Blackberry is still at it. Despite plummeting stock price and massive slashes to their labor force, Blackberry is still pushing forward with a big BB10 update.
It’s been a tough year for Blackberry. Despite the hyped launch of Blackberry 10 and its flagship Z10 device on January 30th 2013, Blackberry spent most of the remainder of 2013 issuing large layoffs and surviving rumors of bankruptcy. Blackberry stock has seen a slight uptick for 2014, but the former smartphone juggernaut is still only a shadow of its former self.
Despite generally positive reviews, BB10 never caught on with consumers and many organizations are sun-setting their Blackberry services in favor of other platforms. The software itself was fine, and actually appreciated for its gesture based innovation and unique design, but the mobile OS didn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to app support when compared to iPhone, Android, or even Windows Phone.
Well, all that has changed with version 10.2.1. Many of the changes are very iterative, such as the addition of actionable notifications on the lock screen and changes to the Blackberry hub to allow the sorting of messages as well as provide support for group email and SMS, but the real gem of this update is nearly full, seamless, support for Android app installation.
Android apps were previously available for Blackberry 10, but it was not a simple process and not all apps were supported. The Verge is reporting that after the update to 10.2.1, they are able install Instagram—an app that traditionally doesn’t function properly for Blackberry—and the only apps they have any noticeable issues with were Google developed apps (likely due to the baked in Google play services functionality for Android).
This is a major step forward for Blackberry and may put them back in the game. There is very little chance they will ever return to their former glory with Apple having stolen and secured that top spot, but this provides them a strong foothold to stop the sliding and maybe even begin regaining prominence in the market.
They aren’t out of the woods yet, though. 2014 may very well be a make or break year for the shrunken titan, but Blackberry is back on its feet for the time being, so hopefully we will see some good things from them this year.
Source: The Verge