Despite significant changes to the company, BlackBerry haven’t stopped working on updates to their BlackBerry 10 OS, today releasing 10.2.1. While the version-number may say otherwise, the new update, rolling out worldwide from today, has some interesting features for owners of the new BlackBerry 10 lineup. Update on Australian rollout below.
The biggest change is the new ability to install Android apps from the device, without messing around with desktop software to convert or transfer apps. Now, if you can find the .apk file for an app, which is what Android uses as their main app binary, you might just be able to install it onto your BlackBerry 10 device. This means apps like Instagram, Snapchat, or other missing apps from the BlackBerry platform will now be more easily accessible from the devices, although it must also be said, somewhat illegally unless the developer provides an .apk through their website. Google apps are still unavailable, due to unavailable frameworks required for those apps, and some other compatibility issues will still continue despite the change.
Alongside this change, the new update also introduces a new incoming call screen, support for group messaging over email or SMS in the BlackBerry Hub, as well as better management of notifications in the Hub. The lockscreen is also improved, with a new picture passcode (presumably similar to Windows 8’s where you tap certain areas of an image to unlock), as well as actionable notifications.
There’s also the introduction of FM radio support on Q10, Z30, and Q5 devices, but not for the Z10. Finally, BlackBerry 10 devices will now have improved battery reporting, and an offline reading mode in the devices web browser. For now, though, the rollout will require the standard (excluding Apple) carrier approval process, with the update unlikely to see the light of day for days, weeks, or even months.
Some devices have already received the update in the US, but even there the rollout is limited to a small number of users.
Update: So far, we’ve received word that Telstra has received the update, but doesn’t expect their rollout to start until March 10. Using an Optus SIM to check for updates on a Telstra BB10 device did allow me to download the update immediately.
Optus is already rolling out the update, according to CrackBerry Forum member CRACKBERRY_OZ. And we’ve been able to successfully update with an Optus SIM.
Vodafone is the same as Optus, with the update rolling out right now