Along with the announcement of the new BlackBerry Q5 smartphone, BlackBerry today announced some more big news for its other two BlackBerry 10-powered smartphones. Owners of the full-touch BlackBerry Z10 will be glad to learn that BlackBerry will begin updating their device to BlackBerry 10.1 starting today, with the company's carrier partners expected to begin pushing the new software over the coming weeks. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins says that the BlackBerry 10.1 update will start hitting U.S. carriers later in May.
When it comes to the update itself, BlackBerry Z10 owners have quite a few new features to look forward to. The BlackBerry Hub in BB10.1 features PIN to PIN messaging and improved attachment support, while the Camera app gains an HDR shooting mode. BlackBerry 10.1 also allows users to personalize their notifications by changing the ringtones, vibration and LED light by contact or by account. Below is a lengthier list of what Z10 owners can expect from the BlackBerry 10.1 update, courtesy of BlackBerry:
- BlackBerry Hub: The BlackBerry Hub lets you access all your messages and notifications in one place. With BlackBerry 10.1 support for PIN to PIN messages for direct communication between BlackBerry smartphones has been added to the BlackBerry Hub. Plus, improved attachment support in the BlackBerry Hub makes it easier to view emails which have been sent as attachments to other messages.
- Notifications: With BlackBerry 10.1 you can personalize the notifications for your accounts and contacts so you always know what is happening around you. Customize ringtones, vibration and the LED light by contact or by account for more personalized notifications.
- Fine Cursor Control: BlackBerry 10.1 makes it easier and more accurate to pinpoint exactly where you want to type. Tap once to bring up the cursor. Grab the blue circle and drag it around to place it exactly where you need it. Tap either side of the circle to move left or right by just one character. It’s easy to move around with speed and precision.
- Camera: BlackBerry 10 lets you create the perfect shot by moving parts of your picture backwards and forwards in time with Time Shift mode. BlackBerry 10.1 adds an HDR shooting mode for beautiful images in tricky lighting conditions. A standard image takes a picture at one exposure level. Where you have high contrast between light and dark areas of the photo, fine details can be lost. High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode takes multiple pictures at different exposure levels and layers them automatically to produce a single photo that combines the best of the dark and light areas.
- Lots more to discover: You’ll find lots of new improvements across the BlackBerry 10 OS like landscape support for the calendar, easier international dialing, improved red eye reduction in the picture editor and much more. The first step to discovering these new features is to update your BlackBerry 10 software.
That's a pretty hefty update, no? It's no surprise to see BlackBerry updating its Z10 to BlackBerry 10.1, but it is good to see the company making an effort to get the new software out to its early Z10 adopters quickly. The update will need to get the A-OK from U.S. carriers before it'll begin rolling out stateside, so we'll just have to wait for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to announce their own Z10 update plans. Once that happens, you can bet that we'll give you a shout.
In other BlackBerry 10.1 news, several U.S. carriers have shed just a bit more light on their launch plans for the BB10.1-powered BlackBerry Q10. Here's what we know so far:
- T-Mobile: Available today to business customers for $119.99 with a qualifying plan. Regular customers will be able to buy the Q10 in June for a down payment of $99.99 with 24 monthly payments of $20 each.
- Verizon Wireless: Pre-orders set to kick off "in the coming weeks," launch set for June.
- Sprint: Launch set for "late summer."
While that's certainly more information that we had on the Q10's U.S. launch before today, those release windows are still somewhat vague. The good news is that we're already halfway through May, so we should be hearing more from T-Mobile and Verizon on their Q10 release plans soon. Stay tuned.
Via Inside BlackBerry, TmoNews, Verizon, Sprint