ORLANDO — BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has announced that BlackBerry 10.1, the first update to the company’s BlackBerry 10 OS, will be coming to the touch screen-equipped Z10. The update carries with it a host of improvements to the operating system including the usual system improvements and bug fixes, as well as some interesting upgrades.
One of the biggest additions to the operating system is its new HDR camera mode. The feature allows users to shoot two photos at once, one in HDR mode and a separate in standard shooting mode. BlackBerry reps said the reason for the dual shooting mode is because most users don’t know when using HDR mode is appropriate and when it isn’t. By building two shooting modes into the HDR mode, users will be able to capture an image in HDR and standard mode and then choose which photo looks best.
PIN messaging also makes a return in BB10.1. According to company reps, the decision to include the feature, which was omitted from BB10, was made in response to the clamoring of longtime BlackBerry users who were miffed that the function was missing from the Z10. In addition to PIN messaging, BB10.1 also lets users view emails attached to other emails and get contact suggestions when they start addressing a message.
Other improvements to BB10.1 include the addition of customized notifications. When BB10 launched, it lacked the ability to set customized ringtones for specific contacts. With BB10.1, users can now set custom ringtones, vibrations and LED lights for calls and messages from each of your contacts. Users will also be able to set up different notifications for their social media accounts and email.
BB10.1 also offers improved cursor control for selecting text, something that we criticized BB10 for when it initially launched, as well as a click-to-call function, which lets you tap a phone number included in an email or BBM and instantly call it.
We had a chance to check out BB10.1 during our review of the Q10 and were happy with the improvements made to the OS. That said, there are still some areas that need some massaging, specifically when it comes to system start-up time. We’d also like to see BlackBerry make the Airplane mode toggle available from the notification bar, rather than burying it in the Settings menu.