Blackberry has started rolling out OS 10.2 to BB10 devices such as Z10, Q10 and Q5. Update appears to be available in Canada and UK for a start. The OS update is quite a major one. The android runtime has been updated to 4.2 Jelly Bean from the previous Gingerbread based version and its performance has improved significantly. I noticed that android-ported applications like Skype that lagged before are much smoother now. A priority hub, where it shows messages of high priority, has been introduced. These are selected intelligently, or through user controlled rules such as priority contacts. Lock screen notifications are more detailed now and you can see previews of messages. Toast notifications (called instant previews) with inline reply capability have been introduced. I noticed some issues with BBM previews, but email and SMS previews working fine. Wifi direct support has been introduced for the BB10 models, while the Z30 gets two additional connectivity features: USB host support and miracast support. A new device manager utility allows you to monitor CPU and RAM usage of various apps. Keyboard has been enhanced with more fine-grained audio feedback and smoother copy/paste.

Here are some web browsing benchmarks.

Google Octane Benchmark v1

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark - 1.1

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 1.0 - Stock Browser

Browsermark 2.0

OS 10.2 browser improves Javascript performance significantly but browsermark, which tests a wider range of characteristics shows smaller improvement. Performance is largely competitive with older Android phones running on internals similar to the Z10 but it is considerably behind recent Android and iOS phones which use much faster internals.  IE10 on the Lumia 1020, which has the same SoC as the Z10, appears to optimize for Sunspider but is behind BB10 in other benchmarks. I am interested in seeing how the Z30 performs given the faster internals. Feature compatibility-wise,  WebGL has been supported on BB10 since 10.0. Flash is also available. HTML5 test revealed a score of 485 points + 11 bonus points which is also excellent. 

In terms of the OS, it is nice to see Blackberry making progress on both OS features and web browsing performance. An OS update obviously cannot do anything about the relatively weak app ecosystem or the unspectacular hardware, but the OS itself is maturing quite nicely.


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  • madmilk - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    It's not specific to Apple. When it just came out, my Nexus 4 scored 1200 on Octane using Chrome 18 on Android 4.2. It now scores 2400 on Android 4.3 and Chrome 30. Javascript benchmarks are useless unless the exact same OS and Javascript engine (including engine version as well as CPU architecture/version) are being used.
  • Walterb - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Some of your comments are good, some, not so much.
    QUESTION; why would anyone load an Android port of Skype when its available as a native app which runs fantastic!
    WEB SPEED; you are throwing numbers showing the Apple browser as "much faster", actually considerably faster a reader would think? All anyone has to do is jump on YouTube and see side-by-side comparison of the web browser "user" experience and they clearly don't support your numbers! I urge anyone to simply watch these videos and watch read this article again, you will scratch your head in confusion! Second point, many web pages do not work on the iPhone because of NO Flash support. Don't you think that is an important "user" experience point to raise????
    COMMENT; I can't understand why an author such as yourself would slant such information. Users look to these type articles for truthful guidance, not slanted information such as this? Lets call a spade a spade, you are pro iPhone, I hope most people get that?
  • codedivine - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Skype is not yet a native app, it runs on the Android runtime in BB10.
  • xdrol - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Then what is this:
  • codedivine - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Well, Skype for BB10 is made available in the store but it is essentially a repackaged Android app running on the Android runtime inside BB10. Just because something is available in Blackberry World doesn't mean it is a native app. Android runtime is not for sideloads only. For example, Kindle is also available in the BB World and it is again an Android port. Native apps are apps that are written using BB10 APIs using say Cascades, and Skype (and Kindle and many others) are not.
  • Walterb - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Your right, it is repackaged android port. It runs smooth, what can I say. The user experience using Skype is great and that's what matters.
  • fronkhead - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    Aye -- it's even better now after Microsoft submitted the JellyBean version of Skype to the store yesterday. I'd still prefer a native app mind (as Skype does not use Enter to send messages, which feels at odds with all the native apps, and there are no cascades to go back with), but apparently that is on the way given the Skype app's "preview" tag, even after this latest update.
  • hrrmph - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    I've got a Z10 that I use as my daily driver, with a Note 2 kept nearby, and an S-ATIV just to play with as an alternative.

    BB OS10 is a very nice OS in search of a device with better hardware specs, especially a device with a better camera.

    Even so, on the Z10 they largely got it right. It has a very logical, easy to use OS, and they included a Micro-SDXC storage slot and a removable battery - things that most other manufacturers maddeningly refuse to accept is required kit for a flagship phone.

    The audio is very good and is profiled just right for commuting as it cuts through road noise and rumble very well without overdoing it.

    The baked-in software applet called the Hub is one swipe away and is absolute genius for consolidating all communications in one place. And I mean ALL communications - it leaves nothing out - notifications, emails, SMS, etc.

    On the list of things that I find welcoming in OS 10.2 are multiple alarms. I have an older feature phone that I am currently using for just this purpose and will continue to do so, but it's nice that the Z10 can do this for me now while I'm on the road.

    The Z10's world clock was already awesome. The best I've ever seen. I literally have family, friends, and business contacts across the world on 4 continents and a few islands, so it's worth mentioning that this feature beats my Samsung phones (Android and WinPhone8) very easily. I've got a dozen time zones entered (I think you can enter even more), and it shows up as a very handy, space efficient, easy to read list.

    Aside from the crummy camera, the biggest thing missing is exFAT support. It is uncertain at the moment whether 10.2 will fix this. Hopefully this update will do the trick.

    To describe the problem as it is in 10.1 and previous versions: You can use a 64GB card no problem (I do). But, you must format it as FAT32 for it to be recognized. You cannot format it exFAT. Thus you cannot use files larger than 4GB. And you cannot swap the card from the Z10 to another device, such as to a Sammy Note 2 or S-ATIV.

    As I said, hopefully Blackberry nailed it on this one. If so, it would bring them a little bit more credibility. But overall, they really need to get the OS on a true flagship quality device. The Z10 is oh-so-close, but they really need to up their game on the camera and the internal specs.
  • Walterb - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    They just stepped up the game with the Z30 - more power, more capabilities, great sound and BB 10.2
    The only thing I hate about it is that I don't have one, yet!
  • hrrmph - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    My BB 10.2 upgrade went without a problem. Still no exFAT support for the Micro-SD card.

    The baked-in WiFi connection to PC function is nice and works well with Windows Explorer. I'm not sure if that is new or just something that I never turned on before - probably the latter. It is username and password protected (you log in on the Windows side), which is also a good feature, and you can check a box for Windows to just remember those credentials.

    It's also notable that just like Android, the BB OS10 can natively play FLAC lossless audio files. That is one area where BB OS10 beats WinPhone8. There isn't any 3rd party FLAC codec available for WinPhone 8 either.

    It's also notable that just like Android, the BB OS10 can natively play WMA-LossLess audio files. That is one area where BB OS10 beats iOS.

    The Micro-SD slot on the Z10 is completely hot-swappable.

    I've rarely if ever had a crash on a BB OS10 or Android device. I can't remember ever having one, but I'm sure I must have at some point.

    The ATIV-S WinPhone 8 crashed multiple times in one day alone. All crashes were in relation to swapping the Micro-SD chip in and out of the phone. I still like it, but it's the same old 3/4 baked Windows that we all know from way back when.

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