Research In Motion (RIM) announced at CES it will add an FM radio app download to its BlackBerry Curve 9360 or 9380 smartphones. This, courtesy of the BlackBerry 7.1 OS update. The FM radio circuitry is already built in to the two models and the BlackBerry 7.1 does not require a data plan, nor does it use data services.
At the show, RIM is showcasing the new 7.1 OS as well as updates to the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), BlackBerry Traffic and BlackBerry Travel apps. BlackBerry 7.1 will begin rolling out from carriers around the world beginning 1/9 and over the coming weeks.
“BlackBerry 7 delivered a next-generation platform for our customers around the world and the range of software updates announced today build upon the strengths of that platform to further enhance the mobile experience and make life easier, from managing daily tasks to planning big adventures,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion.
The 7.1 OS incorporates a new feature called BlackBerry Tag that can change the way BlackBerry users share info and content. By simply tapping their NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled BlackBerry smartphone against another NFC enabled BlackBerry smartphone, users can make sharing easier than ever. Near field communication is a set of standards for smartphones to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.
They can instantly invite a friend to BBM, exchange contact info, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content, and they can also pair their BlackBerry smartphone with an NFC-enabled Bluetooth device.
With BlackBerry 7.1, users can now turn their BlackBerry smartphone into a mobile hotspot that can be shared by up to 5 Wi-Fi -enabled devices, including laptops and tablets3. The 7.1 update also supports carrier implemented Wi-Fi calling services (UMA/GAN where available), allowing users to make Wi-Fi calls from their BlackBerry smartphone that don’t eat into their airtime minutes.
The new BlackBerry Traffic (version 3.0), a free app that determines a user’s estimated time of arrival based on current traffic conditions, and now includes hands-free turn-by-turn voice guidance.