BlackBerry has been fighting rough weathers and have bet heavily on BlackBerry 10 that they believe will rescue them. Unfortunately, BlackBerry 10 has been unable to ruffle any feathers since its launch in January 2013 and the consumer base is steadily declining. A lot of reviews for BlackBerry 10 identified it as a refreshing experience but found it incomplete at launch and gave it the thumbs down. BlackBerry has since then been adding a slew of features rapidly and have already provided 3 major OS updates (10.1, 10.1 MR and 10.2). Many of the shortcomings such as Miracast, HDR Camera mode, numerical password, actionable toast notifications and many features that make the OS more usable for the consumer and were missing at launch. The older BlackBerry users have however still expressed disappointment on a few of the features present on their legacy BBOS still not being made available on their modern BB10 platform.
BlackBerry is now stepping up the game with many sweet updates along with their next OS update on 10.2.1. A new OS leak 10.2.1.1055 has been leaked recently which has uncovered the lid over the jar of features that will hit a BB10 device near you very soon.
Customizable Quick Settings
A lot of people have time and again asked BlackBerry to provide more options in the limited quick settings menu that dropped when swiping down from the top bezel on the home screen. It looks like BlackBerry was in the mood to listen and made it even better by providing a customisable quick settings menu that is seen in many of the Custom Android ROMs and was also seen in the one of the concepts that came across the internet earlier this year. The flashlight in the quick settings may seem inspired by Apple, but then it never hurts to include any good features from the competition, especially when there is no patent protecting it.
Battery Percentage Indicator
Another major feedback received over the Blackberry beta zone has been that of including a battery percentage indicator on the home screen. BlackBerry has found an interesting way of implementing the battery percentage display. The same can now be seen if you swipe up from the bottom bezel and the battery icon transforms into the battery percentage. We will have to wait and watch if BlackBerry decides to implement this “as is” whenever the official 10.2.1 releases. The battery percentage is also provided as an option in the Quick Settings menu that has been discussed before.
Delete on Handheld
One of the important features that users have missed since shifting from the legacy devices to the BB10 devices is that deleting an email from the mobile device meant that the email would also be deleted from the server. This was unlike the legacy OS where users could choose to delete an email on the Handheld only or from both. This feature makes a return with 10.2.1.
New Caller Screen
This one I feel is going to be a controversial introduction by BlackBerry since many BB10 users have loved the existing Caller Screen where one could swipe down from the middle to accept and swipe up to reject a call. BlackBerry is now changing the Caller screen to swiping right or left to accept and reject calls respectively. In my opinion this is a more ergonomic design since the finger displacement required for this gesture is less and more convenient than having to stretch your finger all the way to the top of the screen to reject a call.
Customisable Notifications for Individual Contacts
One of the most liked features in BBOS 7 was the fact that you could set custom ringtones and LEDs for calls, BBMs and text messages for any individual contact. This functionality was limited until now by allowing BB10 users to only set custom ringtones for phone calls and other notifications could be set to On or Off. The complete functionality seems to have been restored in 10.2.1 where a new settings screen can be accessed for each of the contact to set custom notifications for each of them. You can now be able to set notifications to play a sound for a few of your priority contacts even if your phone would be set to the silent mode.
Keypress Speed Dial on the Qs
While this was committed by certain BlackBerry employees on the BlackBerry 10.2 that failed to make its way then, it is certainly a welcome addition considering that the 10.2.1 will be released within no time after 10.2 and is being billed by BlackBerry as a follow up release to 10.2
The pinch gesture was teased earlier in early builds of BlackBerry 10.2 and then was decided to be removed from the release builds. They have now figured out a better way to implement it and now makes its return with 10.2.1. The gesture within the hub can be set to quickly view your important conversations. The pinch gesture can be used to set to your most common filter applied in the HUB such as the Priority Messages, Unread Messages or Flagged Messages. It is a nifty way of getting through to your important conversation by just a small pinch of your fingers and extends the pinch gesture to an additional functionality over that of just images.
BlackBerry has come out with an interesting concept of unlocking the lock screen through a password. This is achieved by a combination of picture and an overlay of numbers. You can choose from range of pictures preloaded or select from your added pictures that will then be overlaid with and array of numbers. You are required to move the numbers to your choice of position on the picture and remember this setting to unlock from your lock screen.
APK On-Device Loader
The ability to convert an Android APK file to a BAR file and sideload it using a computer has been one of the most important features that has allowed many BlackBerry users to gain access to certain Android ported Apps such as Instagram or Google Maps that are not available in the BlackBerry World. Many services such as APK2BAR and SideSwype came up in order to take advantage of this feature and make the process easier for the BlackBerry 10 users to gain access to such apps.
With 10.2.1, BlackBerry introduces a feature that is bound to provide BlackBerry users access to more apps directly through their devices – a native APK installer. This allows you to load any Android APK file that is stored on your device without the need to converting it to a BAR file or using a computer to sideload the app on your device.The native application does all the conversion and install the bar file on the phone. While this approach by BlackBerry does tend to border on promoting Android App piracy, it is certainly not new as Google themselves have approved such APK installers on their Google Play Store and it is surely one of the most amazing news BlackBerry users have received since switching to BlackBerry 10. This and the OS has an unlocked Android runtime will allow you to install almost any APK unless it is a core Google Play Service such the Play Store.
There are many more sweet features such as adjusting the Screen White Balance, Groups within contacts, improved HUB management, the phone Vibrate on Ping to name a few. While these features do not bring any features that may not be present on other OS such as iOS or Android, it will surely be important in BlackBerry being able to convince their legacy users to switch the BB10 and gain some momentum in taking the platform in the right direction.
If any of these features are enough to dare you to make the switch to a leaked build without waiting for an official release, download the leaked OS from the following links. The ones playing safe can wait until the Official update is released soon.
Q10 and Q5 (All Variants): https://mega.co.nz/#!tMRCXaxL!NXWjoj6ZTt02beum3sSPWlRXHrZ7m_w_cbDZPbgc68M
Z10 (STL 100-2/3/4): https://mega.co.nz/#!j1AX1JpL!SsRF9W0XEY7eKx-lO67NWiEWCE88EEFtkdRN5HbDHJY
Z30 (All Variants): http://l.bitcasa.com/N0gG0cO_
The leaks for other models will be released soon and the links shall be updated.
Please note that we do not accept any responsibility for anything this does to your device. This is a leaked OS (not obtained through official channels) and may behave errantly and make sure you are experienced enough to handle an erring OS. Please do not attempt to load this unless you are comfortable with what you are doing. You will need a Windows machine to use the loader, but if you do load it drop us a comment letting us know how it runs.
Source: CrackBerry.com forums
Thanks: All the forum members on CrackBerry who dared to test the OS and post the findings along with the screenshots.