No; I am not kidding. The BlackBerry Passport has just become a super smart device, thanks to yesterday’s OS 10.3.1 update. Permit me to tell you about it.
Keyboard Shortcuts and Speed Dial
The Passport (and any OS 10.3.1 BlackBerry with a hardware keyboard) lets you customize Hotkeys on the physical keypad to launch any app or dial any contact. For example, the “B” key is set to launch the browser, so when I press and hold that key anywhere I am in the menu, the browser is launched. Have you any idea how much more convenient using the Passport has become with just this feature? I’d love to see the touchscreen-only fanboys beat that.
This feature uses built-in sensors to detect user actions and perform simple tasks. For example, when I pick up my Passport from a flat surface, it wakes up. If I place the phone face down on a flat surface, it goes into sleep mode and helps extend my battery life. As long as the phone is in my hand, the display stays on regardless of the display timeout setting, because the sensors are programmed to assume that I am using it.
The above two features alone make the Passport and other BlackBerry devices tools that deliver super convenience. But it doesn’t end there.
Now, if I don’t want a particular application running in the background, I can deny it permission to do so. There’s also a new Battery Saving Mode, an improved BlackBerry Hub, and the ability to mark a Picture or Video as “hidden”. Bad news for those who want to see what naughty things I’ve been up to lately.
All these features are available on OS 10.3.1, but the keyboard shortcut and speed dial feature is exclusive to BB10 devices with a hardware keyboard.
Note also that the above improvements are not all the additions that OS 10.3.1 brings to the Passport and Classic. There are quite a number of others. And there are even more features that are new to those who upgraded from OS 10.2. Expect more details.
In the meantime, do not leave home without your Passport. Seriously, BlackBerry should use that tag line for marketing the Passport. Or are they already using it?
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.