BlackBerry OS 7.1.0.74 has been leaked and brings the much wanted and much needed “hotspot” function to the BlackBerry 9900. To get some of the boring stuff out of the way first the OS as a whole is very nice (so far) and runs smoothly with no signs of problems (remember it’s a leak!). It brings some updates to our favourite apps such as BlackBerry Protect, Docs to Go and BBM, but these updates do seem to be bug fixes rather than bringing anything substantially new. It’s too early to comment on the effects of the OS on battery life but we’ll update here in a few days.

Now to the meat. The hotspot feature works brilliantly, in short it turns your device into a wifi router allowing you to share your network signal with up to 5 devices. The security offered is WEP/WPA/WPA2 or none (if you’re feeling generous!) and it can broadcast in wifi b/g. Remember that the feature requires an APN setting which, depending on your network, could cost you a lot of money if you’ve no data bundle so please be careful in testing this out. We dont want anyone getting bill shock!

For networks in Canada and the US this release also brought wifi calling (via UMA), which is handy in areas where you’ve poor coverage but a good home broadband set up, and emergency alert messages. If you’d like to test out the release you can download it here: OS7.1.0.74 for BlackBerry 9900 ONLY! Let us know if you’ve taken the leap and what you think of it in our comments section below. For instructions on installing leaks click here