makes me wonder if there will have to be any router port modifications for this to happen though.

This update should rectify my calendar issue, right? Calendar on my PB only shows a stationery half green circle...

This is GREAT news! Just sent back Galaxy S3 to stick with the dynamic duo. 9930 and Playbook. This makes me feel good about my decision. My faith faltered a bit, but now I'm back in black. Berry that is. : )

Ya i was just wondering about this function. Does anybody know if its going to be available or are we going to have to wait for BB10?!

I think Print to Go uses email and it currently is operational. I experimented with this a couple days ago. This is quite good. In the past, I would have to either connect My playbook by usb or wifi and actually save and move the file. A very large pdf offthe web was slow. When I loaded PtG on my PC and set up my print options with my email and the playbook identifier - I printed a huge pdf on chrome to my playbook. It's great.

Honestly this release looks like it would pretty much get me to about 90% of where I want to be on the PB (I say that as a good thing - I think my expectations are pretty realistic).

If there were a few features I want with the current release, portrait mode for calendar and email would be high on the list as would separate windows for the Android apps - so this is checked off.

Other smaller issues for me would be the ability to select and delete multiple emails with multi-touch like I can on my 9810. I can sort of do this on the bridge email by using the checkbox feature - so why not on the native app? I'd also like to be able to send pictures directly with a "share" type button/icon the way I can again on my 9810. A few other polishing touches would be nice (and I think/hope BB10 will take care of those) so overall this 2.1 update should really make me pretty happy.

You can select and delete multiple emails by swiping from the top and clicking select and then checkbox the emails. Once in select mode you can touch top email and hold it and put another finger on a bottom emails to select all emails in the middle as as well. On top of that if you hold bottom email you can drag up and keep selecting all emails across screen scrolls. Portrait mode should help selecting lot of emails really fast.

I hope the full release of 2.1 fixes the duplicate email issue in the native email client...RIM has let this issue stand for about 3 months now without a fix...it has been frustrating for many die-hard PB users...

they should add the "share option" by bluetooth between your bb and the playbook..

also if you load a certain image on the message box from your blackberry threw BRIDGE.. you can no longer save the picture when you open it on your blackberry device..

on the picture folder, they should add option. like when you press the pic. the option box that would let you ethier put the pic as a wall paper or send by: yes i know if you slide from the top the option is there to add pic as a wall paper. but still, no option to send.. they should add Send--> Email, Facebook, bluetooth,

I was hoping for DLNA support so that I could hook up to TV's, Monitors and Projectors without cables. I'm hoping (with less hope) that they will surprise us with this. I know it was in one of the PB surveys a while back and I saw it was highly rated so my hopes have been up for a while. It would be sweet to walk around stage using the PlayBook to present content.

I know it has Bing maps on wifi, but I want BB maps via bridge so I don't have to add hotspot to my plan.

Wish i had some loot for the new playbook. Oh well.

The "camera" thing is referring to android apps that require camera access, will now have that access in 2.1, has little to do with a possible skype app.

in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere


Kind of wish bridge and wifi were controlled by the user, as for which connection is used and when. Reason being is because i have a seagate goflex satellite rechargable wifi 500gb hard drive, and would like to have my browser connected to it over wifi while i use the bridge connection in a second tab within the browser for simultaneous internet access and storage access. Also, it is lame how seagate uses a torch and playbook image on the packaging of this hard drive, but they are too lazy to port their android app to the playbook and publish it in app world... If they could take the 5 minutes to do that port - more blackberry people would buy this device, because this device is really cool and has a lot of potential as a playbook accessory. __________________________________________________________

in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

As a matter of fact, because RIM is a mobile computing firm - i would LOVE to see some BlackBerry branded mobile devices, just like this seagate mobile hard drive, it would be really cool if it had a BlackBerry logo instead. Why not?

I also have this universal playstation vita portable charger that works with any device, would be really cool if RIM made a portable charger just like this for the playbook. When i look at the playbook premium rapid charger - i see a possibility for the big black box to instead be a rechargable battery - the wall cord remains exactly like it is - removable, and the other side of the battery box is a usb port where the usb to magnetic charging port cable is used to connect to the battery in the playbook. Get it? So, when you charge the playbook - you're actually charging 2 batteries, one is simply a portable charger and the other one is inside the playbook. Get twice the battery life, so long as lithium ion batteries are the standard, this makes sense.

Or, just get a friggin move on that hydrogen fuel cell battery for mobile devices patent, seriously.

RIM could also make an intense solar blackberry mobile charging backpack or brief case. Truly mobile - so when i go buy my voltaic bag - i could give RIM the 400 bucks instead.

RIM should be considering the entire mobile, autonomous "green" package for true mobile computing - because batteries and charging solutions are a huge part of it all.

Im going off on a tangent, so i am going to stop now. Peace.


in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere