RIM PlayBook Boosts Facebook App, Adds In-App Payments
Research In Motion has launched support for new languages, a refreshed Facebook application, in-application payments and several other upgrades to its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
RIM launched its 7-inch PlayBook tablet based on the QNX operating system April 19 and had enjoyed sales in the hundreds of thousands of the gadget after some early tepid reviews. To be fair, sales of any tablet that isn't an Apple iPad haven't made an impression to this point.
RIM, which has promised to keep PlayBook upgrades coming at a speedy clip, said BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS v1.0.5 supports French, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish and UK English.
The new OS version also sports an improved Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook application, including video uploading, News Feed improvements and better search, among other perks.
PlayBook users will also get the Facebook application preloaded on the new software build. Facebook for PlayBook was originally released with the v1.0.3 upgrade May 2, though users had to download that new app from the BlackBerry App World store.
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can also now be charged when it is fully powered down. BlackBerry Tablet OS v1.0.5 will notify users if they are using an incorrect charger with their PlayBook.
"For example, if you accidentally plug a BlackBerry smartphone charger into the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet you will now receive an alert on the screen to let you know that this charger will not charge your tablet," RIM explained.
Users may touch the battery indicator on the top right corner of the home screen, whereupon a pop-up notification will appear and the user can now choose to restart the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, turn it off or put it into standby mode.
BlackBerry Tablet OS v1.0.5 also offers automatic WiFi hotspot detection, something the tablet should have launched with out of the gate, to make connecting to a WiFi hotspot during the set up process much more fluid.
RIM also added support for the Traversal Using Relay NAT (TURN) protocol to improve Video Chat connections between users when their calls are relayed between a public network and a protected business network that resides behind a firewall.
How will users enjoy the new Facebook app and other perks? Users who purchase PlayBook tablet on or after June 7 will be automatically updated to v1.0.5 as part of the BlackBerry PlayBook setup process.
Existing PlayBook users will be presented with a software update notification on the BlackBerry PlayBook status ribbon, and can also check for the software update in the settings menu under software updates at their leisure.
RIM also added the ability for PlayBook applications in the BlackBerry App World storefront to include support for in-app payments.
In-app payments are a way for developers to incur revenue streams by selling additional levels or tools for games and other products to bolster the user experience.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has long offered in-app payment support for its iOS platform, though Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently added in-app payment capabilities both for its Android Market and its Chrome Web Store.
Finally, RIM acquired Scoreloop, which creates cross-platform, social gaming toolkits for mobile developers. RIM said it will use the ScoreLoop talent and toolsets to help developers create social apps through the BBM Social Platform.