BlackBerry has rolled out the first of its promised monthly security updates, with some tweaks thrown in to improve the camera and the Priv’s software performance. The update is out now for devices purchased directly from BlackBerry. Carrier-supported units get the 475MB update on December 7.
The move fulfills BlackBerry’s promise to keep the device consistently updated, and it includes the latest Android security patches for December. BlackBerry says the Priv won’t feel as sluggish, and the extra security will keep the Priv safe from the latest Android security threats.
Related: Read our BlackBerry Priv review
The company’s focus on frequent and timely updates is quite different from the way other manufacturers approach updates. Often, Android phones miss out on security patches for months or years, assuming the updates ever arrive. Of course, part of the delay is caused by carriers, but it seems that BlackBerry has found a way to make the turnaround quicker for the Priv. Even the carrier updates will arrive a mere week after BlackBerry’s official update.
Among the many fixes in the update are improvements to the camera, which initially suffered from lackluster low-light performance. It is supposed to get a boost now that it has been “re-tuned” to capture better images. The camera app should also be quicker when it launches and focuses. We will verify BlackBerry’s claim after testing.
The update improves stability and is aimed at reducing instances of freezing or crashing. BlackBerry did not specify exactly what it’s rectifying, or whether the fix has anything to do with how third-party apps function on the Priv.
In addition, the company is also synchronizing updates to its Android apps, including BlackBerry Hub, Keyboard, Camera, and its security app DTEK. BlackBerry says the camera will offer more filters, its keyboard will add more languages and include emojis in the predictive typing overlays, WhatsApp joins the Hub and contacts, and DTEK will get more notifications to alert you when apps are using your info. Unfortunately, Hangouts messages will still be absent from the Hub, though. It’s also somewhat unclear how DTEK will decide when to notify you about apps that are using sensitive info.
Priv owners can download the update now if they bought the device from ShopBlackBerry.com, whereas those who got it through their carrier will see it pop up starting on December 7.