Research in Motion plans to release the first beta of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 by the end of the month… which means sometime in the next few days.
PlayBook product manager confirmed the news via Twitter today.
The next version of the operating system for the 7 inch tablet will add a few new features, including:
- Use email, calendar, and contact apps in portrait mode
- Support for multi-tasking with Android apps
- Camera API and in-app payments for developers
- Text messaging via BlackBerry Bridge (when paired with a smartphone)
- Personal encryption.
It’s not all good news though. This version of PlayBook OS i expected to remove support for side-loading Android apps onto the tablet.
That means that officially the only way to install Android apps will be to download them from the BlackBerry App World. So if developers haven’t ported their Android apps to run on PlayBook OS you won’t be able to install them. Previously almost anyone could take an Android app and convert it into a PlayBook app in a matter of minutes.
To try out the PlayBook OS 2.1 beta on your tablet, you’ll probably need to register for the new beta at the BlackBerry website to receive an over-the-air software update.
There’s no word on when PlayBook OS 2.1 will roll out to all users.