BB OS 10.2.1 update lands, brings with it tons of new features, FM radio and direct installation of Android APKs

“The BB OS 10.2.1 update is much more than just a tiny version change”

BlackBerry has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Meanwhile, the iconic smartphone maker’s been working hard to take its mobile platform to the next level. Version 10.2 of the BlackBerry 10 OS brought with it a fair share of changes when it landed a few months ago, but version 10.2.1 is fresh out of the factory and rolling out right now across the entire lineup of devices running BB10, including the Z10, Q10, Q5, Z30 and even the Porsche Design P’9982.

BlackBerry 10.2.1 image

It may just look like a tiny change considering the version number, but the fact is, it brings a ton of enhancements, both to the UI as well as behind-the-scenes changes that will have far-reaching impact on the way you use your BlackBerry device. Let’s take a gander at some of the key changes included in the refreshed OS: Call screen
  • The call screen gets a refreshed look, with new swipe left to accept and swipe right to reject actions. Additionally, it detects if the caller is also a contact in your BBM list, and displays a BBM icon to let you reject the call with a BBM message.
Lockscreen
  • Lockscreen previews let you jump to the corresponding account when you tap on a notification.
  • A new picture password option enhances security using the combination of an image and a single-digit number of your choice.  You can drag around a number grid on the lockscreen image, and the device unlocks when you match the specified number to a specific point on the image. This makes your password tough to guess in case someone is peering over your shoulder.
Keyboard
  • The virtual keyboards on the Z10 and the Z30 now support Hinglish for text predictions.
  • Native Hindi keyboard now available.
BlackBerry Hub
  • You can rearrange the order of displayed accounts.
  • You can choose to delete an email from the device or both from the device as well as the server.
  • While viewing emails, new overlays that appear atop the screen let you navigate to previous or next messages in your list.
  • A new pinch action that lets you jump straight to the Priority Inbox. You can customise this to other actions such as jumping to unread messages too.
  • Specify custom filters for the Priority Inbox.
General
  • Enhancements for making copy paste actions simpler for text.
  • A new battery percentage indicator that appears permanently on the lockscreen and while performing the Peek action.
  • An updated Device Monitor in Settings that gives detailed info on battery consumption, along with a list of apps and features that are using the battery.
  • A customisable Quick Settings feature that lets you specify the toggles and their sequence on the drop-down settings pane.
Contacts
  • Create contact groups for broadcasting emails and SMS messages.
  • You can now choose the sync source for your contacts. While saving a new contact, you can also specify which sources / accounts you want to sync with.
Calendar
  • You can now email meeting participants directly from within Calendar, intimating them in case you expect to get delayed. A new slider lets you specify the delay time conveniently.
  • You can also schedule a follow-up from within the Calendar.
The above is by no means a comprehensive list, but covers the critical ones. Apart from the UI changes and new features mentioned above though, we’re highly interested in the ones that have been baked inside the OS. For one, the BB 10.2.1 update unlocks the built-in FM Radio for the BlackBerry Z30, the Q10 and the Q5. Additionally, Android APKs can now be installed directly, without the need to covert them into signed BAR files and then sideloading them onto the device. This should potentially take care of some of our gripes as far as the BlackBerry app ecosystem is concerned, and we can’t wait to try it out.

BB10-FM-radio

 The BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 update is rolling out as we write this, so be sure to check your device and download it right away. Do note that the download size varies depending upon the device model, and stay tuned for our in-depth review of the refreshed platform!