By 13 June 2012 | Categories: news


RIM (Research In Motion) has announced that the BlackBerry 7.1 OS software update, the latest version of the BlackBerry smartphone operating system (OS), is now available for customers in South Africa.

This software update is available for the BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Torch 9810, the Porsche Design P’9981 smartphone, BlackBerry Curve 9360 as well as the all touch Curve 9380 smartphones.

Customers can upgrade their smartphones to BlackBerry OS 7.1 for free over-the-air (OTA) by going to “Options”, and clicking on “Device” and then “Software Updates”. You can also perform an OS upgrade by opening the Canadian firm’s website in your browser, or using the BlackBerry Desktop Software.

We recommend connecting your smartphone to a PC to obtain the update via BlackBerry Desktop Software, since it is by far the quickest and most reliable way to update your device, with the update on our Torch 9810 weighing in at around 90 MB.   

BlackBerry Tag & mobile hotspot functionality

BlackBerry 7.1 OS incorporates BlackBerry Tag, a new way to share content with other BlackBerry customers using near field communications (NFC) technology. By tapping two NFC-enabled BlackBerry smartphones together, customers will be able to share contact information, pictures, a URL from the browser or documents. BlackBerry Tag can also be used to invite a friend to BBM or to pair their BlackBerry smartphone with an NFC enabled Bluetooth device.

A feature we find quite handy on Android-powered smartphones and Apple’s iPhone - mobile hotspot functionality - is now also available to BlackBerry users via BlackBerry 7.1 OS. This feature enables BlackBerry smartphone users to share their internet connection with up to five other Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as tablets or ultrabooks. You will require a data bundle to utilise this feature though, since BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) only covers on-device browsing.


Battery saving mode & FM radio for select devices

Another new feature included with 7.1 OS is the battery saving mode, which allows customers to extend the battery life of their BlackBerry smartphone, by enabling them to have their smartphone settings automatically adjusted when the battery power reaches a predefined level. Some of the settings the battery saving mode will automatically adjust include the brightness level, backlight timeout, and the mobile hotspot auto shutdown timer.

In addition, customers using a BlackBerry Curve 9360 or Curve 9380 smartphone will appreciate the new FM radio function, which lets them listen to local FM radio stations, when they have a wired headphone plugged into their BlackBerry smartphone.

In related news, RIM and the University of Pretoria (UP) recently announced the opening of the BlackBerry apps lab at the main campus of UP, which is tasked with accelerating mobile application development within South Africa, and in the process create new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space.


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