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BlackBerry's Updated OS 10.2.1 Turns Phones Into Radios

By - Source: BlackBerry Limited | B 13 comments

BlackBerry's latest OS update unlocks the FM radio, and more.

On Tuesday, BlackBerry Limited launched a new version of its BlackBerry OS, bringing the platform to v10.2.1.

According to a list of new features, the update will unlock the FM radio found on the Z30, Q10 and Q5, providing access to local radio stations, which does not require any network connection. Another "offline" feature is the ability to save webpages for viewing when an Internet connection is unavailable or not in use.

Another notable feature is the picture password for quick device unlocking. While this may sound all too easy to hack, there's a catch. Users must also designate one number that will be hidden in the picture. To unlock, simply select the number in a provided grid of random numbers and drag it over the hidden number.

The platform also includes a new and improved device monitor that provides information about battery usage, the impact of installed apps on battery life, memory usage and storage, as well as CPU stats. Automatic updates when the phone is on Wi-Fi are also part of the updated platform, keeping the user up-to-date.

BlackBerry boasts a simplified phone experience with the launch of the new OS, which now provides a new incoming call screen that allows users to swipe left to answer or swipe right  to ignore a call. There's also a Reply Now feature that will send a response through BBM, SMS or email stating that the user can't answer the phone right away.

Thanks to the new platform, device owners can now create SMS and email groups for more efficient broadcast communications. Users can even "tap to open" a message appearing on the lock screen, making it easy to check messages more discreetly and answer messages more rapidly.

For a longer list of features, check out BlackBerry's announcement here. Subject to carrier approval, the update is available now in the U.S., Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America for the Z10, Z30, Q5, Q10 and the Porsche Design P'9982 phone.

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  • 1 Hide
    Laser_Skeletor , January 28, 2014 9:01 PM
    Finally, the killer feature they have been missing! Surely Blackberry will make their comeback now.
  • -1 Hide
    brandonjclark , January 29, 2014 6:52 AM
    Now the radio works. Great. NSA tracking enabled.
  • 3 Hide
    meltbox360 , January 29, 2014 8:18 AM
    Forgot to mention that you can now install android apps ota and they work a lot better.
  • 0 Hide
    MarkMITDev , January 29, 2014 8:52 AM
    Android 4.4 update brings Full-screen wallpapers with preview

    Apple iOS 7 Update brings shared links

    It is curious that a tech site would use the 10th bullet item from a software release to announce it rather than use arguably more interesting tech features. Regardless of what your personal opinion is on BlackBerry or whether you think they are a dying company the ability to install Android APKs (since the author may not know, that is the native file extension for Android applications) without any conversion is a bit more interesting than the FM radio. The fact that QNX allows both native and Android apps to run side by side is technologically pretty impressive but clearly not as impressive to the author as the FM radio.

    From a tech perspective it may also be worth noting that many US carriers have kept those that did purchase BB10 phones stuck at 10.1 even though 10.2 also included numerous upgrades to the user experience.

    I own Android, iOS, Windows, and BB10 devices and can see strengths and weaknesses in each of them but the weaknesses in BB are often overplayed which I think is unfortunate since there are truly innovative features to be found there as well. The author touched upon one such feature in his announcement, the picture lock. What makes it innovative is the way they have implemented it. Anyone looking over your shoulder can usually figure out a PIN or picture lock after seeing you use it one or two times but by using random numbers it is much more difficult for someone to figure out the pattern the way that BB has implemented it. You don't have to put your finger on the number as the author describes but rather any number, you just drag your number over the target area. Since the number you press and the direction you drag the number appears random each time it becomes very difficult for someone watching you to figure out the pattern.

    I would encourage anyone with an open mind to at least look at BlackBerry’s press release and draw your own conclusions before discounting it as the FM radio being the major new feature.
  • -2 Hide
    Nainkaigo , January 29, 2014 9:03 AM
    Radio? Who needs a radio?
  • -3 Hide
    Christopher Shaffer , January 29, 2014 10:55 AM
    BB is junk, which is why it's about to be extinct. Why they are still wasting money on developing their OS that nobody wants while virtually bankrupt is enough to tell how they got here in the first place. The fact that they spent this time developing a feature nobody needs; well, that's just icing on the cake.I called over a year and a half ago on the Ars Technica forums that BB would be bankrupt and/or ready to sell off it's major assets within a year and I was right. What I didn't predict is that it would continue to make horrible decisions like this. I guess I gave them too much credit.
  • -1 Hide
    Christopher Shaffer , January 29, 2014 11:04 AM
    Quote:
    Android 4.4 update brings Full-screen wallpapers with previewApple iOS 7 Update brings shared linksIt is curious that a tech site would use the 10th bullet item from a software release to announce it rather than use arguably more interesting tech features. Regardless of what your personal opinion is on BlackBerry or whether you think they are a dying company the ability to install Android APKs (since the author may not know, that is the native file extension for Android applications) without any conversion is a bit more interesting than the FM radio. The fact that QNX allows both native and Android apps to run side by side is technologically pretty impressive but clearly not as impressive to the author as the FM radio.


    QNX was obsolete as soon as it was developed. There are plenty of alternatives to creating a complex OS that can host native apps and those for other platforms and most of them involve simple solutions like Sencha or Titanium, not reinventing your entire OS to support apps from a more successful open-source architecture.

    BB would have been a LOT smarter to keep the BB network involved for enterprise security and integrate THEIR useful services and applications into the Android environment and instead run this on their devices. Instead, they decided to be stubborn and force Android into the BB OS.

    There was nothing smart about this decision; they missed the boat entirely. The attractiveness of the Android OS was already proven and from a marketing standpoint would have given them the leverage they needed to get normal consumers and continue to market their enterprise *services*. Without the normal consumer buying in, they didn't have the market leverage to stay above water.
  • 1 Hide
    meltbox360 , January 29, 2014 11:09 AM
    And yet the people claiming they are dying are still at it after two whole years? You guys probably haven't even tried the phones with this OS or at all. Also BlackBerry is the largest MDM solution provider in the world. They aren't just a hardware company. Take a look at the stock price as of late, that's not by accident
  • 0 Hide
    Christopher Shaffer , January 29, 2014 12:44 PM
    The fact that they decided to quit producing their flagship new phone, tried to sell the company more than once and began selling off assets and shutting down divisions of their company is a fairly big red flag of demise.

    Stock price is only an indicator of the market's reaction to what investors may be willing to pay for the company; it is in no way an indicator of actual success.

    In addition, their stock performance has been on a steady decline for the last 6mos and really last year overall. There was a small uptick with this announcement, but that's not going to make them buoyant.
  • 0 Hide
    meltbox360 , January 29, 2014 2:08 PM
    They stopped producing their flagship new phone? Not sure if they did or didn't but if inventory suffices then producing would be stupid. You're just reiterating that they don't sell well which is known. They are selling off real estate to lease back because it's cheaper. They don't need the cash yet but it sure does help to have extra cash laying around if they do end up needing it for some acquisition or something else. Also did you miss the Foxconn announcement? Huge losses were from buying too much stuff to make phones, that risk and those losses are now GONE. The reason investors are willing to pay more is because unlike before we are seeing huge changes to the company.

    Check your stock price facts again. They were down at $6 last time within your one year time frame I believe. Guess where they are now? Above that absurdly low valuation. The only division I remember they shut down was the playbook one since there was really no reason to keep it open once it was EOL.
  • 2 Hide
    guile1x , January 29, 2014 3:09 PM
    lots of bb haters in the comments section. Would be nice to see a breakdown of 10.2.1 though, lots of amazing features.. I've very happy with my z30... haters gonna hate.
  • 1 Hide
    chicofehr , January 29, 2014 5:33 PM
    10.2.1 allows you to install android APK files natively which is actually the biggest feature. Many users are installing the amazon marketplace app, 1mobile app and another called sap which is the 3rd party google play store app.
  • 1 Hide
    AnotherBillJ , February 12, 2014 12:56 PM
    Quote:
    lots of bb haters in the comments section. Would be nice to see a breakdown of 10.2.1 though, lots of amazing features.. I've very happy with my z30... haters gonna hate.
    Quote:
    lots of bb haters in the comments section. Would be nice to see a breakdown of 10.2.1 though, lots of amazing features.. I've very happy with my z30... haters gonna hate.
    I've been rocking the Z30 for a couple of months now and with the addition of OS 10.2.1, it's nothing short of amazing.As with so many other articles about BlackBerry, people are commenting on the BlackBerry they knew and not the new BB10 BlackBerry phone they've actually tried. Sad, really.