The release of the new BlackBerry 11 OS earlier in 2013 marked a real turning point for this Canadian company.
While it was previously lagging behind its rivals because its stale smartphone software, BB 10 has managed to put it back on the right track.
This has given mobile buyers a genuine alternative to the triumvirate of iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
But you cannot rest on your laurels in the mobile industry, no matter how comfy you are, so BlackBerry is definitely working on a successor to BB 10.
The BlackBerry 11 release date is not likely to land until next year at the earliest, but that has not stopped rumours about its potential features and benefits from seeping into the media.
So what can BlackBerry fans expect from the next big release and will it be worth the wait, or something to avoid?
11 problems but an update ain’t one
Although BlackBerry 11 may be a distance spec on the horizon, the reality for BlackBerry owners at the moment is that the next big update to expect will come in the form of BB 10.2.
This should be made available for the Z10, Q10 and Q5 handsets in the next few weeks and earlier this month BlackBerry launched a simulator of this software for developers to start tinkering with before its official arrival.
Perhaps the best bit of news that comes from this release is that there is better support for Android Jelly Bean, which basically means that developers should have an easier time porting their existing apps across from Google’s platform to BB 10.2 handsets.
BlackBerry realised a while ago that to bulk out its offering of apps it would need to court Android developers and it has gradually improved this relationship, leading to a growing number of multi-platform programs appearing on BB 10.
New Year’s resolutions
Looking forward to 2014 and the potential release of BB 11, there is sure to be a long list of sought-after features that users will want to see arriving on their BlackBerry phones next year.
Chief among these will be support for 1080p resolutions, because at the moment even the as yet unannounced flagship smartphone known as the Z30 is not likely to go any higher than 720p. Compared to 1080p-toting rivals like the HTC One, this means that BlackBerry still seems a little bit behind the curve.
With BlackBerry 11, support for 1080p screens could finally become a reality, allowing for a clearer, crisper display experience that lends itself perfectly to watching high-def movies and browsing websites which may be optimised for desktops rather than mobiles.
BB 10 implemented some major interface changes to bring BlackBerry smartphones up to date, but BB 11 will need to go even further if it is to keep pace.
It seems that the influence of Windows Phone has popularised the simpler, user-friendly approach to interactivity, with the Metro-style tiled homescreen being adopted by rivals. You can see its impact in solutions like HTC’s BlinkFeed and it might be wise for BlackBerry to take note.
Even Apple is going back to the drawing board this year with iOS 7, updating the look and feel of its platform to make the iPhone a market leader again, rather than just a follower.
Keep your ear to the ground for more BlackBerry 11 news as it emerges. In the mean time, BB 10.2 will be the software to watch.
Go back to the beginning and find out where BlackBerry Smartphones are made.