How Updateing The OS Will Work On The PlayBook
Continuing my series of updates on the BlackBerry PlayBook I was happy to learn that the BlackBerry PlayBook will be able to install apps AND update apps without rebooting. This has been something that has plagued the BlackBerry OS for years and I am glad it is finally going away with the Tablet OS. This is not an advantage over the competition but is a very welcome change!
On the other hand I learned something new in a confirmation from RIM. The BlackBerry PlayBook OS updates will be able to be performed wirelessly sans desktop manager or a desktop at all. That is a big leg up from the main player in the market, the iPad, which requires iTunes for OS updates.
The only downside about the OS updates is that for now the BlackBerry PlayBook OS updates will require a reboot for an OS upgrade. The thing is one of the main powers of the QNX microkernel is that it can easily be changed to not require a reboot for the Tablet OS updates. The QNX kernel only contains critical processes like CPU scheduling with everything else being a layer on top of that microkernel. That microkernel is rarely if ever updated so RIM will probably take advantage of this shortly allowing for OS updates without a reboot. The QNX kernel is very cool in that every part of the OS other than the microkernel can fail and “self heal” itself back to life without crashing everything else. The QNX kernel also has fastboot features which allow the devs to have processes kick off before the full OS loads so it is all about how RIM executes on this.
I can also confirm that I have seen an early dev model reboot this week and it took about 35 seconds to do so. Not a big deal at all and the PM said they have made it even faster in the current internal builds.