BlackBerry Bridge update for BB10 suspends BBM, SMS access

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BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) released an updated version of its BlackBerry Bridge utility optimized for the new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, introducing a series of new features but temporarily halting support for key messaging services.

The free BlackBerry Bridge app allows users to pair their BlackBerry smartphone with the manufacturer's PlayBook tablet over Bluetooth and remotely access tablet features and services via the phone's keyboard, trackpad and touchscreen. Unlike previous versions, the new BlackBerry Bridge v3.0 does not support sharing of BlackBerry Messenger, SMS, calendar, contacts, tasks and memos features with the user's smartphone. In addition, consumers must now configure all email accounts separately on their PlayBook tablet to enable access from their smartphone.

BlackBerry said it is planning to bring BBM and other applications as part of a Bridge update expected later this year, but consumers vented their frustrations over the current limitations.

"This version is a downgrade rather than upgrade. BBM and text functionally need to be added sooner rather than later or people will see no added value in owning a Playbook and a BB10 phone," reads one user comment posted to the Official BlackBerry Blog. Another adds "No matter how you spin it, the 'new' version of BB Bridge is a giant leap backwards for anyone who uses their PlayBook as an extension of their BB phone, and I'm sure there are many of us. I don't want to have to duplicate my email accounts on my PlayBook, I want to be able to access them VIA it, and the same goes for BBM & text messaging."

BlackBerry Bridge v3.0 does allow users to share their BlackBerry 10 smartphone's Internet and Intranet connection with their PlayBook. They may also access files stored on their phone using the PlayBook's File Manager application. In addition, BlackBerry 10's Share framework includes a new "Open on" menu option for accessing PlayBook bookmarks and files.

BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) unveiled BlackBerry 10 late last month. The new smartphone OS brings an expanded BBM service highlighted by Wi-Fi-enabled voice calling and video chat features, as well as new collaborative features. The complementary BlackBerry Hub offers a single point of access for all personal and professional conversations, including BBM messages, email and social media updates. BlackBerry 10 also brings BlackBerry Flow, which promises to combine apps and features more seamlessly--for example, tapping on an attendee listed for a meeting to see their latest tweet or social networking profile.

For more:
- read this Official BlackBerry Blog post
- read this NDTV Gadgets article

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