The slew of upcoming BlackBerry OS 6.1 handsets will launch with a mobile hotspot feature so you can share your 3G connection with up to 5 nearby devices over Wi-Fi. Though we’ve seen it mentioned in leaked specs, a new batch of slides is getting down to the nitty-gritty of how it’ll look and work.
The Mobile hotspot will be enabled through a new option in the manage Connections menu, which is accessed in OS 6 by simply tapping your signal bar on the home screen. From there, you’ll be able to switch your BlackBerry between Wi-fi Mode and Mobile Hotspot mode pretty easily – no fussing around with apps or digging around too deep into settings menus. If you do want to drill deeper, you’ll be able to change your network name, monitor the amount of data sent and received, set security, change the Wi-Fi bands you’re running on, set an automatic shutdown timer when inactive, as well as check the really specific stuff like subnet masks. On the downside, when you have the mobile hotspot active, you can’t pair up with Bluetooth devices.
On top of the hotspot options, we see a few interesting hints of what’s called Sapphire, which should sync up BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook apps much like Bridge. Near-Field Communications are also included in the screenshots, and will be found in the Manage Connections menu along with Cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connections. If you’re just worried about your own internet connection, you won’t have to open up BlackBerry Desktop Software to tether any more, apparently; the whole interface will be on the device.
Obviously only the newer BlackBerry handsets will be able to benefit from many new features in OS 6.1 since stuff like NFC and augmented reality are dependent on hardware support, but I’m curious if older hardware can be enabled to act as mobile hotspots with the the right OS update…