Sunday, November 29, 2015

Things I miss about #BlackBerry10

Typing this after spending a few weeks on the #PrivByBlackBerry. 

Crackberry and Bla1ze have already listed some things they are missing, and I agree. However, I'm noticing some smaller, more trivial things that just save time in my opinion. 

Volume key long press switches music track. I loved this from way back to BBOS. Seems so simple yet so useful if you listen to music on your phone. 

Speaking of volume keys. When I attempt to adjust the volume of the ear peice while on a call, it also adjusts my notification volume?  WTF?! That is quite possibly the dumbest thing ever. I use a holster and have on numerous occasions turned my notification volume down by accident while inserting the phone into the holster. On #BlackBerry10 you could lock the volume keys to media only to avoid this. 

Phone call in one click. On any previous BlackBerry device a phone call was one click. If there's a phone number in an email or website or BBM, it was that simple. On the #PrivByBlackBerry it requires two clicks. The first one opens the phone app and pastes the number, but you have to click again to place the call. 

Address clicking. On #BlackBerry10 if there's a proper address in an email I could click it and it would open BlackBerry maps automatically. On the #PrivByBlackBerry this isn't possible, you have to copy and paste. 

Speaking of copy and paste... Ugh!  It's aweful on the #PrivByBlackBerry. The selection process is not easy and once you have selected, copy and paste are a long finger stretch away. On #BlackBerry10 it was right there. 

General navigation is cumbersome, unless you just wanna leave every app open? Settings are all over the place, left side maybe. Right side maybe? :s 

BBM:  on #BlackBerry10 you could define different ringtones for each BBM group, thereby knowing which group is active without looking at your device. Android Is one tone for everything. Either that or mute. 

Continuing with BBM. There is no share card for BBM Channels?  In order to share a photo to BBM Channels you have to go to your channel and then select the picture while posting. 

Ads!  First thing I noticed with BBM for android was the crazy amount of ads. In my opinion as a BlackBerry user I shouldn't have to subscribe to the no-ads subscription.  That should be a no brainer. 

Contacts. Let's keep it real. Contacts on #BlackBerry10 was a bit of a mess. In theory it was brilliant. In reality it was buggy. Contacts on the #PrivByBlackBerry seems like a "patch".  It takes your contacts and creates a Google version of each one. But it's not connected to any other social media or BBM. So no pictures are assigned. No links at all. I understand that Twitter and FaceBook might be more difficult but BBM should be simple, given that both apps are BlackBerry designed. 

The Hub: yes it's on the #PrivByBlackBerry, but it's sloooow. Slow to open, slow to react. Just slow. Not always in the background like on #BlackBerry10. 

Double tap inside an email. This simple feature is sorely missed. I'm a little older than the average android user and some messages just need larger fonts to read properly. On #BlackBerry10 a quick double tap would zoom and reformat the text. On the #PrivByBlackBerry it tries to do something, like zoom, but doesn't reformat the text to fit the screen. 

File manager is something Crackberry had mentioned already. I found Solid Explorer works well, but noticed an issue with writing to the SD card. BlackBerry has informed me that they are aware of the issue and it only affects cards formatted in ExFat. They've said an update for the driver is coming. 

Pictures:  the pictures app on #BlackBerry10 was simple, yet effective. Easy to find or search pictures. The photos app by Google is simple also, but the app seems to want to spend it's time creating movies and stories rather than indexing my pics properly. Thumbnails take forever to load. This may be related to the driver for the SD card?

Keep in mind, while some of the issues I have are related to BlackBerry, most are related to Android itself. 

I do plan on creating another blog post of things that I actually enjoy about Android and the #PrivByBlackBerry.

These are just a hardcore #BlackBerry10 users opinion on Android. Not sure how much more of #BlackBerry10 BlackBerry will attempt to incorporate into the #PrivByBlackBerry or how quickly. I'm also curious as to how much better it will become once Marshmallow becomes available. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear John, bring back BBM Music!

Hi John, 
I know you're a very busy man working hard at continuing the turn around of our favourite Canadian company. I'm a big fan actually, I like what you're doing and how you're doing it. I see part of your plan is trying to make BBM profitable and have watched you add stickers and subscriptions for custom PINs and ad blocking. I'm proposing that you do something that people will laugh at. Bring back BBM Music. Now I know what you're thinking. Why would you do that? People didn't like it or use it enough to justify bringing it to #BlackBerry10, so why bring it back?   I wrote about how much I liked BBM Music a few years ago here.  My feelings haven't changed and I think I can fix what was wrong with it.

BBM Music was a GREAT concept, but it had a couple of fatal flaws. 

The first was the 50 song LIMIT. That word "limit" caused a lot of confusion and complaining that was actually not necessary. It was the wording that was wrong. By telling people there is a limit, you've made them feel as though they're not getting their money's worth. Had it been worded "you create a playlist of your favourite 50 songs" people would have felt that they were joining and sharing something, not paying for "only" 50 songs.  

The second and biggest problem was it required the end user to work. They had to add people manually to get more songs. But people were reluctant to add people they didn't know, so they had only a few folks to share music with. Very little music equals very little interest, and in the end the app dies. If the app would have auto populated users (without requiring me to add users one by one‎) this huge hurdle is overcome. 

I personally had access to almost 20,000 songs before the program was killed! It took a lot of work though. Most users would never go to the effort that I did. They'd move on. Quickly. 

BBM music was fantastic. I know of a few others that loved it as much as I did. We were happy to pay the monthly fee for it.

So here is my recipe for BBM Music 2015:

1. have the user create a playlist of 50 favourite songs. This is required, not optional and must be 50 songs minimum. Song changes can stay the same.  
2.‎ Have the app auto add people in your BBM contact list who also have BBM Music installed. 
3. Have the app allow you to auto add others automatically. Even if they're not on your contact list. Just randomly add users in bunches to keep the song count HIGH. This will make the end user feel they're getting their moneys worth. ‎Also allow people you don't know to be bumped off if you add someone you do know onto your contact list. 

Not too much different than what it originally was, but I think it fixes the problems the app had, and addresses the issues the blog community had with it too.

So what do you think?  Can it work?  Or should it just be left in the app graveyard?