By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Waterloo, Ontario — BlackBerry released a BlackBerry 10 OS software update said to offer hundreds of improvements, many designed to help users find information they want more quickly.
The BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 also includes what the company called “a simplified phone experience” through a new incoming call screen that lets users swipe to the left to answer or swipe right to ignore a call. The call screen also features new icons to instantly silence an incoming call or send a reply through BBM, SMS or email that the user can't answer right away. Users choose from a list of responses or respond with a personalized note.
An improvement to the BlackBerry Hub, which puts all messages and notifications in one place, lets users instantly filter their message list to show only unread messages, flagged messages, draft messages, meeting invites, sent messages or Level 1 Alerts. Once the filter criterion is set, users activate it with a pinch gesture
The new OS also lets users create SMS and email groups, open messages on the lock screen, and customize what appears on the settings menu. With a customized settings menu, for example, users can quickly change display brightness, toggle between network connections, and instantly switch between personal and work profiles.
With the updated OS, users can also save a web page for later online or offline viewing, and when adding a new contact, users can designate which sources to sync the contact with, including a corporate address book, Gmail and the like.
BlackBerry 10.2.1 also features a picture password for quick phone unlocking. A picture appears along with a grid of random numbers, and users drag the grid so their selected number overlays the particular point on the image.
In other changes:
--OS updates can be set to occur automatically over a Wi-Fi connection;
--enterprise customers get additional security features and IT policies for regulated industries and for organizations that work with sensitive data; and
-- the FM radio built into the BlackBerry Z30, Q10 and Q5 smartphones is unlocked for use.
Subject to carrier approvals, BlackBerry 10.2.1 will be available to users around the world starting today.
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