PlayBook OS 2.1 update boosts security, management

RIM releases free update to BlackBerry PlayBook tablet OS as over-the-air download

Research in Motion Wednesday released a BlackBerry PlayBook OS update that adds full device encryption to secure personal data stored on the device to go along with the already-available encryption for corporate data.

The PlayBook OS 2.1 update, which is fully described on a BlackBerry site, is available for Wi-Fi-only BlackBerry Playbook tablets.

In addition to improved security features, the update simplifies deployment of tablets in workplaces, including over-the-air enrollment of a PlayBook to the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion service and ActiveSync authentication.

The update is available without charge via an over-the-air download.

Customers will get a notification of the update on the PlayBook or can tap the gear icon in the top right corner of the display and check for the new version under "software updates."

To activate full device encryption, users go to the "options" menu and navigate to security and then encryption. The action secures data on both work and personal areas of the device with AES 256-bit encryption.

The update also adds the Print To Go app capability across Wi-Fi networks, which means a user can deliver documents from a desktop computer to a PlayBook tablet on a different network.

Text messaging is now supported as a BlackBerry Bridge application, which requires using a connection through a BlackBerry smartphone.

RIM also fixed the PlayBook's requirement to use messages, contacts and calendar in landscape mode by adding portrait mode. The expanded landscape mode also remains.

PlayBook features a runtime Android OS, and the update adds support for the high definition cameras and the ability to make in-app payments.

RIM said Wednesday it has sold more than 1 million PlayBook tablets.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile/wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

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