The BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 Software Update is Here, Bringing With it New Features for Business

News

Today a free software update has been made available for Wi-Fi® BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablets. This release brings with it many new features for business customers and IT administrators that make the tablet a seriously enterprise-ready device and a productivity powerhouse. Combined with BlackBerry® Mobile Fusion and the coming BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10, managing BlackBerry PlayBook tablets just got a whole lot more functional. I’m excited to walk through what’s new when it comes to both management and security as well as features for business end users. Read on for the full scoop!

Features for Business End Users

Print To Go® across Wi-Fi networks

Judging by our LinkedIn® recommendation page, there are quite a few fans of the Print To Go app out there. We’ve also had a lot of suggestions for additional features since the initial launch. With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1, you now have the ability to deliver documents from your PC to a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet that may be connected on a completely different network, providing a true solution for rapid document transfer to your tablet.

Text Messaging with BlackBerry Bridge

Text messaging or SMS is now supported as a BlackBerry Bridge™ application. Head to the BlackBerry Bridge folder on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s home screen and get started interacting with SMS.

Improved Android Runtime

One of my favorite features on my BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is the Android™ runtime and all of the fantastic apps that it places at my fingertips. With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1, the experience is improved and even more seamless with features like multi-window applications for a feel consistent with the overall OS, support for the HD cameras on the tablet, and in-app payments for value added experiences.

Portrait Orientation for Messages, Calendar, and Contacts

I often use portrait mode when I’m reading e-books on my BlackBerry PlayBook tablet or playing games like Cut the Rope HD – and now this functionality extends to the native mail, calendar, and contacts applications. This gives you the flexibility and choice in how you want to view information and interact with the tablet. The layout intelligently arranges the data onscreen to display critical information in portrait mode, and automatically returning to the expanded view in landscape mode.

Folder and Sync Management

Folders within an email account connected through ActiveSync can now be synchronized individually. You can quickly toggle on/off for each folder to round out the mail management experience on the device. If you use an IMAP email account, you can also now get full access to your mail folders. These features together with the current functionality provide a complete mail organization tool in the Messages app.

Streamlined setup and software update experience

When setting up a brand new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and running through the out-of-box experience, a Wi-Fi connection is no longer required. Software updates can also be delayed until a later time – and when you do need to update your software, patch-based updating is now supported, which significantly lowers the file size of the updates and increases the speed of the operation.

Management and Security Features

Over-the-air (OTA) enrollment with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion

Employees using BlackBerry PlayBook tablets for work can now enroll with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion wirelessly. Once connected and enrolled, enterprise configurations such as email, Wi-Fi, VPN profiles, or enterprise apps can be pushed directly to the device by IT administrators. With this new feature, you can bring BlackBerry PlayBook tablets onto your corporate network quickly and easily.

New IT policies for added security

IT policies are crucial for enabling IT administrators to manage the wireless devices at play within their organizations. We’ve added new IT policies that administrators can take advantage of through BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. These include the ability to enable full device encryption and to disable development mode for enterprise-connected BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.

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. This secures the data on both the work and personal perimeters of the device with AES 256-bit encryption for ultimate data protection.

What are you waiting for?

Get the update! You will automatically receive a software update notification on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet status ribbon, or you can check for the software update at any time by going to the settings menu under “Software Updates” and tapping “Check for Updates”. Then follow the steps to update.

What’s your favorite feature in the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 update? Share in the comments below.

About Luke Reimer

@Luke_Reimer is an Enterprise Marketing Manager at BlackBerry helping to design, launch, and manage enterprise marketing programs - particularly concerning content across digital mediums. Beyond spreading BlackBerry goodness in enterprise communities, you can find Luke cooking up a storm, out on his motorcycle (when Canadian weather allows), or digging into a good science fiction book.

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