Update: I just received (June 3, 2015) another update notification on my Q10 – with BlackBerry 10 OS update version 10.3.2.440. The size of this update is 376 MBs and we will share changes and give more updates once we’ve downloaded and installed the latest update.
Update: A new BlackBerry 10 OS software update was received today (March 18, 2015) on my Q10 – the version is 10.3.1.1779 and the download’s size was about 70 MBs. While I am assuming it irons out any bugs in the previous major update, there are no obvious changes with this one.
Hi again! It’s an exciting time right now for BlackBerry owners since the new 10.3.1 update is rolling out for all BlackBerry 10 devices. I got mine yesterday on the Q10, and have been posting updates, screenshots and reviewing the new features. You can start from the top, or go to the bottom of the post to read from the start. If you have updated your BB, or are waiting for the official update, comment below and let us know what you think about the new features.
BlackBerry Blend (Airdroid for BlackBerry)
I was saving the best for last – BlackBerry Blend. If you’ve used Airdroid for Android, you’re going to love BlackBerry Blend, which offers a similar experience for your BB. You simply need to install the BlackBerry Blend application for your computer (download it here), run it, sign in with your BlackBerry ID and pair your device. Once this is done, you can access all your messages, e-mails, events, contacts and files via your PC.
Blend is also available for Android tablets, and allows you to control your BB device from multiple devices. You can download the Android Blend app below.
BlackBerry Assistant, New Camera & Wallpapers
Okay, now I’m back having tried other features like the BlackBerry Assistant, which is like iPhone’s Siri, and allows you to both type and speak out commands. You can find locations, search the phone or the web and even start conversations using it. I tested it by sending a text message and it worked perfectly fine – the speech recognition was accurate and it was smarter than your typical voice command software.
The camera software has also been updated in 10.3.1, and now has dedicated capture buttons (as opposed to tapping the screen for snapping pics). There are new settings available as well, including an HDR mode, selfie timer and the option to keep work and personal photos separate. The new update also features new wallpapers, which can be accessed when you choose to change your wallpaper from the display settings.
The HDR mode works well, I actually tried taking a couple pics and the HDR shots have much better lighting and contrasts for more detail. Check one of the shots below.
There are numerous other smaller tweaks too, like the ability to pull down the quick settings menu from within any app by using two fingers instead of one (but you still have to begin your swipe-down from the top edge of the screen). Similarly, the keyboard shortcuts are quite handy, for instance, you can press and hold the ‘k’ key to instantly lock your device or press the ‘u’ key followed by ‘enter’ to unlock it.
New Settings/Lock Screen/Advanced Interactions
Once we look beyond the visual changes, there are several small new features in this update. For instance, you now have more control over your lock screen and can set the display to turn on every time a new notification comes in. Similarly, you can also use keyboard shortcuts, like pressing and holding the ‘b’ key to launch the browser or the ‘c’ key to compose a new message – the latter actually opens up a new prompt, allowing you to pick from BBM, Text Messages, WhatsApp and any other service you may be using on your BlackBerry.
There are new settings for the display as well, including the option to change the color of the virtual keyboard from black to white (for the Z10 for instance). The Battery Saving Mode also gives you more control over what you wish to turn off when the mode is activated to save more juice.
Another new feature I am loving is the ability to set advanced interactions, like lifting your device to wake it up. You can also choose flip to mute, flip to save power or prevent your device from falling asleep as long as you are holding it. I’ve tried life to wake mainly, and it works perfectly if your phone is lying on a stationery surface and you pick it up.
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OMG – The new update is something! My Q10 just rebooted and everything looks so much neater and cleaner. The interface has visibly been streamlined and given a new look – it is sleek to say the least. The phone is a little sluggish, but that is natural since the OS is settling in after the first reboot.
The lockscreen has changed, and so has the input password dialog box. On the face of it, there are several visual changes, such as the blank homescreen – while I tried, there is no way to create any shortcuts, but its good to be able to see an uncluttered homescreen with full view of your wallpaper. When I opened any apps though, the home screen fills up with multi-tasking tiles as usual.
The dialer, the contacts app, the file manager, everything looks sleek and the new visual changes are uniform. They are however, most evident in the hub, which is now much more manageable and appealing. The browser also appears to have undergone changes and the new camera app seems faster at snapping pictures.
I will keep updating this as I dig deeper, for now, enjoy the screenshots.
Downloading & Installing BB 10.3.1 Update
After the 1 GB 10.3.1 update was downloaded, it took about an hour for it to install – during which I could use my BlackBerry Q10 but it was understandably sluggish at times. Once the installation was complete, I was prompted to restart my phone, with a warning that rebooting might take longer than usual. The phone is currently rebooting (been about 10 minutes and it’s close to being done – you can see a progress indicator).
BB 10.3.1 Official Update Notification
Hey guys, I am sure, like me all BlackBerry owners have been waiting for the latest 10.3.1 update. While the 10.3 version of BlackBerry OS came pre-installed on the latest BlackBerry Passport and Classic handsets, the 10.3.1 update is newer. Much to my surprise, I just received an update notification via the Hub (Screenshot below) and the update (1 GB in size) is being downloaded at the moment on my Q10.
Once the update is downloaded and installed, I will be checking out all the new features and reviewing them here for all of you. Meanwhile, the official 10.3.1 update is being rolled out on the following devices:
- BlackBerry Q5
- BlackBerry Q10
- BlackBerry Z10
- BlackBerry Z30
- BlackBerry Z3
- BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9983
- BlackBerry Passport
Some of the new features expected with this update are BlackBerry Blend, BlackBerry Assistant, an improved BlackBerry Hub, a new Calender, improved Camera software and better Power Saving Profiles.
All of these are expected to make your BB 10 experience even better, and I personally can’t wait to try them out. I will be adding more to this post as I run through all the changes! Please share your own experience, questions or queries by commenting below.
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