With negative surveys, high return rates, BlackBerry 10 software improvements may be on the way

BlackBerry Z10 White

Updated. BlackBerry’s next software update could arrive with the company’s second handset, the BlackBerry Q10. Pre-orders for the smartphone with physical keyboard have already started and now a BlackBerry enthusiast site claims to have information on the updated software, which will also be pushed to the currently available BlackBerry Z10.

Some of the expected improvements, says the BBNews blog, are support for sending PIN-based text messages in the BlackBerry Hub, an update to the camera to support HDR photos, and BlackBerry Link, which is a way to browse data files on a remote computer. The blog, based in Poland, isn’t one I’ve followed prior, but the reported features don’t sound far-fetched. Even if these functions do arrive on BlackBerry 10 devices soon, they can’t come soon enough.

BlackBerry Z10A survey by Raymond James, reported by AllThingsD on Thursday, show that 71 percent of survey participants would never use a BlackBerry. That compares to 31.3 percent who have no interest in using Android, while 19.7 percent say nothing would get them to buy an iPhone.

Additionally, analysts are starting to dig deeper in BlackBerry 10 sales figures and finding that return rates are rising. “In several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” noted analyst Detwiler Fenton in statement to Bloomberg. Fenton says the unintuitive interface is a barrier, which could be the case, although there are only a handful of gestures needed to use the phone in my experience.

The bigger issue in my mind? Marketing. I haven’t seen the type of media blitz on television or elsewhere that Samsung and Apple typically use to promote their products. Software improvements are welcome — as are more native apps from top-tier development shops — but even the best products on the planet will never reach their sales potential without good old marketing.

Update: BlackBerry is refuting the return figures and seeking government review of the analyst statements.

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