RIM Rolls PlayBook 2.1 Update, Improves BlackBerry Bridge, Data Security, And Android App Support

RIM is not done with the PlayBook. The company just announced a major update for its tablet. The software update will be available later today for the WiFi PlayBook and brings a host of significant improvements. With this update the tablet now sports SMS capabilities through BlackBerry Bridge, data encryption on personal accounts, and improved Android application support.

This update brings an updated BlackBerry Bridge. It now allows the PlayBook to send, view and receive text messages when connected to a BlackBerry smartphone over Bluetooth. Along with this enhanced communication comes portrait support for email, calendar and contacts.

Personal data can now be encrypted. This was previously only available for data on a corporate BES account.

RIM also added significant enhanced Android application support. With 2.1 Android apps now support multi-window applications, camera support and in-app payments. If nothing else, these functions bring the PlayBook up to par with competitive Android tablets.

Look for this update later today but only WiFi models need to apply.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is currently available in WiFi and 4G options. The WiFi model comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavors start at $199 for the 16GB. The tablet launched with much fanfare in 2011, but it lacked key features until early this year. As it sits right now, the PlayBook is a capable tablet for the price, but it is aging very quickly thanks to the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and, soon, the iPad mini.