Once in awhile the universe surprises you with something so wonderful, there are no words for it. Then again, I make my living with words so I’m going to find them. I belong to some fantastic groups on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). One of them, Team Z30 is a group of people from around the world who chat about pretty much everything. Yes, we are all using BlackBerry devices but we talk about our regular lives as often as we do about devices and upgrades and technological stuff. The members of the group have become like family to me – I worry about them when they’re going through stuff, I enjoy hearing how their day is going, and occasionally, I want to give some of them a good swift kick in the rear.
It’s been awhile – I’ve been busy with life and spending far too much time with my BlackBerry Z10. The advantage of spending so much time with my Z10 is that I have a shortlist of the “Can’t miss Apps” for BlackBerry 10. These are my favourite apps, the ones I use on a daily basis.
1) Password Keeper – This app was standard on earlier BlackBerry devices, and is a free download for the Z10. It has all the functionality that I wrote about here but is on your BlackBerry 10 Device.
2) BlackBerry Messenger – Another old standard but one that I use daily to keep in touch with friends and family. It’s just so convenient. The Video chat feature on BlackBerry 10 devices allows you to do more than simply type to your contacts, you can actually see them and have a face to face conversation.
3) BlackBerry Remember – I had my doubts on how useful Remember would be. I was so wrong. I use it every single day. It’s better than any other notepad app I’ve used. It allows you to flag emails and put them into a file folder within the Remember App, but more than that, it allows you to add photos, videos, voice notes, and documents to the folder.
I have a BlackBerry Live folder and my airline tickets, hotel confirmation, event schedule, and hotel shuttle emails are all inside that folder so that I can easily find them as I need them.You can assign due dates to items within a folder and never forget a deadline again. You can also pull in contacts so if you are working on a project with a co-worker, you will have their contact info alongside all the information for the project. The BlackBerry video about Remember gives a pretty awesome overview of this amazing app.
4) CrackBerry 10 – I admit it, I’m a CrackBerry addict. I was going to the website a couple of times a day to keep up with the latest BlackBerry news. The CrackBerry 10 app for BlackBerry 10 allows me to catch up on the latest news and reviews in a really nicely designed and user friendly manner. To access the category feature simply tap the CB home button at the bottom of the screen in the app:
Once you do that, you will be greeted with a list of categories – I tend to read everything but if you only want to read reviews, it can be really helpful to go straight to the reviews category. My favourite thing about the CrackBerry 10 app is that it’s built for BlackBerry. I have nothing against Android ports but they don’t always work in quite the same way that apps built specifically for the BlackBerry 10 platform.
5) Blaq – The native Twitter app on the BlackBerry 10 operating system is not as good as the version I had on my Bold 9900. I use Twitter a lot and needed something better. I have used Blaq on my PlayBook, so when it was released for the BlackBerry 10 in late April, I eagerly downloaded it. It took a little getting used to and I’m still discovering little gems like the ability to quote tweets. (You can only do it from inside the tweet itself, not from the main screen) I will do a full post on Blaq soon for all my Twitter addicted friends who need a solid app that works well and is stable
6) Podcasts – I’m late to the podcast party, but I love listening to them as I walk around town. I had a few different Podcast apps on my Bold 9900 but my favourite wasn’t available for the BlackBerry Z10. After consulting some of my fellow BlackBerry Elite members, I downloaded Podcasts for BlackBerry 10. I love how easy and intuitive the app is to use. It also doesn’t drain my battery the way other podcast apps have. The selection of podcasts in the app is pretty good but you can search and manually add your favourite podcasts within the menu if they aren’t on the list. The only complaint I’ve heard is from my friend Nick who listens to a lot of podcasts while riding his bike to and from work – he would like a feature that skips back 5 or 10 seconds in the podcast when you restart after a pause, so that you don’t miss anything. I agree it would enhance the app but even without that feature, the app is head and shoulders above any other podcast app for BlackBerry 10.
These are my favourite (non game) apps so far. I’m going to be testing BlackBerry Travel next week as I journey to BlackBerry Live, and I will let you know how it works on BlackBerry 10 afterwards.
What are your favourite BlackBerry 10 apps? What app do you really want to see on the platform?
Somebody asked me today to explain, briefly, why I’m so enamoured with my BlackBerry Bold 9900. He said “pretend we’re in an elevator and you need to explain why you like it, not as a sales pitch but as someone who uses the product.” I am familiar with the concept of the elevator pitch and this is what I came up with:
My BlackBerry is a tool, not a toy. It does everything I want it to and does it in a way that works for my lifestyle. It is reliable, fast, secure, and looks awesome. I use my BlackBerry as a phone, for email, for social media, to text, to get from point A to point B with BlackBerry Traffic, and to use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). I play games and watch videos on it too, but the primary function of my BlackBerry is to help me be productive. I can open, read, edit, and save documents and share them with friends and colleagues from the dock or from my desk. I can take amazing pictures and share them instantly. It fits my hand perfectly, isn’t too big to put in my pocket, but has a screen big enough to watch a video if I choose. The fact that I’m supporting a Canadian company is just the icing on the cake.
I wanted to add all of the awesome things I’ve heard about BlackBerry 10 and my impressions from the few times I’ve been fortunate enough to check out a Dev Alpha but until I have a BlackBerry 10 device in hand, I felt that I should speak only about what I know and that’s my Bold 9900.
Well? Why are you part of Team BlackBerry?
You know what I absolutely love hearing when showing off my Bold 9900? “Wow, I didn’t know a BlackBerry could do THAT“. I heard that a lot this weekend at the She’s Connected Conference in Toronto. Mostly it was the simple things like the fact that managing multiple accounts in the Native Twitter Application is so easy. Or that I could remote control my PlayBook from my Bold 9900 (to be honest, that was me showing off because I had the bluetooth keyboard for the PlayBook and was perfectly capable of typing on that but I like the wow factor of the remote control). I loved meeting so many fellow BlackBerry devotees and being able to help them use their devices more easily. It’s not rocket science but there are tips and tricks that will enhance your experience as a member of Team BlackBerry.
The one question everyone seemed to ask me was if I was excited about the upcoming release of the BlackBerry 10 devices and operating system. The answer to that was an unequivocal YES! I am very excited about BlackBerry 10 and can’t wait until it is released! I still don’t know how I’m going to get a BlackBerry 10 device into my hot little hands but rest assured, it will be done. I have friends who are developers for BlackBerry and their excitement at what the BB10 OS can do has rubbed off on me. I truly believe that there is a core market of BlackBerry users who may have switched to another platform who are waiting for an excuse to come back to the BlackBerry fold. I believe that the BlackBerry 10 Operating System will be the thing to bring them back. I spoke to quite a few people who either had been BlackBerry users in the past or who were simply curious about the new product launch. A number of them were at the end of their cell phone contracts and were eligible for a new device, either now or at the beginning of the year. After chatting with me, many of them are waiting to see what BlackBerry 10 has to offer before deciding what phone to get. I wasn’t out to strong arm people into becoming members of Team BlackBerry but I wanted people to give it a chance.
BlackBerry isn’t for everyone. If you want a smartphone to game on, then this isn’t the right solution for you. However, if you want your phone to work FOR you, and WITH you then you need to consider BlackBerry. I primarily use my BlackBerry for social media, emails, as a gps, as a camera, and *gasp* to make and receive phone calls Yes I have a number of very entertaining apps and games, but they’re not the reason I chose my BlackBerry. I have far more games on my 64 gb PlayBook.
Not once all conference did i wish I had a different phone. My Bold 9900 had no issues connecting to the wifi, releasing the cached wifi info page so I could log in again on the second day, or with maintaining a battery charge throughout the conference. I don’t want to have to carry around a charger for my phone because it won’t last 10 hours. I was having too much fun trying to meet up with twitter friends to be hunting for somewhere to plug in my phone.
Since I started this blog, I’ve met a lot of other members of Team BlackBerry. One of the things that constantly astounds me is how few people regularly back up their BlackBerry handheld devices. I learned the hard way about backing up my BlackBerry – earlier this year I managed to brick my Bold 9900 (totally a user error on that one). I hadn’t backed up in over a month, and while I have a lot of technologically inclined friends, I still lost a few things. I now back up my BlackBerry at least once a week and have BlackBerry Protect doing a daily back up. Some of these tips seem really simple, and they are very easy to implement but they will make life easier as a BlackBerry owner.
- Plug it in! Plug your BlackBerry into your computer to create a backup and to move files and folders from your computer to your device and vice versa. You may never need the backup, but if you do, you’ll be happy you did it.
- Use folders so that your home screen isn’t cluttered with apps. Keep only the things you access daily on your home screen.
- Update your BlackBerry – Not just the Operating System (OS) updates but also applications. Having the latest version of an application means it’s more likely to work the way it was intended and integrate with other applications such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM) more smoothly.
- Turn off WiFi coverage when you’re out of range for it. Unless you’re searching for hotspots, you don’t actually need your wi-fi on when you’re out and about. When wi-fi is turned on, it will continuously look for networks to connect to which will drain your battery.
- Press and hold the BlackBerry button to see what applications are running in the background and close any that you aren’t actually using in order to free up memory and save your battery. The BlackBerry Button is the one that looks like this:
- Blackberry Shortcuts. These are awesome. Tired of typing your number in a Facebook message, direct message on twitter or on BBM? Type mynumber and poof – there it is. Mypindoes the same thing but with your PIN. If you need to insert the date into a post, type ld (long date) and the date will show up (ie: Tue, Oct 15, 2012). To get the long version of the current time, type lt to show (12:54:45 AM).
- Going to a movie and need to put your phone on vibrate quickly? Press and hold the “Q” key and it will automatically switch your phone to vibrate. To switch back, press and hold the “Q” key again.
- Set up auto on/off times. You can do this by going to Settings –> Device –> Auto On /Off and set what time you want your BlackBerry to automatically turn off at night and when you want it to turn on in the morning. You can set different times for weekdays versus weekends too.
- Learn how to do a soft reset of your device. You know the handy Ctrl + Alt + Del command you use to reboot your computer? You can do the same thing on your BlackBerry by pressing Alt + Shift + Del at the same time. (If you have a full touch screen you’ll have to do the battery pull instead)
- Get a shell or a holster and a screen protector. I love my holster – it means that I can always have my BlackBerry on me. If you dislike holsters (and I know some of you do), get a shell casing so the back doesn’t get all scratched up in your purse or briefcase. The cases make the BlackBerry easy to grip too. A screen protector is a must if you have a touchscreen and it’s great even if you don’t. When applied correctly, they don’t interfere with the touchscreen sensitivity but help protect your screen against nicks and scratches. Of course you can always get a really cool sticker for your BlackBerry like I have for mine. Have I mentioned how much I love my TARDIS-Berry?
Well, that’s it. Those are my top 10 BlackBerry tips. Do you have a tip or a trick for other members of Team BlackBerry?