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BlackBerry NEEDS To Push Out BlackBerry 10 OS Updates Globally (Fragmentation)


BlackBerry has a huge problem on their hands when it comes to rolling out BlackBerry 10. The platform is less than 6 months old and it is already suffering fragmentation. BlackBerry still seems to be under the impression that carriers are their friends while BlackBerry’s true customers, the device owners, are getting shafted by the "friendly" carriers. Here are two examples:

  • Take our poor friends on Verizon or even AT&T with their Z10’s running a version of BlackBerry 10 that DOES NOT support many of the most requested apps like Skype.
  • Another large demographic of BlackBerry 10 owners purchased their BlackBerry 10 devices abroad and cannot get any OS updates on their devices. From what I hear those numbers are significant.

This sad state of affairs is in stark contrast to the PlayBook OS where BlackBerry managed to roll out OS updates to all devices at once. They even highlighted multiple times how a majority of PlayBook users are always running the latest OS. Now with BlackBerry 10 we have users suffering from frustrating bugs that were fixed on OS builds released months ago that are still not rolled out. The brave of heart have resorted to installing leaked BlackBerry 10 OS builds gratefully collected by the BlackBerry faithful trying to resolve a situation BlackBerry should never have allowed happen in the first place. In short BlackBerry is taking very little visible action to resolve this situation as their loyal (and not so loyal) customers have to resort to underground hacks to fix their products.

A few years back BlackBerry started blazing a trail into public beta programs with their BlackBerry Beta Zone. Sadly they have crippled it with oodles of red tape and convoluted workflow making me wonder if it was designed by the crack squad BlackBerry World team. Still they did start something back then by offering beta OS builds before carriers released them for a very very very small group of devices. I can probably count the number of times they did this on one hand and the OS builds were always extremely dated but it was a start. Sadly that whole effort seems to have sizzled and died.

That is why I am calling on BlackBerry to embrace instead of disenfranchising your true customers when it comes to the latest BlackBerry OS builds. Many of these hardcore users are anyways installing some of the latest OS beta builds on their devices and have great feedback to share. Instead of ignoring, fighting, or condemning the OS leaking community and users BlackBerry can actually offer a way for them to improve BlackBerry 10. This is not a novel concept anymore with Apple offering the same program to anyone with a developer account.

So if any of you reading this have friends at BlackBerry or work at BlackBerry make a point of telling them that this sad state of affairs should not be allowed to continue. BlackBerry users should be able to get the latest BlackBerry Beta OS (within reason) instead of being forced to languish on OS builds that are half a year old. BlackBerry has one of three choices to alleviate this problem:

  1. Push out OS updates to all devices on all carriers within a week or two
  2. Open up an open beta program where BlackBerrys ACTUAL customers (not carriers) can install the latest official beta build without waiting for their carrier (preferably OTA)
  3. Or simply continue to ignore their customers and allow carriers to cripple BlackBerry 10 devices with dated OS builds and OS fragmentation where users are forced to install leaked OS builds.

Hopefully they choose the first or even the second but the third is just shameful disregard and gross negligence on their part.

What do you think?

29 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Agree!!!

  2. Ridiculous as is!!!! 10.2 is out there and 10 is still on verizon
    All we can do is just read about new nice features and wet our mouth when new apps coming out… shame…

  3. I’m wondering if this has something to do with the radio file.
    Some updates may require an updated radio and carriers may object to BlackBerry releasing that on their own?

    • Blackberry started all of this by saying how BlackBerry 10 will allow them to update the OS without touching the certified radio baseband. Sadly they have yet to do that.

      • Yup, RIM promised that over and over. Key feature of the new OS based on QNX. look back at old articles here that talk about all the wonderfulness of QNX and you’ll find it in every one. But anyway, I guess BlackBerry doesn’t feel any need to live up to RIM’s promises.

        Sad thing is there is nothing going to change until BlackBerry sells direct. as long as the vast majority of devices are subsidized sales through carriers and carriers thus having front line responsibility for device support, nothing BlackBerry can do is gonna change this situation.

  4. there is a lot of RIM left at BBRY. Not much TH can do here.

    they just dont get it. Shame.

    (owner of a playbook)

  5. BlackBerry can actually learn something from Apple on this topic.

  6. I know some Z10 / Q10 owners not possible to update because they’re using a SIM from a “not-supported-provider” and on the other side I know some BB10 users having problems with Vodafone Germany rolling out 10.1 updates weeks later then O2.

    BB10 should be updated from BBRY and not providers – same as works with iPhone

  7. Agreed.
    And since the carriers have done apoor job of pushing BB10, BlackBerry needs to sell their own.
    BlackBerry Stores.
    Take control of the product take control of the marketing, take control of the message.
    Take control!!


  8. I agree. I am so angry with Verizon over this, I could chew nails. I suspect this will be my last relationship with them.

  9. I thought about BlackBerry stores across US. Would be so wise. Some argue not enough products to fill store… you could sell baseball caps with BlackBerry logo too and all kind of accessories like apple stores. I think they should enter pc market as well. Building laptops and flat screens, cameras. Ha ha. Love BlackBerry

    • If it could be done for a profit, Google would have done it by now. Android stores everywhere. They don’t exist yet Android has like 55% of smartphone sales. No way BlackBerry can open their own stores with 3% of the market….

  10. With loosing 30% of stock shares money would be difficult I guess too

  11. Before z10 was released I said key requirement was that RIM improved the ridiculous process for updating OS…. They HAVE in a sense , assuming the carriers are on the ball. Unfortunately the lazy, useless , incompetent carriers don’t give a stuff about RIM, BB10 or their own customers … Just interested in today’s takings

    • BlackBerry is beholden to the carriers, plain and simple. They promised their QNX platform would enable them to break that tie to a certain extent and be able to update the OS without touching the parts that really matter to the carriers technically. But they haven’t done so, either because they are afraid carriers will drop their products or they didn’t build BB10 OS to have the promised autonomy from carrier-relevant code.

      • Yeah they promised to break the tie from the baseband to the OS but that seems to not have happened. Not sure why they cannot pull it off if the whole OS was designed that way.

        • We’ve seen that some part of the OS (GPS) have a dependency with the radio and since they’re still tuning things like battery life, I guess it wont happen before 2014.

  12. I totally agree. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I bought a Z10 from another country, before it was launched in my country. Now I can’t update. Why is it so difficult for Blackberry to release the updates through the web??? Why can’t I update from Blackberry update software page????

  13. TIP:

    – backup with BlackBerry link
    – remove SIM card
    – perform secure erase
    – boot device, first time
    – software update: will use global servers
    – enter in your BlackBerry ID
    – restore with BlackBerry link

    I have heard this is the way to bypass the operator for updates of the OS 🙂 maybe worth a try?

    • I feel it’s a little risky. Too many steps and scary words like “Erase” (albeit secure) and “Boot”. I don’t trust myself…
      Why can’t they just put it on the web…
      Thanks anyway. I may try it when I get really desperate

      • Same procedure when you use an autoloader to update your device .. (only difference is SIM trick).. OTA update is much better of course.. 🙂

  14. It would be so nice to see this done. Sadly, its another thing promised that’s not come to fruition. A friend and I were talking about this the other night and wondered if it has something to do with having qualified people writing code/building OS’s. It has to be hard for BB to get people, and I’m talking highly qualified experienced here, to work because of them wanting to jump ship to the other companies. There was a time when they probably had some of the best but I wonder about now? Just a thought.

  15. Well said. Just completed a survey on Crackberry with negative feedback on Verizon; lack of OS updates, frustration from hearing about how OS10.2 can do this and that while I still have OS10.0.9 on Verizon; BB needs to grab the brass ring here-the hardware is more than I expected, but the roll out and software support is unacceptable. BB needs to take complete control if they are to survive. We paid in both faith and funds to support the promise of a new paradigm from BB. I am not seeing a healthy relationship between BB and the carriers. And customers cannot fix that.
    Z10 owner, device crippled by Verizon…sigh

  16. Absolutely. I’m on TMo, so I’m luckier than most, but I empathize with everyone who’s stuck on 10.0. BlackBerry really needs to improve their release/pre-release process.

  17. So true! They keep living in the past, forcing us who can’t live without our phones to do so too. Its not at all fair. They need to wake up.

  18. @Aaron Ardiri – Regardless of the method you have described link will read the Vendor ID (think of it as the carrier ID) of the device which is hard-coded and then download the currently released OS for that vendor (Carrier) for the device. So someone with a verizon phone would still only have the option to install 10.0.

    • There is no hard coding of phones to a network.. if you buy a phone with a contract there is a network lock under the phone settings. I bought my z10’s without a contract – in fact, there are a tonne of operator splash screens on the phone, it is only when you use a SIM after a complete wipe / flash that the network association is made. That is why you should not boot with the SIM card inside first time after wiping..

  19. The vendor id has nothing to do with the network and it is hard-coded into the phone. I believe it has to do with who the phone is originally shipped to. So if your phone is unlocked yes it can use SIMs from any network…however, the vendor id will always be the same and that’s what is used to determine updates.

    So for instance, I get an unlocked blackberry that contains the vendor ID for Verizon, I can use it on the t-mobile network but if I try to update it through the desktop software/link it will check the vendor ID to decide which software is available. In this case it’ll pull down whatever verizon has available.

    Hope that makes it a bit a clearer. I may not be 100% on the update process but I do know for sure that the vendor ID is hard-coded. You can look that up.

  20. Absolutely agree with this article. Working in the cellular industry, now that the initial excitement has died, it’s a tough sell moving non-enterprise customers to the BB10 platform. Even the enterprise users I know aren’t exactly thrilled with their company’s move to these devices. BlackBerry cannot afford these loose ends at such a pivotal point in their future success or failure. Their reputation is at stake, and they have been fortunate to have such a long-term and dedicated fan base. Now, they need to properly reward them with timely, efficient updates, because every mistake is costly at this point.

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