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RIM Shows Off BlackBerry OS 7.1

Research In Motion demonstrated version 7.1 of its BlackBerry operating system at CES this week. Our video gives you a look at key features, including BlackBerry Tag using NFC, a mobile hotspot feature, and Wi-Fi calling.

CES Preview: Robots And Toys Go Wireless And Autonomous
CES: Robots And Toys Go Wireless And Autonomous
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RIM announced BlackBerry OS 7.1 this week. It enables NFC on those BlackBerry phones that have it (many of the recent models), and it includes a new feature called BlackBerry tag, which is a way to share content between BlackBerry phones using NFC and Bluetooth--just tap the two phones together and the content can be shared (you can see this in the video embedded below). NFC creates the handshake, Bluetooth handles the communications.

NFC is still nascent for mobile phones, and the applications are sparse. But the future looks promising. RIM Senior Product Manager Annu Dawar said that RIM just received Visa certification for mobile payments, one of the biggest applications for NFC today, but carriers need to enable this, of course. Dawar said that another easy application could be using the NFC phone for things like building access.

[ RIM also is updating its PlayBook operating system. Read RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps. ]

BlackBerry 7.1 also includes the ability to make the phone a mobile hot spot (Dawar said all of the carriers have approved this). RIM has integrated Bing as its universal search, and enabled Wi-Fi calling (previous version supported this, but BlackBerry didn't include it in 7.0); T-Mobile supports this feature.

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