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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  • xinthius - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Too little too late.
  • CecileWamsley - Monday, October 28, 2013 - link

    Grace got a stunning silver Mercedes E-Class Diesel from only workin parttime on a computer. more info here...
  • vFunct - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    still blown away by that iPhone 5s speed... wow. They really need to put that into a MacBook Air. with iOS built for ARM.
  • vFunct - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    ^OS X built for ARM
  • xinthius - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Give it a few years if the pace of development for ARM chips continues.
  • Loki726 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    The A7 isn't quite as fast as haswell yet, but the PA Semi guys did an amazing job designing the A7. Intel CPU perf isn't going anywhere fast and I think Apple has a good chance at catching them in the next few years with a cell phone SoC.
  • teiglin - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Are you really arguing that in the next few years, Apple will run a phone CPU that is as fast as Intel's notebook CPU? That is ridiculous. A7 is (very) roughly comparable to Bay Trail, which is roughly comparable to ULV Penryn, so we're talking about six years of performance gap there. What's worse for ultra-mobile performance, we're running up against physical barriers for process shrinks, so absent some huge advance in lithography (or some alternative), it seems unlikely that whatever goes in the iPhone in six years will even be as fast as ULV Haswell, much less whatever Intel will be shipping at that time.

    None of that is to deny that A7 is quite impressive. I mean, between the A7 and iOS, they are performing comparable to Qualcomm SoCs running 75% higher clocks and twice as many CPU cores. But it'll be a long time before they "catch up" to where laptop hardware is today.
  • Loki726 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Yeah, that's exactly what I am arguing. It is speculation, so don't read too much into it, but I think that the A7 is much closer than most people would have considered possible 5 years ago.
  • lowlymarine - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    In every one of the benchmarks above, excepting SunSpider, Safari 7 on the iPhone 5S is outperformed by Chrome 30 on an old Mobile Athlon 64 3400+ notebook I have laying around. Now, while that mostly serves to illustrate how utterly useless JS benchmarks are as a meaningful way to compare performance across radically different devices, it might also suggest the A7 isn't quite as "desktop class" as Apple wants you to believe - provided your "desktop" is from this decade, anyways.
  • teiglin - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    Well, I'll take the odds on that bet. ;)

    We'll see how things go. I certainly can't disagree about the unexpected speed with which smartphone CPUs have advanced, and there is the argument that Windows on Bay Trail is "good enough" so maybe A7 or next year's A8 could be "good enough" for OS X on ARM, if such a thing comes to be (not holding my breath). It would certainly to be interesting to see some data on power vs. performance scaling of A7 if you could overclock it--I wonder how much perf it could pull at a 10W+ TDP.

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