BlackBerry updates BlackBerry 10 OS even before it hits US market

Canadian firm expects new third-party BlackBerry 10 apps this month

BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) has fixed some software glitches in its new BlackBerry 10 operating system even before the BlackBerry 10 devices hit the United States.

With the update, BlackBerry has improved the performance of third-party apps so that "developers can build apps that run fast and smooth," BlackBerry said in a blog. The firm said that it anticipates the launch of a number of new apps this month, including the WhatsApp Messenger app.

In addition, BlackBerry fixed a number of problems with Gmail on the new OS and improved the BlackBerry Hub for logging calls, as well as the way contacts are imported from online sources.

As a result of the update, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Calendars behave "more consistently and support multiple calendars," explained a report by InformationWeek.

The Canadian firm optimized the camera to improve picture taking in low light, and made adjustments to the software that handles browser video playback.

The firm's software team has made over 60 improvements designed to reduce battery usage, in order to extend battery life. The BlackBerry Z10 has trouble making it through an entire day on a charge, said the report.

"In all, the changes address some of the initial complaints made by owners of the Z10 and lay the foundation for more improvements down the road," the InformationWeek article noted.

BlackBerry is betting that its new OS and handsets will help it regain its position in the enterprise and help it make a dent in the U.S. consumer marketplace, where it holds less than a 5 percent market share.

The all-touchscreen Z10 is set for launch in the U.S. market later this month, while the keyboard-based Q10 will be arriving in May or June.

In the markets where the Z10 has been available, it has proven popular with non-BlackBerry users, according to Rick Costanzo, BlackBerry's executive vice president of global sales. He told our sister publication, FierceWireless, that one-third of BlackBerry 10 device sales are coming from users who are switching from other platforms.

Whether that momentum can be sustained in the U.S. market, where Android and Apple dominate, remains to be seen.

For more:
- check out BlackBerry's blog
- read the InformationWeek report

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