The BlackBerry Achievement Awards (formerly the Wireless Achievement Awards) recognize excellence in entrepreneurship and development on the BlackBerry platform. This years winners were announced in Orlando Florida during the BlackBerry Live conference.
App of the Year: PriceCheck Mobile for BlackBerry
Scan barcodes to make comparison shopping a breeze. The app started out in South Africa and has grown their barcode inventory to over 30 million items.
Putting Customers First: ING DIRECT Canada
I first saw ING DIRECT showcase their app during the BlackBerry 10 launch event. The app features “Orange Alerts” that deliver banking notifications directly to your device.
Mobile Innovation of the Year: DIRECTV Latin America
Managing technical support for 5 million clients in Latin America and the Caribbean is no small task. Thankfully they’ve built a BlackBerry 10 app that helps over 4000 technicians to manage service calls using their device and also connect to set top boxes via Bluetooth to validate access, diagnose problems and check signal strength.
Making the World a Better Place: e-Cycle
e-Cycle makes it easy for companies to securely recycle old devices. Instead of shredding the device e-Cycle wipes and resells the device via their buyback program to recoup a bit of the costs of the upgrade.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Nobex Technologies Inc
Nobex has developed one of the highest rated apps on BlackBerry World. Nobex Radio and Podcasts allows users to listen to tune in to online radio and subscribe to Podcasts using a polished BlackBerry 10 app.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!
Flurry is an analytics tool that delivers user and usage data to the developer to help them improve and polish their apps. With over 170000 apps already in the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem, Flurry is sure to raise the quality and user experience of these apps over the long term.
Slated to be ready for action by the end of Q2, the powerful development tool features audience demographics and a consolidated dashboard even across multiple platforms. Flurry is indispensable when developing monetization and retention plans. Flurry will support apps made with cascades and the Native BlackBerry 10 SDK.
Flurry can easily spot dead ends in menus and show you where users are hitting snags while navigating the app. It can also reveal larger problems, let’s say that you notice the average session time for a specific device is almost zero, you’ll be able to assume that there’s a stability or crashing issue that’s keeping people from using your app as intended.
Endomondo is a free or premium cross-platform sports tracking app that uses GPS and other techniques to track workout session. The company ported their iOS/Android app over to BlackBerry 10 due to overwhelming customer feedback.
The best part about Endomondo is how thorough the app is. With over 15 million users the company has developed and polished their app to a high degree of functionality and features.
Here are a few of the features found in the free version:
- GPS tracking for lots of activities
- Workout history
- Route mapping
- Pep talk delivery to friends
- Access to the social community
Here are a few of the features found in the premium version:
- Interval training
- Workout graphs
- Beat yourself challenges
- Weather info
- and more…
The premium version is available for a $2.99 monthly or $19.99 yearly subscription.
The successor to BlackBerry Enterprise Server, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 is a cross-platform mobility management and deployment solution that gives you all sorts of options for smartphone and tablets wether they be corporate issued or BYOD.
As BlackBerry 10 continues to roll out and ship new handsets, BES 10 has been adopted by more and more companies. A BlackBerry deployment is known for being able to be managed with minimal effort by IT support staff and BES 10 extends that ease of use to iOS and Android phones and tablets.
A couple of years ago, BYOD was one of the bigger talking points when discussing BlackBerry’s waning market share. The company seems to have reversed that trend by embracing the competing platforms when managing mobility for the enterprise.
Vox is a mobile VoIP client for Android that will soon break out to other mobile platforms including BlackBerry 10. Expected to launch at the end of 2013 it looks like BlackBerry 10′s VoIP, IM, and video conferencing options are becoming plentiful.
Vox originally launched in 2005 as a competitor to Vonage and has been transitioning to the mobile ever since. By next year they should be running on all cylinders and supporting the top 4 smartphone platforms. The app also has the ability to call mobile phones in certain regions like the UK, Mexico, India, Pakistan and Vietnam.
harmon.ie is a cross-platform SharePoint, Office 365, SkyDrive Pro and Yammer client. It currently supports iOS and BlackBerry 10 with Android support to follow in Q3. harmon.ie makes it easy to connect with colleagues and collaborate on projects.
harmon.ie is currently the only native Office 365 app available for BlackBerry 10. Collaboration happens without overlap by sharing links to documents in the cloud instead of emailing attachments and worrying about having the latest version. Be notified in real-time when a colleague makes an update to a project or document. You can also check up on all the historical edits or changes.
The free version which gives you read-only access and should be used personally to test drive the software. For untethered access, click here to go to the harmon.ie mobile product page and subscribe to their BES edition which costs about $4 per user per month.
Tonight as part of BlackBerry Live, Alicia Keys as well as musical guests Alabama Shakes, Miguel, Maria Gadu and Cedric Gervais will be webcasting a concert beginning at 7:30 pm.
The show, called the Keep Moving Experience is produced by Alicia Keys and will be performed at the BlackBerry party at Universal Studios Florida. I’ve seen a lot of musical guests that BlackBerry has hired over the years and Keys seems to be the most invested: designing a custom show from the ground up.
BlackBerry Enterprise IM 3.0 is a secure, enterprise-grade instant messaging service that borrows a lot of functionality of the popular BBM service. The service can communicate with desktop enterprise chat systems like Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Office Communication Server and Lotus (IBM) Sametime.
BlackBerry Enterprise IM 3.0 launches with BES 10.1 but will also support Legacy BlackBerry devices that are deployed on BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.3 and above. Some of the BBM-borrowed features include presence status like “I’m free” or “Out of office” and your presence can even be controlled by your work calendar. Search though your employee database to add contacts using LDAP, Active Directory and Global Address Lookup. Messages are securely delivered using either HTTPS or 256 bit AES encryption.
Augmented Reality leader Wikitude launches Wikitude Places for BlackBerry 10. The new service provides Location Based Services to Wikitude users and helps to build their LBS database of sights, restaurants, hotels and shops.
Along with the launch of the Places beta, Wikitude on BlackBerry 10 is also the first mobile platform to sport their redesigned user interface. Ever since BlackBerry started putting accelerometers and magnetometers in their phones, Wikitude has been there on launch to utilize the new tools.
One of the more exciting features that they’ve added is the BBM AR Chat allowing you to see where your friends are as you message them. This feature becomes even more compelling when BBM goes multi platform later this year.
At BlackBerry Live 2013, BlackBerry has just made a pretty major announcement. As of Summer 2013, BBM will be cross platform. This has been discussed for some time and many have debated whether or not it will happen. On the one hand, many thought that it wouldn’t happen because it’s a crucial customer retention tool for BlackBerry. On the other hand, users want to be able to communicate with their friends, regardless of what smartphone they use.
When BBM launches for other platforms this summer, it will have Messaging and Groups features for iOS 6 users and Android users running Ice Cream Sandwich. For the following updates, other platforms will get BBM Voice, Screensharing and BBM Channels.
At BlackBerry Live 2013, BlackBerry has announced BlackBerry Channels. Channels is a natural evolution for BBM as it adds a more public and social element to what has always been a fairly private network of users. BBM has gone from what was a very intimate adding process to what seems more open, with brands and individuals being able to set up a space within BBM where people can interact. It should be interesting to see how well this is received because social networks are generally more open than being smartphone-specific.
Channels launches in beta today with a few channels already set up including Mercedes, Alicia Keys, Goo Goo Dolls and more.
A lot of people are asking about Alicia Keys’ role at BlackBerry and at BlackBerry Live 2013, she announced a few projects that she’s working on at the company under Frank Boulben’s leadership. Keys began her keynote talking about how women are central to BlackBerry and she wants to help foster that relationship. She mentioned that women, while they graduate at higher rates then men, have a problem getting into the technology industry at the same rate as men.
The BlackBerry Scholars program is a program to help encourage women to get into the tech industry by providing four year scholarships for women in science and technology programs. She also announced that BlackBerry will be funding creative projects around the world and helping artists to create.
At BlackBerry Live 2013, BlackBerry and Skype have announced that the famous calling app will be available on all BlackBerry 10.1 devices. BlackBerry has said that by the end of the week, all Z10 devices should have a 10.1 update pushed out from the carrier making the device ready for Skype.
The BlackBerry Q5 has just been announced at BlackBerry Live 2013 and it’s billed as a device for emerging markets. Essentially, the Q5 is to the Q10 in the same way that the Curve is to the Bold. It comes in a variety of colors including BlackBerry, White, Pink and Red. Stay tuned for more updates from BlackBerry Live.
We’ve also heard that BlackBerry Q10 will be available in early June in the US and BlackBerry 10.1 available for Z10 users by the end of the week.
The battery life on the BlackBerry Z10 isn’t great. For a power user, you’re lucky if you can get through the afternoon. There’s a BlackBerry Z10 Charger Bundle that you can use for last minute charges or battery swaps, but it’s not ideal as you have to carry around the accessory in your pocket, leaving it prone to being lost. PowerSkin for the BlackBerry Z10 is a really cool solution that builds the battery into the case, and even comes with NFC.
The PowerSkin for the Z10 has been a life saver over the past few weeks. Since the Z10 now lasts an entire day, I have never worried about the battery life and the device always lasts until night time when it gets charged and ready to go by morning.
The only downside to the PowerSkin case is the sheer size. It’s expected that if you’re going to pack a battery into a case, you’re going to get a pretty large accessory. Check out this comparison of an iPod and the Z10 in a PowerSkin:
The upside to this beast of a case is that it’s actually very durable. I’ve dropped my Z10 several times with the PowerSkin on and it just bounces around due to the soft rubber shell. The PowerSkin is really the best of both worlds in that sense.
Finally, a major selling point to the PowerSkin for the BlackBerry Z10 is the fact that it comes with NFC. This means that if you want to “tap to pay” or share your BBM contacts, you don’t have to worry about the signal being interrupted by the case.
For those of you who currently own a BlackBerry Z10, there’s an interesting engineering decision that you should know about. Every touchscreen device has something called a digitizer, which is the part of a touchscreen that senses your touch and “digitizes” your gestures into impulses that the phone can understand as commands. With the BlackBerry Z10, this digitizer is fused right to the glass, meaning if you break the screen, you break the digitizer and the device instantly becomes a paperweight.
On many smartphones, the digitizer and screen are separate. This allows you to repair a cracked screen without having to replace the digitizer, which lowers the cost of repair.
So if you’re a Z10 owner, or planning on buying one, do yourself a favor and get a case. By saving the device from a cracked screen, you’re also saving yourself from having to replace the digitizer as well. You’ll also save yourself from not having a working phone until the screen is replaced, since the fused digitizer will brick the phone when the screen is cracked.
A lot of small and medium sized businesses don’t need all the extra security and device management that enterprise level deployments demand out of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. Enter ActiveSync: an easy way to manage mobility for your small or medium sized business.
Smartphones were born out of push email and a lot of the BYOD devices that people use for business are for smaller businesses. These deployments are no different than a consumer set up so below are some resources on setting up your BlackBerry 10 device to your mail servers using ActiveSync.
The first BlackBerry Jam in Belgrade organized by BlackBerry Developer Group Balkan attracted hundreds of attendees to the Zira Hotel in Belgrade Serbia.
With over 400 in attendance, this was one of the largest Jam events of it’s kind. BlackBerry Developer Group Balkan has posted photos and made a video of the event and the afterparty.
Congratulations to Developer Group Balkan and see all at BlackBerry Live in Orlando!
The DoD has tested and approved The BlackBerry Z10, Q10, PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 for secure use on DoD networks. The agency is the largest employer in the world with over 2.13 servicemen and civilians.
Regarded as having some of the strictest security requirements in the world, the DoD’s approval of these products and services should pave the way for other government agencies to consider a BlackBerry 10 deployment of their own.
Herocraft has released Ant Raid for the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet. The game uses interesting touch mechanics and looks like an action-packed tower defense.
Ant Raid has you command a small army of ants while larger enemies attack from all sides. Divide your forces well and get powerups to survive. Play through the game’s story mode or play survival mode for endless waves of enemies.