||This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (January 2013)
BlackBerry Tablet OS is an operating system from Research in Motion (RIM) based on the QNX Neutrino real-time operating system designed to run Adobe AIR and BlackBerry WebWorks applications, currently available for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer. The BlackBerry Tablet OS is the first tablet running an operating system from QNX, the company responsible for real-time operating systems used in products from cars to nuclear reactors. QNX is now a subsidiary of RIM.
The OS has, by and large, received positive reviews, and features of it have often been on the “plus” side of reviews. The BlackBerry PlayBook ably showcases RIM's powerful new mobile operating system.
BlackBerry Tablet OS supports standard BlackBerry Java applications. Support for Android apps has also been announced, through sandbox "app players". A BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Development Kit, to develop native applications with the GNU toolchain is currently in closed beta testing. The first device to run BlackBerry Tablet OS was the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer.
A similar QNX-based operating system, known as BlackBerry 10, will replace the long-standing BlackBerry OS on handsets after version 7.
Several features of the OS make it particularly suited for multi-tasking on multi-core devices.
Hard real time allocation
The micro-kernel architecture operating system provides hard real-time multitasking. QNX was one of the first POSIX operating systems to employ the technique of hard time allocation on a fixed clock cycle, similar to the way computer graphics rendering works – to a fixed frame rate. The kernel will visit each and every task at least once every cycle, for instance every 20 milliseconds (or 50 frames per second, in graphics terms), to be sure that no task is not attended (or no object entirely unrendered, in graphics terms). This model achieves most of the advantages of the interrupt-driven and polling approaches to multi-tasking. QNX Neutrino kernel calls support threads, message passing, signals, clocks, timers, interrupt handlers, semaphores, mutual exclusion locks (mutexes), condition variables (condvars) and barriers. The kernel is built on these only, making QNX "fully preemptible, even while passing messages between processes; it resumes the message pass where it left off before preemption." This alleviates problems of sudden power-outs or user actions that force resources to be swapped out of working memory – common in tablet applications.
The micro-kernel was designed for distributed processing, which reduces heat and energy usage by comparison to monolithic architectures such as Linux. The ability to lock software tasks to specific cores, under the control of a single copy of the OS, lets all resources be "dynamically allocated and shared among applications. During application initialization, however, a setting determined by the system designer forces all of an application’s threads to execute only on a specified core" thus reducing inter-processor communications overhead and keeping the bus clear. This approach lies between symmetric multiprocessing and asymmetric multiprocessing.
- Web browser Homepage Bookmarks
- Provides the ability to display text. This includes basic labels and text input fields.
- BlackBerry Bridge – the ability to connect to, and access data on, a BlackBerry smartphone using internet.
- Document editing through BlackBerry Bridge. It is now updated.
- BlackBerry Messaging capability through BlackBerry Bridge
- Video chat capability with other BlackBerry PlayBook users but not any other device
- Improved functionality within the Facebook app, inc. notifications
- Video uploading direct from the camera or media folder & album selection for media uploaded
- Improved search, news feeds and pages functionality
- Message deletion
- Fast Calculation of Mathematical Operations
- Options and help centre functionality incorporated
- In-app payment support to allow the purchase of new levels of a game or latest edition of a magazine/newspaper
- Additional language supports for most EU countries
- Power management and charging improved, including charging while powered down.
- Improved WiFi Hotspot detection
- Adobe Flash Player security fix
- Easier to download and save pictures
- Adobe Flash 10.3 update including security patches
- Adobe AIR 2.7 update
- Improved connectivity & productivity with the BlackBerry Bridge application many great features
- Enhanced Support for Saving Attachments
- ZIP Attachment Support
- Faster pairing between a BlackBerry smartphone and a BlackBerry PlayBook
- Faster attachment opening
- Additional Multimedia Features
- Portrait Support in Pictures App
- Pinch to Zoom in Video App
- Additional Language Support
- Improved Wi-Fi connectivity over WEP networks
- Airplane mode
- Differential software updates to allow only parts of the OS to be updated instead of a full update, ensuring smaller file sizes for updates
- Security fixes to Flash 10.3 and Adobe AIR
- Running apps created using BlackBerry NDK.
- Adobe Flash 11.1 update including security patches
- Adobe AIR 3.1 update
- Daylight savings time updates for time zones in the regions of Latin America, Australia and Central America
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi software update to help to improve connectivity
- Fixed issues some users were experiencing with account payments in the BlackBerry App World
- Improved synching when restoring applications with BlackBerry Desktop Software
Version 2.0 (Beta)
- Support for Android 2.3 applications
- Docs To Go
- Support for Android Launchers (Limited Time Only)
- Native Email
- Native Calendar
- Native Contacts app
- Support for Android 2.3 applications
- Redesigned Video Chat app
- Browser (HTML5 test scores of 354)
- AppWorld UI Change)
- Social network integration with sites such as Facebook
- Video Store (available only
- BlackBerry Bridge 2.0 features on BlackBerry Smartphones
- BlackBerry Messenger, Push email, contacts, calendar, etc. via BlackBerry Bridge 2.0
- Accessories Store
- Use your BlackBerry Smartphone as a mouse through BlackBerry Bridge
- Browser enhancements to address performance with some websites
- Improvements to support Android apps
- Optimizations to Video Chat, PIM and BlackBerry Bridge applications
Version 2.1.0 (Beta)
- Improved HTML5 support
- Portrait support for Email, Calendar and Contacts
- Improved folder support including IMAP folder support
- Full device encryption
- Screenshots are saved in lossless PNG format
- Each Android app will now run in its own window
- Access to the Camera hardware for Android apps
- In-App Payment through the BlackBerry Payment SDK
- BlackBerry Bridge now runs over WiFi in addition to Bluetooth
Version 2.1.0 (Current)
- View, respond and compose new SMS messages on BlackBerry PlayBook when connected to a BlackBerry smartphone via BlackBerry Bridge 2.1
- Wi-Fi connection is no longer required when setting up a new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
- Print to Go now works across different networks
- Over-the-air enrollment with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion
- New IT policies
Version 10.0 (Future)
Rumors spread about BlackBerry 10 on the BlackBerry Playbook. RIM (now BlackBerry) has discussed about the upcoming update coming on both Wi-Fi and LTE versions of the tablet. Thorsten Heins has decided (not confirmed) that the update might come out in late 2013.