It’s been awhile since we’ve had any good news, or news at all for that matter pertaining to BlackBerry and their BlackBerry 10 OS. As many are full aware, the Waterloo company had a horrible year, after ex-CEO Thorsten Heins tried to breath new life into the company with a rebranding, some new touchscreen devices and Alicia Keys as “Creative Director.” None of that glitz and glamour worked, and BlackBerry is left to pick up the pieces. The company hasn’t given up however, focusing its energy on BBM and enterprise software. BlackBerry has even rolled out a new update for its BlackBerry 10 OS, 10.2.1 which makes using Android apps on the devices easier than ever. The update will begin its OTA rollout across the globe beginning today.
One cool feature of BlackBerry 10 OS was that it could run Android apps as well as BlackBerry apps, via a built-in emulator. The new update allows users to install Android apps, also known as APK files, to a BlackBerry 10 device via web browser or file manager.
It is true that BlackBerry 10 has supported Android apps all along, but that required developers to submit their Android app as a .BAR file and upload it to BlackBerry’s App World in order for users to utilize them. While BlackBerry 10 users will still find themselves without a full-fledged Google Play Store, they can still download alternative app marketplaces such as the Amazon App Store app and install apps easily that way.
Here’s a list of the updates in BlackBerry OS 10.2.1:
- New phone dialer that lets you silence or send a reply with a swipe
- Support for SMS and email groups
- Tap to open messages from the lock screen notification
- Picture password unlock
- Customize the quick settings menu
- Save web pages for offline reading
- Automatic software updates when connected to WiFI
- FM radio on select devices (BlackBerry Z30, Q10, or Q5)
Are you happy with the new update? Let us know in the comments.
Press release follows below.
New BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 Lets You Do More, More Easily
Update includes hundreds of new enhancements and refinements and is rolling out to customers through carriers around the world beginning today
WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Jan. 28, 2014) –
BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB), a global leader in mobile communications, today announced BlackBerry® 10 OS version 10.2.1, a new software update for BlackBerry 10 smartphones that lets you do more, more easily, and helps you be more productive and stay better connected.
BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 includes hundreds of new enhancements and refinements that will make the things you do every day faster and easier:
Customize Pinch Gesture to Filter BlackBerry® Hub – BlackBerry Hub lets you access all your messages and notifications in one place. A new feature lets you instantly filter the message list in the Hub. You can customize the Hub to show only Unread Messages, Flagged Messages, Draft Messages, Meeting Invites, Sent Messages or Level 1 Alerts. Once the filter criterion is set, you can simply activate it with a pinch gesture on the Hub’s message list.
Simplified Phone Experience – The phone includes a new incoming call screen that lets you swipe to the left to answer or swipe right to ignore a call. New intuitive icons allow you to instantly silence the call, or send a Reply Now response through BBM™, SMS or email that you can’t answer the phone right away. You can choose from a list of standard automated responses or respond with a personalized note.
SMS and Email Groups – You can now create SMS and email groups for more efficient broadcast communications.
Actionable Lock Screen Notifications – You can now “Tap to open” a message that appears on the lock screen, letting you respond to an important message much quicker or to check messages more discreetly.
Picture Password for Quick Unlocking – You can quickly unlock your phone using a combination of a picture and a number (0-9) of your choice, which you place at a particular point on the image. When you try to unlock the phone, the picture will appear along with a grid of random numbers. To unlock, simply drag the grid so the number you selected overlays the particular point on the image.
Customizable Quick Settings Menu – You can now customize what appears on the Settings menu, which includes features such as being able to quickly change the Brightness of the smartphone’s display, toggle various network connections, and access the built-in flashlight. The Settings menu also includes a toggle that lets you instantly switch between your Personal and Work perimeter.
Offline Browser Reading Mode – You can now save the current web page you’re on for later viewing, even if you are offline or without an Internet connection.
Preferred Contact Sync – You can now choose the sync source for your Contacts ensuring you always have the most up-to-date contact details. When adding a new contact you can designate which sources you want the contact info to sync with, such as the corporate address book, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.
Device and Battery Monitor – A new and improved device monitor provides you with essential details on battery usage, the impact of installed apps on battery life and memory usage and storage, as well as CPU stats.
Automatic Software Updates – OS updates can be set to happen automatically over a Wi-Fi® connection to help ensure you’re always benefiting from the latest and best possible customer experience.
Enterprise Features – When combined with BES10 version 10.2, enterprise customers will gain additional security features and IT policies for when more granular controls are required, such as for regulated industries and for organizations that work with sensitive data. For more information about BES10, please visit www.bes10.com.
FM Radio – If you have a BlackBerry® Z30, BlackBerry® Q10 or BlackBerry® Q5 smartphone, the new software update unlocks the built-in FM radio in those handsets. You can listen to local FM stations, which does not require any network connection.
Subject to carrier approvals, BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1 will be available to customers around the world, rolling out starting today in the U.S., Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America, and will be available for the entire line of smartphones running BlackBerry 10 (including the Porsche Design P’9982).
For more information about BlackBerry 10, visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10OS.