Late EMEA software updates for Motion (7.1.2 for June) and KEY2 (8.1 July) roll out this week UPDATE!

KEY2 July Oreo update


As many BlackBerry die hard users in Europe, Middle East and Africa can confess, updates on the Android platform for unlocked devices have been sporadic at best. Unfortunately in the last year since BlackBerry Mobile/TCL has been producing devices as part of their licensing agreement with BlackBerry Ltd this situation has gotten worse especially within this region. The BlackBerry KEYone that was released first in the UK in April 2017 is still awaiting a promised upgrade from 7.1.1 Nougat to 8.1 Oreo fortunately that 1 year wait looks to end soon with a 2nd Oreo beta update having been rolled this week. However the BlackBerry Motion that released October 2017 with Nougat 7.1.2 has yet to have a beta program rolled out for it and this week received a Nougat security patch for June in the EMEA region. The KEY2 which launched in June with a May security patch finally got updated with July security patch in early August that North America received almost a month prior. This vital update wasn’t just a security patch however at almost 500mb it contained a software update that fixed SD card issues that affected several popular apps that rely on SD card features such as Spotify as well as updating the devices camera including adding Google Lens directly into the camera.

These delays are compounded when North American users are receiving regular security patches on almost monthly basis as promised by BlackBerry Mobile and BlackBerry Ltd but some of the companies biggest markets throughout EMEA are regularly waiting for up to 3 months to receive software updates and patches, which quite frankly isn’t acceptable. Loyal BlackBerry fans purchased these devices and were promised monthly security patches which hasn’t been delivered by the company.

They have been many conspiracy theories floating around social media and forums stating that the servers for BlackBerry Mobile for this region are broken and manual updates are having to be pushed out. Other rumours that EU law is blocking the updates and that specific network partners of BlackBerry Mobile such as Vodafone are blocking the updates for unlocked devices across this region. The latter two are extremely far fetched and highly unlikely especially as the EU have no jurisdiction outside of their member nations and a network partner couldn’t insist that the patches are released to their device models only first before unlocked devices especially in dozens of countries that they aren’t operating as a business in. So this adds weight to the first theory mentioned that there are server issues for this market and this is contributing to the delays. As many are aware TCL/BlackBerry Mobile are licensed to make the devices worldwide (excluding India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) with BlackBerry Ltd hardening and making their exclusive secure version of the Android OS software for the device and the devices core BlackBerry apps that you love such as Hub, DTEK, Privacy Shade etc. Online research shows that BlackBerry Ltd are delivering the software to TCL/BlackBerry Mobile but their seems to be constant delays in distributing the updated patches and software via TCL’s servers to this market.

Some may ask what the issue is here as BlackBerry’s take on Android means that they have the safest Android devices in the world? Well if you purchase an unlocked device you do so generally for the purpose of receiving any manufacturer software updates and security patches first without network carrier delays. Also to add insult to injury is that the BlackBerry Mobile devices are being released within the EMEA market first before North America yet are receiving delayed updates potentially putting their devices at risk but also meaning that they are missing out on several updated new features and apps such as the Locker mode and sound recorder apps that are available in BlackBerry’s take on Android 8.1 Oreo on their KEYone’s and Motion’s. Android just also released Android 9 Pie this week but with two of the BlackBerry Mobile portfolio yet to have been even updated to Oreo 8.1 this has irritated many loyal fans who are wondering if the company will follow through with updates.

Earlier this summer BlackBerry Mobile posted on their Twitter account that KEYone, Motion and KEY2 would be updated to Oreo 8.1 so that all devices have parity between them in relation to the software that they are running. Unfortunately in mid August we have yet to see this promise come to fruition especially with constantly delayed roll out of updates and security patches to this market. For the record we have recently reached out to the team at BlackBerry Mobile for their response to this story so that they can clarify the situation to their loyal users and fans at BerryReporter and we will update this article with their statement.

STATEMENT FROM BLACKBERRY MOBILE “The Oreo update started its rollout already – other countries will join in shortly.”


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BerryReporter's International Correspondent based in London, UK and has been a BlackBerry user since 2004 across 16 different devices. My first BlackBerry was a blue 7290 and I'm currently using both a BlackBerry KEY2 and Motion for work and personal use. I love running and going to the gym plus I'm also a huge music, movie, tech and sports fan. My favourite sports include Boxing; MMA and Athletics to Basketball (Miami Heat) and Football (Liverpool FC). You can add me on BBM via my custom PIN: USMmedia

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