BlackBerry 10.1 reveals more than a dozen new features

BlackBerry 10.1

BlackBerry is shoring up its latest operating system with a slew of changes slated for the next update.

Reaching developers this week, the software developers kit for BlackBerry 10.1 ticks off 14 new features to start, as listed by blog site Crackberry. Some of the notable additions include a higher-quality HDR option for photo takers, PIN-to-PIN messaging available within theBlackBerry Hub, and an improved text picker.

Users will be able to turn off alerts for specific apps, use the power button to unlock the screen at the lock screen, and paste phone numbers directly into the dialpad. New help demos and walkthroughs will also be available to help people learn about BlackBerry 10.1.

BlackBerry 10 officially debuted on January 30 along with a peek at the new Z10 and Q10 phones. Just how have BlackBerry’s new OS and new devices fared? It seems to depend on who you ask.

CEO Thorsten Heins said last month that a full 55 percent of the customers who buy a Z10 are jumping ship from a different mobile platform.

“We’re pretty excited by the stats we’re getting from the market,” Heins said. “It’s a strong testament to the strength of the product and differentiating elements.”

However, a survey released last week by investment firm Raymond James said that BlackBerry was the phone least wanted by those polled. At the same time, a couple of analysts weighed in with dour views on the Z10.

ITG analyst Joe Fersedi said that the Z10 launch “started poorly and weakened significantly as the days passed,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Fersedi added that the Z10′s share of sales was initially 4 percent at Verizon and 7 percent at AT&T but has since dropped to around 1 to 2 percent.

Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston offered an ever more depressing scenario, claiming that returns of the Z10 in the U.S. were actually exceeding sales. BlackBerry quickly disputed that claim, calling it “absolutely false” and promising to request a formal probe to review Detwiler Fenton’s research.

“Return rate statistics show that we are at or below our forecasts and right in line with the industry,” Heins said in a statement last week. “To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation. Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.”