BlackBerry Z10 BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry is issuing the first software update to its BlackBerry 10 operating system this morning to address usability issues concerning apps, camera, calendar, contacts, browser and, perhaps most importantly, battery life.

Apps Optimization & Camera Upgrade

The biggest complaints that initial users of the BlackBerry Z10 have voiced have revolved around app performance. Many apps (especially those ported from Android) are buggy on BlackBerry 10 and tend to lag and crash with moderate use. BlackBerry is addressing this problem in the update, saying it has “improved performance for 3rd party applications.” BlackBerry was not specific on exactly how 3rd party apps will be optimized going forward.

BlackBerry also told users to keep an eye out for big new app launches coming in March, such as messaging platform WhatsApp. The company will feature new apps going forward by highlighting new entries to BlackBerry World every week with an announcement on Wednesdays. The first “App Wednesday” this week featured apps like “Where’s My Water” from Disney and the Slacker Internet Radio app. 

Another issue that BlackBerry is addressing is the camera app, which was performing poorly in low-light scenarios. The camera on the Z10 is serviceable but not without flaws (not many smartphone manufacturers can claim a camera without flaws) and it is astute of BlackBerry to address many of these features before the Z10 launches in the United States.

Browser, Battery Improvements

The browser has been tweaked to improve how BlackBerry 10 handles video playback. BlackBerry has also issued improvements to the phone, calendar and contacts apps as well as features fixes for Gmail calendars and user interface improvements for call logging in BlackBerry Hub, the operating system's central messaging system. BlackBerry has also made it easier to import contacts from online sources, a glaring hole in the initial release. 

As far as battery life goes, most users have complained that their new Z10 handsets were only getting seven to nine hours of performance, or enough for a basic workday. That is basically in line with what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said about the BlackBerry Z10 battery at the keynote launch of the device, but the actual experience has been inadequate for many. BlackBerry says it has made 60 different battery-saving improvements to BlackBerry 10 and that heavy users should see longer average usage per charge cycle. 

The update will be delivered over-the-air and be about 150 MB in size. The timing of the update will vary by what carrier BlackBerry 10 owners use.

Have you received the BlackBerry 10 update? Does it address the issues you have had with the operating system to date? Let us know in the comments.