New developer tools mean that if an app runs on a Jelly Bean Android smartphone, it can work on a BlackBerry handset too.
The update to BlackBerry’s operating system (10.2), which is expected to roll out to handsets before the end of this year, doesn’t mean that once installed, users will be able to log on to Google’s Google Play app store and start downloading the latest titles, but it does mean that the thousands of developers who currently make apps optimized for the latest Android devices – such as the Samsung Galaxy SIV and HTC One, will be able to ‘port’ their latest creations directly over to the BlackBerry app store with little or no extra work.
BlackBerry is currently getting ready to push out its first BB10 operating system update (10.1) to the BlackBerry community which will bring High Dynamic Range (HDR) features to Z10 and Q10 handsets (HDR takes three photos at different exposures of the same subject and overlays them to ensure the resulting image is neither under- or overexposed) plus the ability to paste phone numbers into the contact book. Other notable additions include demos to help first-time users familiarize themselves with both their handsets and the OS -- BlackBerry is unique in that it is the only operating system that is 100% touch (Apple, Android and Windows Phones also have at least one home key for toggling between apps and returning to previous menus) with BlackBerry handsets featuring a specific set of swipes and other touches for accessing features, which some consumers and reviewers alike have found confusing when going from an iPhone or a Galaxy SIII to one of the latest BlackBerry offerings. The update will also bring the ability to fine-tune app settings so that notifications and alerts can be enabled or disabled.
However, this update is merely the first overhaul planned before the end of 2013. At the end of May, in an interview with BlackBerry blog Crackberry, the company’s product manager, Michael Clewley revealed that the operating system was set for a further update and that features, including support for emojis so that BlackBerry messages can be adorned with smiley faces; multiple alarms for different events and different days of the week; and further control over how notifications are handled would all be part of BBOS 10.2.