Feature Article

January 29, 2014

BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 Focuses on UI Refinements

New BlackBerry CEO John Chen may have made it clear that the struggling company is in for some changes, but that doesn’t mean he has decided to throw everything out the window. Sure, he’s made a few executive-level hires lately, such as bringing on Eric Johnson as BlackBerry’s new president of Global Sales, and Alicia Keys will be stepping down from her role as the company’s global creative director before the end of the week, but there’s one aspect of BlackBerry that hasn’t changed: the devices.

Indeed, Chen has stated that BlackBerry is still in the smartphone business, at least for now, and this has been underscored by a new software update to BlackBerry 10. Version 10.2.1 of BlackBerry’s new OS is advertised as helping users “be more productive and stay better connected” and the release’s changelog seems to reflect this.

For example, the BlackBerry Hub, which lets users access all their messages and notifications in one place, now features a customize pinch gesture to create filters. These filters include Unread Messages, Flagged Messages, Draft Messages, Meeting Invites, Sent Messages and Level 1 Alerts.

Meanwhile, the entire BB10 experience has been simplified with features like a new incoming call screen that lets users swipe left to answer or swipe right to ignore a call. The new BlackBerry experience also features new icons that allow users to instantly silence a call, or send a Reply Now response through BBM, SMS or email.

The lockscreen has also received greater functionality, namely the ability to “tap to open” any message that appears there. This emphasis on expediency is also present in 10.2.1’s updated settings menu, which now offers quick access to brightness and network settings. It even includes a built-in flashlight toggle, allowing users to skip potentially problematic third-party apps.

Other new tweaks and features introduced in this update include offline browsing, preferred contact sync, a new device and battery monitor, automatic software updating, and built-in FM radio.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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