BlackBerry PlayBook getting updated this week; bringing video chat, BBM, and more

Justin Cauchon May 2, 2011 0

We are here at BlackBerry World, sitting by the open bar, waiting for the BlackBerry PlayBook update to hit our device. Unfortunately, we have not gotten it pushed to our tablet yet. But we did get to demo the update on a BlackBerry PlayBook on display. BlackBerry Tablet OS v1.0.3 update brings a plethora of new features including Video Chat and Blackberry Messenger support via BlackBerry Bridge.

The biggest new feature is the Video Chat app which was announced earlier today.

This app allows for:

    One-Click Calls – With just one click you can make a call from your Video Chat contact list, log of recent calls or simply by entering the BlackBerry ID email address of the person you want to call.
    Incoming Call Notifications – You will receive a notification pop-up when a new video call comes in, allowing you to accept the call as either a video or voice call, or decline the call. For those quiet moments — such as when you’re watching a movie, playing a game or listening to music — you will also have the ability to simply set the “Do Not Disturb” option and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will automatically ignore all incoming calls.
    Powerful In-Call Functions – By using the picture-in-picture function you can easily preview what your camera is seeing prior to placing the call to see the video feed you will be sending. You can also easily switch cameras from front to rear so your friends can see what you see, and for private moments you can mute/unmute audio or make or take calls using voice only.
    Friends List – BlackBerry PlayBook Video Chat comes complete with a Friends List for maintaining your contacts. A friendly name and a picture can easily be added to a contact to personalize the entry and a Call Log makes it simple to keep track of who called, as well as when and what calls were missed. Friends are added using their BlackBerry ID profile.
    Video Chat Multitasking – Thanks to the power of the BlackBerry Tablet OS and its true multitasking capabilities, video and voice over Wi-Fi chats can continue running in the background while you interact with other applications.
    HDMI Video Chat – In addition to chatting using the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high-resolution screen, Video Chat supports HDMI output when in ‘Mirror Mode’, allowing you to output what is on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s screen to a larger HD television or monitor.

Another feature coming to the PlayBook with v1.0.3 is the BBM support via BlackBerry Bridge. While we are still awaiting native support for these BBM among other things, this will do for now. BBM for the PlayBook includes:

    Full BBM Chat Functionality – Either one-to-one or multi-person chats.
    BBM Status Updates – Let your friends know how you feel about your new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet!
    Photo Sharing – Via the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet or your BlackBerry smartphone SD card.
    BBM Alerts – New BlackBerry Messenger alerts will appear on the BlackBerry PlayBook notification ribbon.

Document editing via Blackberry Bridge is another feature being added. This will now allow you to access documents on your BlackBerry using a secure Bluetooth connection. Features for this include:

    File Access – Access to your pictures, documents, spreadsheets and slideshows via either email over BlackBerry Bridge or the BlackBerry Bridge files application. With BlackBerry Bridge, you can view photos and office documents and edit spreadsheets and text-based documents.
    BlackBerry® Internet Service Support – When bridged to a BlackBerry smartphone with a BIS service plan, users can select to either save their document locally on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet or back onto their BlackBerry smartphone SD card.
    BlackBerry® Enterprise Server Support – When bridged to a BlackBerry smartphone operating on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, documents automatically get saved back to the BlackBerry smartphone SD card to help ensure corporate data is kept secure.

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