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BlackBerry PRIV Receives First Set of Security Updates

Canadian mobile phone maker BlackBerry on Dec. 1 started pushing out the first software update for its Android-based BlackBerry PRIV smartphones, which includes the first security patches for the device.

Last month, the handset vendor said it would release monthly security updates for the device, to ensure that its users benefit from enhanced security and that newly discovered vulnerabilities in Android are immediately remediated. BlackBerry is only one of the various manufacturers to have committed to monthly updates for their devices, after Google announced in August it would make such updates available every month.

The recently announced software update for BlackBerry PRIV requires roughly 475MB of free space on each device and is currently rolling out to all handsets purchased through ShopBlackBerry. The Canadian vendor also announced that carrier-purchased PRIVs will start receiving the platform update on Dec. 7.

According to BlackBerry, the new software release includes the December security patches for Android, which should ensure that PRIV smartphones are protected against the latest known threats. However, the company hasn’t provided additional details on what issues have been resolved in the update, and Google has yet to publish the Nexus Security Bulletin for December, which should shed more light on the issues.

Google usually notifies its partner manufacturers on the security issues found in Android one month before releasing the actual security update for Nexus devices.

In a recent blog post, BlackBerry explains that PRIV users will also benefit from improved overall system performance, better device reliability and fewer crashes and freezes, as well as a faster camera, capable of taking better shots in low light.

In addition to the security patches and system improvements, BlackBerry PRIV owners will soon benefit from new versions of Blackberry Keyboard, Hub, Camera, and DTEK by BlackBerry. These include an improved camera with support for 16:9 photos, increased language support and emojis added to the keyboard’s predictive typing, WhatsApp added to Hub & Contacts, and more notifications on applications accessing users’ info.

As soon as the update is available for their devices, PRIV owners will receive a notification, yet they can also check for it manually, by heading to Settings > About > System Updates. Users are advised to connect their smartphones to a Wi-Fi network before downloading the update, to avoid additional charges. The phone will restart to complete the installation process.

BlackBerry PRIV was revealed back in September and is the first handset from the Waterloo-based smartphone designer to run under the Android operating system, and started shipping in early November. When announcing the device, BlackBerry said that it would pair the Android operating system with the BlackBerry security, while also revealing that the company will continue to develop and enhance the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

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