BlackBerry 10.1 comes preloaded on Q10 smartphones, but Z10 users do not have to miss out on all the improvements "designed to keep you moving." BlackBerry made the announcement during the opening of its BlackBerry Live in Orlando, FL: the upgrade is available as a free download. What’s new? Here’s a quick rundown:
With the update, users can view emails that are attached to another email, get contact suggestions when addressing a message, and send PIN to PIN messages for direct communication between BlackBerry smartphones.
BlackBerry 10.1 also allows users to set up personalized notifications for contacts and accounts, which means customized ringtones, vibrations and the LED light for calls or message, all that fun stuff. Different notifications can be set for different accounts (such as email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
In addition, users can click on a phone number in an email or BBM message or copy and paste onto the phone app's dialer screen. BBM, by the way, is scheduled to become available for iOS and Android users this summer (subject to approval by Google Play and Apple App Store.) Thorsten Heins, CEO, called the big move a "statement of confidence" for the company. Certainly it is a way for BlackBerry to increase its amount of instant messaging users - currently at 60 million.
Other new features include better cursor control, landscape support for the calendar, easier international dialing and improved picture capturing. A High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode takes multiple pictures at different exposure levels and layers them to produce a single photo that combines the best of the dark and light areas.
Z10 users who upgrade will also notice something new: Skype. “We are excited that a preview version of Skype on the BlackBerry Z10 is now available for download for users in the first markets the BlackBerry 10 devices are available,” the company said is a press release. “As soon as the 10.1 operating system update for the Z10 rolls out in the U.S. over the next weeks, Skype will also be available to BlackBerry 10 users.”
BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10)
According to the company, 12,000 BES 10 servers have been installed by customers around the world. The multi-platform Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution provides device and app management for BYOD and corporate-owned BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.
The 10.1 version, available as a free download, adds new "regulated-level" IT policy controls and settings, designed for government agencies and customers in industries that require advanced levels of security and control. It also allows customers to support BB10 and BB OS smartphones from a single server.
New dashboard capabilities provide "at-a- glance" graphical views of stats associated with the client's fleet of devices. Device deployment summary can be viewed by platform and carrier, device compliance state, and application deployments, among other criteria.
All components of BES 10 can now be deployed in a highly available active/passive configuration. Support is also now included as standard, providing 12x5 telephone access to BlackBerry experts, online support, access to training, productivity and diagnostic tools. Extended technical support offerings are available.
Existing BES 5 customers can exchange their client access licenses for free through 2013.
Work Space Secure
"BlackBerry remains the only mobile solution that has a significant focus on security and business," said Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst, Enderle Group. "This allows BlackBerry to stand out positively in a market dominated by consumer focused solutions and appeal to those that rank work and productivity as more important. They also provide the fastest solution which has proven critical to those where seconds mean dollars or lives."
In an email to Mobile Enterprise, Enderle noted that many of the improvements announced today "appear to be more about platform breadth and connectivity than security."
However, Heins did provide details about the new BlackBerry Secure Work Space, to be available at the end June 2013. The additional update of BES 10 is intended to extend security capabilities for data-at-rest and data-in-transit and provide separation between work and personal data and applications for iOS and Android devices.
Subject to approval by the Apple App Store and Google Play, the new solution features client apps that secure email, calendar, contacts, tasks, memos, browsing and document editing for the device provisioned with BES 10. It also introduces BlackBerry's single outbound port solution, aimed at simplifying firewall configuration and giving customers a VPN-less infrastructure to manage all of their mobile devices.
Additionally, customers would be able to "app wrap" to secure applications to run within Secure Work Space through simple interfaces made available with the product. The solution is currently in closed beta with BlackBerry customers and partners worldwide.
For companies that don't require behind the firewall app and browsing access, application management, or advanced security and controls, BB 10 smartphones support ActiveSync to synchronize with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Notes Traveler, Novell GroupWise, Hotmail, Microsoft Office365 and Google Apps.