BlackBerry 10 Software Updated Before U.S. Users See First Draft
The BlackBerry Z10 won't be available in the United States for another few weeks, but BlackBerry has already made updates to the device's software.
A March 1 post in the Inside BlackBerry blog said that a software update for BlackBerry 10-running smartphones is "already available from some carriers, and we're working closely with all our carrier partners to get it to you as soon as possible."
Those already in possession of a Z10 may receive a carrier alert saying that an over-the-air update is available. Or users can check manually by visiting Settings > Software Updates > Check for Updates and then following the on-screen instructions.
Inside BlackBerry blogger Michael C. wrote that the changes come, thanks to early user feedback, and he detailed five new features to expect, while adding that they're "just a few" of the improvements coming.
BlackBerry has helped developers by improving the performance of third-party apps, he wrote, and made fixes to Gmail calendars and the way call-log information and importing contracts from online sources is handled.
It also improved the camera software, so the Z10 performs better in low-light situations, and adjusted the way the browser handles video playback.
Finally, BlackBerry also made more than "60 battery-saving improvements" since launch, so Z10 owners can get more use time from a single charge.
The Z10 is expected to arrive in the United States in mid-March—Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile have all committed to carrying it.
The Z10 went on sale in the United Kingdom Jan. 31, a day after the company introduced it, along with a Q10 sister device slated for a later arrival and the BlackBerry 10 platform that both run on. It's hoped that the new phones and modern platform will save the company, which desperately needs to win back users lost to Apple, Samsung and others.
On Feb. 5, the Z10 additionally became available in Canada, BlackBerry's home turf, and since then, the company has insisted that sales are strong.
In a Feb. 6 statement, the company said that Feb. 5 sales in Canada were the best-ever for a BlackBerry launch day and 50 percent better than any launch day in Canada in BlackBerry history. In the U.K., it added, sales have been "close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone."
Speaking with a German newspaper this week, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that sales figures had "exceeded our expectations," which were "ambitious" to start with.
The company, with the help of third-party financial advisors, has been undergoing a strategic review process to assess whether to sell off assets or the company outright. Heins said in the German interview that sales have been strong enough to positively affect the tone of the review, which will continue for a bit longer.
In the months leading up to BlackBerry 10's introduction, Heins made clear that he wanted a strong sense of how the platform was faring before he made any decisions about the company's future.
"There are signs," he said, according to a translation of the interview, "that with BlackBerry 10 we have supplied something sensible and good that matters."