BlackBerry Issues an Update for OS 10

BlackBerry, struggling to regain its stability, is out with an upgrade to OS 10. The upgrade offers hundreds of enhancements, including message filtering, simplified phone calling, and other new features that could boost its appeal in the critical governmental and business markets.

In the new version 10.2.1, users can now immediately filter the message list in the Hub so that it displays only Unread Messages, Flagged Messages, Draft Messages, Meeting Invites, Sent Messages or Level 1 alerts. A pinch gesture can activate the filter criteria.

A new incoming call screen allows a user to answer or ignore a call by swiping -- to the left for answering, to the right for ignoring. New icons control the ability to silence a call or reply through BlackBerry Messenger, SMS or e-mail, and groups can now be created for SMS and e-mail.

Some 'Cool Stuff'

Messages that appear on the lock screen can now be tapped to open, and the phone is unlockable through a picture-plus-number combination.

Other new features include a customizable Quick Settings Menu, the ability to save a Web page for later offline reading, a new battery monitor, automatic software updates, and FM radio. For the enterprise, there are also now additional security features with finer levels of control for regulated industries.

Ramon Llamas, an analyst with industry research firm IDC, told us the upgrades don't quite "move the needle" for BlackBerry, but they do offer some "cool stuff," including the Hub notifications and the gestural controls for calling. He noted that the enhancements will help BlackBerry owners "make sense of the deluge of messages" they often encounter.

'Same Lack of Apps'

But, he pointed out, "it's still the same device, same OS -- and same lack of applications." Llamas noted that the added features will help "users be more productive" in the governmental and enterprise...

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