While BlackBerry has effectively raised the white flag in its hardware business, it does not mean that it has abandoned consumers who have bought its recent BlackBerry handsets. Last Oct. 19, the company announced that it will now directly provide over-the-air (OTA) software update for unlocked AT&T BlackBerry Priv after the carrier stopped supporting devices with non-AT&T SIM.
In a BlackBerry Support page originally posted last May, a new update indicated that Priv users will now get their hands on the OTA update via the Notification shade.
There is no official statement regarding this development, and the Support page offered scant information. But it is welcome news for unlocked Priv users who were left in the cold by the recent AT&T move. Now, as BlackBerry assumes the software update responsibility, some Priv users are wondering whether future updates and security patches will roll out in timely and consistent manner. BlackBerry's latest action should give consumers insight into this issue.
When AT&T software support was halted early this year, BlackBerry reassured Priv consumers that it will look into the matter.
"BlackBerry is currently working on a solution to allow updates to be made available to these devices," the support page stated in May.
The Canadian tech company made good on its promise, and the post has since been updated five months after. The period should give Priv users some idea about software development and rollout timeframe. Priv users should also be reassured that BlackBerry's record is spotless when it comes to software upgrades. Sometimes, it even beats Google when fixing security issues.
Most importantly, BlackBerry ultimately develops the software updates for all its devices, and they are sent to carriers so they can modify it for themselves. Consumers must have noted that their telecommunications provider always bundle their own bloatware in their smartphones. The update process for smartphones under contract, therefore, is always delayed. With AT&T out of the picture, Priv users could possibly enjoy faster OTA updates in the future.
AT&T has decided to stop supporting Priv after consumers were found purchasing the device and using them in a different network. One should note that when BlackBerry first launched Priv, the device was exclusive to AT&T. So while it is already available in T-Mobile and Verizon, the first wave of buyers got their device from the carrier. AT&T has also been holding Priv sales recently, attracting droves of consumers who prefer a different network.