It’s good to see the BlackBerry team deliver a software update to improve five key features on the company’s newest smartphones. Is that enough to boost sales? Not likely.

BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry’s new platform and phone are getting the first software update since launching. Customers with a Z10 handset either have, or will soon have, a 150 MB over-the-air software package that betters five different functions of the newest BlackBerry handset. The company says that some carriers are already delivering the new software and that it’s working with others to make the update available soon.

I’d consider these to be core feature updates, some of which should improve the overall experience in areas that I find slightly lacking:

  • Third-party application performance. I don’t find that many third-party apps run slow on the BlackBerry Z10, but this is still welcome news. The bigger issue in my opinion is a lack of top-tier software titles. BlackBerry says WhatsApp Messenger will join the platform this month.
  • Phone, calendar and contacts. BlackBerry says there are fixes for Gmail accounts. I’m looking forward to this as I need Gmail for both work and personal uses; the experience could be improved on the Z10. The BlackBerry Hub is also better for call logging after this software update and it is easier to import contacts from online sources.
  • Camera. The update reportedly improves photos in low-light conditions, something that many noted was an issue with the Z10.
  • Video playback in the browser is improved.
  • Battery life. BlackBerry says that 60 battery optimizations are implemented in the software update so “heavy users especially should see a longer average usage per charge cycle.”

I haven’t installed the update on the Z10 that BlackBerry provided me at the launch event yet, although I’ll check for it later today.

While I’m happy to see software improvements, I don’t see anything here that would alter my perception of BlackBerry’s challenge. The Z10 and BlackBerry platform look good and yet I can’t find a reason for most people to switch away from either an iPhone or Android handset at this point.

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  1. Latoya Blackmon Friday, March 1, 2013

    What about for those of us who wouldn’t be switching from an iphone or aneroid. I have a blackberry currently( the one with touchscreen that slides to reveal a querty board….trying to decide if its worth the switch…

    1. Latoya, if you’re a current BlackBerry user, I think you’ll be very happy with the new software and handset.

      1. Well, I got the Z10 a few weeks ago. Let me make one thing clear. There are many reasons for switching from my other high end smart phone. The main reason is it does everything way better. No comparison in the sheer beauty of this operating system. Easy and fast!

    2. Nooooo don’t switch! I had the torch and upgraded to this z10. I regret it and now u can’t go back without getting a whole new sim card as the new10 has a whole different sim card!

  2. Talk about the update but try not to speculate on things you have no clue about. How does an article on the latest update turn into a random opinion about the companies challenges or what that will do for the company. I still like the Z10 better then my previous iPhone.

    1. Kevin C. Tofel John Friday, March 1, 2013

      Er, in that case you can read the BlackBerry blog post, which will certainly be nothing but praise for the update, platform and phone. ;)

      Regardless, I’m glad the Z10 is working for you. I never said it was a bad phone; I said I don’t see a reason for most people to switch.

      1. “I don’t see a reason for most people to switch”
        Speak for yourself Kevin. In fact i see no reason to read your write ups again..

    2. in blackberry z10 how can i send broatcast to all my frends together its in latest softwaer.if its in latest softwear can pls let me knw

  3. Glenn Smith Friday, March 1, 2013

    Here are some reasons to switch

    Best touch keyboard
    Best integrated inbox
    Most HTML5 compliant browser and very fast as well
    Excellent UI experience which is very efficient and a welcome evolution from the current and tired IOS
    Best security and least chance of malware and info being stolen or corrupted especially compared to Android
    Open technology use – DLNA, HDMI, USB
    BBM video and screen share

    Apps are only 70000 but growing at 1000 a day it seems. It is not the number of apps that matters but the ability to create apps easily which Blackberry has done by allowing several
    different methods. It is important that they get the top 100 for sure but I would say they have 70 of those to start with. Good for a new OS.

    I am surprised you don’t see these advantages but it seems they are convincing many to switch from IOS and Android according to reports from resellers where it has been introduced. If you don’t want your trial device please send it to me as I know many people who would love it.

  4. Hi, if you do not like your Z10, can you send it to me?
    I need a second one for wife.

  5. Kerryannpenny Friday, March 1, 2013

    Please add what’s app to the new bb. That would make it perfect.

  6. Chuuck taylor’D Friday, March 1, 2013

    perfect now bring more competition to ios and andriod

  7. “I can’t find a reason for most people to switch”

    Have you done your research? 50% of non BlackBerry users are switching to Z10.

    1. I have seen those reports from BlackBerry, but I’d like to give it a little more time — and get data points from a party that doesn’t have a vested interest — before we say there’s a trend there.


        1. Hm. I actually don’t care if people move to BB10, or any other platform for that matter. People should use the best device that suits their needs. ;)

    2. Are you serious? Where did you get that information? I personally like the Galaxy Note better than any phone BUT if I had to choose between any BB and any other lame phone, I’d choose the lame phone.

  8. JustAnotherBlackberryHater Friday, March 1, 2013

    No reason to switch? What about boredom? I have iOS and I am kinda tired of it. They haven’t done anything different or radical in years. Android 4 seems nice, but I can see someone who had Android for a while willing to part with it (minus google maps). Blackberry’s problem is not lack of apps, it’s lack of key apps. Most people who’d take a blackberry probably don’t even use that many apps. I have ~90 apps on my iphone and I MAYBE use 10 of them. UrbanSpoon? Yeah, I used it like twice. Twitter/WhatsApp/Facebook/Flipboard/Maps/Pandora/Youtube, I bet that covers 75% of all apps used on a regular basis. Blackberry, continue to improve icons/ui (no, I did not use it, just what I saw in the videos, they might be better in person), Get better maps (no, what they have sucks) and you have a shot at people who just want something different. If BlackBerry really wants a splash (it is too little too late at this point) but release BBM on other platforms. Charge a buck. I bet they wouldn’t even have to care about whatsapp at that point, but then… who knows. Too many players in that game now. Look, I read this thing about car washes once: if everyone around you has touchless, open the one with bristles. Same thing, if everyone around you is going for app counts, and you’re so far behind, go for integrated experience. They’re already doing that with email/twitter/alerts/msgs. Don’t stop. Advertise “you can get apps, but you don’t have to, we got you 90% covered out of the box”. It could be appealing. Get a phone that already has good looking news, already does twitter. All from blackberry I can trust. That could be a decent sales pitch.

  9. This new OS update has convinced me to ditch Android. I’ll be picking up the Z10 next week.

    1. Dr. Anup Singh Phagura ICA Sunday, April 7, 2013

      I wish you good luck!!

  10. Haider Khan Friday, March 1, 2013

    Hi, Mr.Kevin.Currently I am having a Samsung Galaxy S3. I am thinking to buy a new mobile. Which one would you prefer me to by:Iphone 5 or Blackberry Z10(in terms of battery life and performance)?

    1. Dr. Anup Singh Phagura Haider Khan Sunday, April 7, 2013

      Certainly iPhone 5.

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