The big news this week has obviously been the new BlackBerry 10.2.1 update that started to make its way out globally yesterday. So far, hundreds of carriers are on board and have the update live for their customers to download. There are hundreds of new features that range from the battery percentage showing when in “Peek” to the ability to directly install Android APKs onto a device. Many, myself included, have wondered why this update was labeled 10.2.1, a minor update, as a opposed to 10.3, what would be considered a more major bump in version numbers.
It turns out, the BlackBerry 10.2.1 update is meant to “polish the OS,” BlackBerry Project Manager Michael Clewley told us in a short interview yesterday. “With 10.2.1 we’re making BlackBerry 10 the best it can be right now.”
Even though the update was chock-full of newness, we’re told BlackBerry has a lot more planned for their next OS update. That’s when the big guns will be coming out. Michael Clewley was unable to mention specifics, but safe to say BlackBerry has piqued our interest with what we’re assuming will be 10.3.
This is not to say 10.2.1 is lacking in any way. New features like Picture Password, which Clewley mentioned was designed specifically to prevent the “over-the-shoulder surfer” from watching you input your password, add a differing aspect to the OS that BlackBerry loves to embrace. Typing out an alphanumeric password, or inputting a pattern can be extremely easy to memorize. Picture Password addresses that issue head on.
The new filtering pinch gesture in the BlackBerry Hub is another example of how “enhancing the user’s productivity” is BlackBerry’s #1 goal with their operating system. Filter what you want, and when you want to. That’s why they can say BlackBerry 10.2.1 “lets you do more, more quickly.”
Although this year may not be the biggest in terms of device releases, and big news for BlackBerry, that won’t stop their software teams from working hard and improving on what’s already arguably, the best mobile experience out there. Tomorrow, January 30th, it will be a full year since BlackBerry 10 has officially been out, and there have already been 3 major updates over the course of those 12 months (10.1, 10.2, and 10.2.1).
Don’t get me wrong, BlackBerry has a lot of work to do still in many areas they’ve struggled, but compelling and innovative software has consistently shined through the mishaps, and we expect that same software ingenuity to keep guiding the company over the foreseeable future.