*UPDATE* – It’ now live! Read more.
Earlier this month, we exclusively revealed the official launch date of BlackBerry OS 10.3.1 for current in-market devices as Thursday, February 19th (a.k.a. tomorrow). While BlackBerry hasn’t officially confirmed that date yet, trust us when we say it’s happening. Now, if you’re using a Passport, a Classic, or have loaded a 10.3.1 leak on your device, most of these changes won’t be a surprise to you, obviously. Most BlackBerry 10 owners that are using Z10, Q10, Q5, Z30, and Z3 smartphones, however, are still on their latest official 10.2.1, so for them, there are some big things coming.
Here is some of what they can expect:
BlackBerry OS 10.3.1. Brings A New, Refreshed UI
The jump from 10.2.1 to 10.3/10.3.1 is pretty awesome in terms of look. Icons are now flatter, and have no ugly frames around them. The overall look of 10.3.1 is a lot more unified, and just plain and simply looks better. Even the most annoying Passport and Classic reviewers have had to admit that BlackBerry 10.3/10.3.1 looks good.
Amazon Appstore comes pre-installed on BlackBerry 10.3.1
Eight months ago, BlackBerry and Amazon announced a partnership that would bring Amazon’s Appstore to BlackBerry 10 devices. If you own a Passport or a Classic (or if you’ve loaded a 10.3.1 OS leak on your device), you’re already enjoying the benefits of this deal. All other BlackBerry 10 users will finally get some Amazon Appstore love with the 10.3.1 update. In my opinion, this is the biggest part of the new OS.
New Camera layout
The BlackBerry 10 camera has gotten revamped with BlackBerry 10.3.1. BlackBerry has taken feedback from users from all over the world and decided to change the way we snap a picture. Now, instead of being able to press anywhere on the screen to capture a photo, a dedicated button has been placed on-screen to take it.
While some people may not like this change, I absolutely love it. The ability to focus on certain parts of the picture before taking it is essential sometimes, and that wasn’t as easy to do with the old camera app layout. This is a great call.
BlackBerry Hub gets even better
BlackBerry has given the Hub a few new features, and changed up its look a little too. Signature actions have been added which streamline productivity within the Hub [Read our 10.3.1 review for more].
Carrier support for BlackBerry 10.3.1 will be announced
The ugly part about tomorrow’s launch is that, more than likely, not everyone will have 10.3.1 available to them right away, and wireless carriers are basically to blame for that. While we are expecting some carriers to have 10.3.1 ready to go as early as tomorrow in certain parts of the world, we’ll at least have a better idea of when other wireless carriers will launch their 10.3.1 update if it’s not available then. After tomorrow, the ball is officially on each carrier’s court.
We’ll have all the BlackBerry 10.3.1 coverage tomorrow morning starting at 9am EST. There’s no event, obviously, but if there is more than just OS 10.3.1 announced tomorrow, we’ll be sure to let you guys know about it as well.