June 07, 2011

PlayBook OS Gets an Update, RIM Announces

RIM’s PlayBook tablet just received the latest update, its biggest feature being reported is its Facebook integration.

BlackBerry (News - Alert) Tablet OS v1.0.5 comes with a bevy of new stuff. The preinstalled Facebook app, originally available only in BlackBerry App World, now includes video uploading, message deletion, as well as Facebook (News - Alert) Search enhancements. There’s also improved access to pages, and News Feed improvements.

The Facebook Search Enhancements has a more intuitive access point and improved search capabilities. Users can now find their long lost friends or even search for their favorite bands or TV shows.

The new page tab will let you easily access all your pages and the pages that you liked. Along with this, the delete tab will allow you to delete Facebook messages permanently from the account. The options and help center icons have been moved to the swipe down bar on the Blackberry Playbook.

1.0.5 also brings in-app payments, enabling developers to create apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook using the BlackBerry Payment Service. Users can purchase enhancements within apps such as another level in a game or a new edition of a magazine.

Tapping the battery icon now lets you adjust screen brightness, and power down, restart, or put the device to sleep. The PlayBook will also let you know if your charger won’t work. Video chat has been improved so you don’t have as many issues calling from public and enterprise WiFi (News - Alert) networks. This update will also include automatic network detection, making it easy to connect to whatever’s in range.

Finally, there’s a swath of new language support: French, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish and UK English.

“Users who purchase and activate a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet on or after Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 will be automatically updated to v1.0.5 as part of the BlackBerry PlayBook setup process. Existing BlackBerry PlayBook users will be presented with a software update notification on the BlackBerry PlayBook status ribbon, or they can go check for the software update at any time in the Settings Menu under Software Updates,” writes Michael C. over at the BlackBerry Blog.

These updates may make the PlayBook more attractive, as when the device was introduced back in April, it’s launch was met with a fizzle.

According to a report from Reuters, in Toronto, only 5 people showed up for a 7am opening of Sears while in Midtown, New York, only three PlayBooks were purchased off the shelf. Needless to say, Apple (News - Alert) is not at all worried about the competition. The release date, originally slated for the first quarter of 2011, was reportedly pushed back due to a shortage of touch screen panels, which Apple had already allegedly obtained for the iPad 2.

RIM unveiled its BlackBerry PlayBook last fall, showcasing a 7-inch touch display and running BlackBerry Tablet OS, a new operating system developed by QNX Software, a company that RIM acquired last year.

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Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell