BlackBerry pushes first BB10 software update

VIVEK PRAKASH/REUTERS - A BlackBerry salesperson displays a BlackBerry Z10 during the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone in Mumbai February 25, 2013.

BlackBerry pushed its first software update to BlackBerry 10 users on Friday, with fixes meant to improve app performance and battery life.

The company said that the improvements were based off of feedback from early adopters and carriers and listed the five main changes included in the update on its blog: improvements to the camera for low-light settings; changes in how the system’s browser handles video; and adjustments to the phone, calendar and contacts apps, including a fix to make it easier to sync Gmail calendars to the phone.

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The blog post also said the company had made “a number of battery life optimizations” to enable users to go for longer periods of time between charging sessions.

BlackBerry 10 devices have yet to be released in the United States, but the company has reported strong initial sales overseas since its official launch in late January. Without providing specifics the company reported the “best day ever” for the launch of its BlackBerry Z10 smartphone and said its British debut had tripled any previous launch day figures for the region.

The new fixes should push to BlackBerry users automatically through an over-the-air update.

Getting BlackBerry 10 right is essential for the company future, as the once-dominant smartphone maker works to claw back market share, especially in North America. The company’s new hardware has gotten strong reviews, as has its operating system — in particular such features as the predictive typing software on new smartphones.

BlackBerry has focused on business-minded consumers who want devices they can take to work and use in their personal lives. There’s also some chatter that the company may take another stab at the tablet market, following the lackluster performance of its previous effort, the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the company is considering whether to revamp its efforts in the tablet space, though it would face many of the same fierce competitors it’s already up against in the smartphone market — namely Apple and Samsung.

That said, especially with the company's focus on business consumers, it makes sense for BlackBerry to at least consider another go at the growing market.

“We are definitely interested in the tablet market,” RIM’s mobile computing head, David Smith, told the Journal. “ It’s a challenging market, but I still think people want to see a range of different products.”

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