Sunday, November 30, 2014

BlackBerry Passport. My thoughts after 2 months

photo via @Crackberry
I'm sure my FaceBook friends are getting tired of all my BlackBerry talk, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this device after using it exclusively for two months.

I won't lie. Leading up to the launch I really wasn't looking forward to this device. I found the shape odd and didn't yearn for a physical keyboard at all after using full touch phones for well over 5 years. I was totally in love with my Z30 and honestly didn't see myself liking the Passport. So already bias going in to the test.

The day of the launch I was handed a Passport of my very own. My first thoughts were WOW this is big, and heavier than my Z30. The square display was beautiful to read and felt more like a computer screen than a phone. Definitely weird. The next day I switched devices. The switch was easy, but I left my Z30 ready to go at a moments notice if I decided to go back to it.

Funny thing is, I never did. I picked it up a few times and opened an app or two to remind myself of how it looked and felt. Nope, I didn't miss it.

What I love:

 This battery is amazing! I'm a social media guy. Instagram, two twitter accounts, FaceBook and a couple of BBM channels. I run my business all day, speak to family, clients and staff via phone and BBM for 8-9 hours a day all while keeping up on social media. At home I switch to Dad mode and keep at it. I can get 16+ hours of HARD usage on this thing without charging it. I've never been able to do that before.

The screen. This seems odd. I didn't like it at first, but after some time I absolutely love it. Every other device seems tiny and harder to read. I have not come across an app that is unusable with this screen. Even my favourite game, Cut the rope looks and works great. This screen is great in direct sunlight too.

The keyboard. If you didn't know, the keyboard is touch sensitive. Like a giant trackpad. You can scroll up and down in apps. You can flick type suggested words the same way as any other BlackBerry 10 device, which in case you didn't know is THE best keyboard on a phone. I didn't realize that I missed speed dialing from the keyboard and instant searching by just typing on the home screen.

The camera is great, takes great photos, and once taken photos are super easy to share everywhere quickly.

The HUB. I'll never give this up. It is great to have all your notifications in one place and be able to reply to everything without ever having to open an app.

BlackBerry Blend. This new software runs on your computer and allows you to see and interact with all your BBM, emails, texts and calendar on your computer. Sure this is available on other platforms, but the key is that NOTHING is actually stored on the computer. No cloud uploads. Nothing. This may mean nothing to you, but there are a few people who's naked photos ended up on the Internet who may disagree.

Apps: with the newest OS 10.3 (coming to older devices in January) a new app store is available. The Amazon app store has tons of new apps that run on BlackBerry. There are a few still missing, but for the most part, they're all there.

The appearance of the device itself. Sounds weird because you'd think this was a negative as opposed to a positive. Here's why: I love to talk BlackBerry. You can't use this thing without people noticing it and asking questions about it. Everyone who sees it and gets my demo is impressed.

What I don't like:

 There really isn't much I don't like. The only issue I have is that one handed typing is difficult. I used to do this a lot. The physical width of the device limits this.

It is big. But not as big as a Samsung Note, so it can be a little hard to carry, but it fits in Jean pockets just fine. I found a holster for my belt and that works for me.

How much do I like it? So much that I've just ordered a Red one!
This one will go to my wife now. I'm curious to see how she likes it.

This device certainly won't be for everyone, but I sure know it suits me very well.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Switch to BlackBerry: Take III

If you've followed my blog over the years you may remember that on two occasions I have tried to tempt my friends to come back to #TeamBlackBerry from another platform.  The first test was from an iPhone 4s to a Bold 9900.  That test failed and my friend switched back to her iPhone quite quickly.  This result was expected as to be honest, once you have experienced a full screen phone with plenty of apps, it would be hard to go back to a BBOS device.  The keyboard alone is not enough to make people stay.

Credit CrackBerry Forums for picture
My second test was much more interesting.  The same subject switched to a Z10 from her iPhone 4s.  The result was amazing!  Although it took some time to adjust, she learned to love the Z10 and chose to stay #TeamBlackBerry and actually purchased the Z10 from me.  She is still on that same Z10 a year later.  She did however take some ribbing from colleagues and friends who questioned her choice to return to a platform that was "dead" to most people.  The attitude remained negative for a while, but she persevered and actually became quite a brand advocate, even convincing two co-workers to return to BlackBerry.

Enter the third test:  With the release of 10.2.1 and the unlocked Android runtime, the "app gap" has basically been closed.  This allows for apps such as Vine, Instagram, Snapchat etc to be run on any BlackBerry 10 device.  The teenage market was very strong for BlackBerry a few years ago when BBM was big with them.  Most have since moved on to iPhone and Android.  The BlackBerry is considered a relic to most North American teens.  So my test is to swap out a 15 year old girls iPhone 5 with a Z10 running 10.2.1.  Now this test is complicated by a number of things.  The first of which is iOS vs BlackBerry 10.  The two OS' are quite different in how things are done.  This will take time to adjust to, but is expected.  The second reason is much more subtle.  Teenagers in general can be quite mean.  Peer pressure is always a factor in a teenagers life.  Having friends make fun of you for getting a BlackBerry could have a very real effect on the outcome. If a grown, professional woman was mocked for switching back to BlackBerry, how would a teenage girl handle it?  As a matter of fact, within minutes of activating BBM on the Z10, our young test subject received a BBM message (ironic no?) asking "WTF?  I thought you hate BlackBerry, why are you switching..."

I have asked her to use the Z10 for a total of 4 weeks.  Her sister uses a Z10 and several friends as well, so there is some support in place (other than me).  I expect that she won't make it that long, but in the back of my mind there is one tiny little speck of hope that she will learn to love it as I have.  If not love, than maybe some new found respect.

Will she return to her iPhone with loving arms?  Or find a soft spot in her heart for the Z10?

Stay tuned in the beginning of March for the result!

Linking contacts

One of the highly touted features of #BlackBerry10 is the ability to combine ‎contacts from all different social medias.  This allows you to see social media updates inside the Contacts app or in a Calendar appointment with that person. The downside is the process doesn't exactly seem fully automatic due to knick names etc. This can leave you with multiple entries of the same person. Luckily #BlackBerry10 has a way to quickly link contacts together. 

Open the contacts app and scroll to a person with multiple entries. 

Long press on one of them, and then select the checkmark. Now press on all the entries that are related. Then press the chain symbol (link). This combines all entries in to one contact. 

That's it!