Category Archives: BlackBerry

BBOS distribution still flat

Unlike the quick adoption seen on BlackBerry 10, classic BBOS distribution remained unchanged for another month. Just over half (53.8%) of users were running OS 7 on their phones.

StatsSept2014

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of September 2013 through the end of September 2014, and does not include BlackBerry 10 or PlayBook devices.

Writing about Watches…

A bit over a year ago, I wrote that the smart watch wouldn’t take off. At the heart of the argument was the idea that the smartphone has come to dominate by being the one device that does everything, and that a watch would be fighting against this trend.

With the recent announcement of Apple’s entry to the watch market, it seemed like a good time to revisit these assumptions. They have not changed much. Over on Medium, I found a cheaper and more practical alternative for every feature of the Apple Watch. A full year later, I still can’t bring myself to be interested.

Over 94% of users running 10.2.1 or higher in September

September saw a decent increase in the use of the newest versions of BlackBerry 10. 94.5% of Stuff I Need users, and 94.4% of Pixelated users were running OS 10.2.1 or higher.

With the release of the BlackBerry Passport at the end of the month, OS 10.3.0 was officially released. This was too late in the month to make too much of a difference, although the majority of 10.3 users are actually not even Passport users, but are running leaked versions of the OS on older phones. With in-market devices not getting upgraded until the release of OS 10.3.1 this November, the uptake of 10.3 is likely to be minimal in October as well.

2014Sept-Pixelated-BB10OSVersions

2014Sept-StuffINeed-BB10OSVersions

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free strategy game Pixelated and the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of September 2013 through the end of September 2014.

With Halloween around the corner, the Jack-o-Lantern app gets an update

IMG_00012057The Jack-O-Lantern app has been updated to version 2.1 with a few new faces, higher resolution images, and support for the BlackBerry Passport. This update also includes a 47% reduction in the app’s file size.

About the Jack-O-Lantern App

This application is designed to turn your phone into a virtual Jack-O-Lantern in order to help you celebrate Halloween. You can change the Jack-O-Lantern’s face by swiping in different designs from the left and right for the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also change the back light colour of the design by tapping on the screen.

Links & Information

Pixelated updated to version 3.6

ShapeItAppPixelated has been updated to version 3.6 for BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. This update makes the game more efficient and adds a few new features.

New in 3.6

The BlackBerry 10 version of the app adds the Super-Micro grid size to the app. This option already exists on the tablet versions of the app, but by rendering the screen in OpenGL it is now possible to have this mode on the phones as well. This new feature also adds an additional four achievements to the game. This update also adds support for the BlackBerry Passport (to be announced on Wednesday), and reduces the overall app size by twenty-three percent.

For the Windows 8 version of the app improvements have been made to the multilingual support. Also for users that have upgraded to Windows 8.1 then the app has been optimized for the new OS, and now supports variable sized split screens.

How to Play Pixelated

Pixelated is an addictive puzzle based strategy game that requires a mixture of skill and luck in order to accomplish. The object of the game is to change the colour of the squares until the entire screen is a single solid colour. Starting with the square in the upper left corner you can change the colour of the blocks in order to match that of the surrounding squares. This is done repeatedly until the entire screen is a single colour. The object of the game is to clear the screen in as few moves as possible. Under the default settings you must do so in under 22 moves in order to win. The game is controlled by the large colored blocks at the bottom of the screen.

Links & Information

logo173

Hockey Scores updated for 2014-2015 season

Z10The Hockey Scores app has been updated to version 3.2 for the new NHL season. This app supports all BlackBerry phones running OS 5.0 or higher, including all BlackBerry 10 phones.

About Hockey Scores

This application provides the day’s hockey scores is an intuitive and easy to use format. It also includes additional game statistics such as start times, goal scorers, shots on net, hits, faceoff percentage, team Corsi numbers, and lists out the goal scorers.

New in version 3.2

This update adds some features to the BlackBerry 10 app that adds support for the BlackBerry Passport, adds a swipe down menu, and optimizes the screen layout for some devices.

Links & Information

Looking at who is currently using the Porsche Design phones

With last Wednesday’s announcement of the Porsche Design P’9983 BlackBerry it may be a good idea to take a look at who is currently using the previous iterations of these high priced phones. Based on data collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the popular game Pixelated, it was possible to identify the countries that the P’9981 and P’9982 are currently being used in.

Porsche

As with most things BlackBerry, the greatest support comes from Canada, with the majority of users in North America. The following countries mostly confirm the stereotype of Porsche targeting oil rich nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In fact anytime that Bahrain accounts for over two percent of the market, you can safely assume that oil money is a contributing factor.

BBOS distribution unchanged in August

While the market share of OS 7 is up 13.1 percentage points from August 2013, there has been little to no change in the mix of BBOS devices used last month.

StatsAugust2014

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of August 2013 through the end of August 2014, and does not include BlackBerry 10 or PlayBook devices.

BlackBerry 10 device useage

As BlackBerry prepares to launch the Passport, the majority of users are still using the original BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10. The data below represents the 19,238 users who downloaded the Stuff I Need app in the month of August.

Aug2014Devices

All of these statistics are based off of the data collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free check-list app Stuff I Need (which is also available for Windows Phone and Android users).

BlackBerry 10 sees a slight increase in use of newer OS versions

After leveling off in July, August saw a good uptake of newer versions of the operating system. Last month 89.1% of Pixelated users were running the newest version of the OS. Meanwhile 93.7% of Stuff I Need users were running OS 10.2.1 on their phones.

2014Aug-Pixelated-BB10OSVersions

2014Aug-StuffINeed-BB10OSVersions

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of the free strategy game Pixelated and the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of August 2013 through the end of August 2014.

New version of Pixelated Shapes

IMG_00000136Pixelated Shapes has been updated to version 1.3 for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows 8. This updated reduces the file size by 7% for the BlackBerry 10 version of the app, while also adding support for the BlackBerry Passport that is due to be released next month. Meanwhile the Windows 8 version of the app got updated in order to better support the variable sized side by side apps supported by Windows 8.1

About Pixelated Shapes

Pixelated Shapes is a twist on the classic version of Pixelated that replaces the familiar squares with triangles and hexagons. The object of the game is to get the screen a single color by slowly growing a blob out of the upper left hand corner by matching it to the colors of the surrounding shapes. This is done repeatedly until either the game is won, or you run out of moves. Under the default settings you must clear the screen in 29 moves or less in order to win. A one time in-app upgrade can allow you to adjust the difficult, switch color schemes, change to different game modes, and get an indicator giving you the number of remaining moves.

Links & Information

150

Morse Code app updated for BlackBerry Passport

Q10The BlackBerry 10 Morse Code app has been updated to version 2.2 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This new version of the app includes a number of optimizations and also adds support for the BlackBerry Passport.

About Morse Code

This app will take your text, and translate it back to you in Morse Code. Any text can simply be entered, and then by pressing the “Play Morse Code” button, can be turned into an audible Morse Code signal. The application also allows you to adjust the speed of the playback in words per minute in order to accommodate different skill levels.

Links & Information

App released for the Champlain Canal

IMG_20140817_233813A brand new app has just been released in order to help you navigate the Champlain Canal in upstate New York. The app can be download from BlackBerry World, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore.

With apps having already been released for the Erie Canal, Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and Oswego Canal there are now apps available for navigating the whole New York State canal system. These apps give you the ability to see the locations of all locks and boat launches along the canals. Additionally the apps also contain a map view to give a visual representation to where everything is.

Links & Information

114

Stuff I Need checklist app updated

CampingListCropThe Stuff I Need check list app has been updated to version 2.5 for BlackBerry and Android. For BlackBerry 10 users the app makes a few visual tweaks, support for the BlackBerry Passport, and has also been optimized to give the app a 15% reduction in file size. For Android users the newest version of the app allows you to set a custom text size, which is a feature that was added to the BlackBerry version of the app last summer.

Amazon Appstore

The Android version of the app is also now available in the Amazon Appstore.

About Stuff I Need

Originally conceived as a grocery list app, this minimalistic checklist app can be used to keep track of the stuff you need to get, or the stuff that you need to do. New items can be added to list with the ‘Add’ button on the bottom of the screen. Items on the list can be edited (or deleted) by giving them a long press. Lists can be switched by pulling down on the tab at the top of the screen. This will expose a spinner that shows all of your current lists. New lists can be added by using the “+” button on the right side of the expanded tab. Making use of three or more lists requires the use on a one time in-app purchase. Lists are automatically deleted if you delete all items in a list and restart the app.

Links & Information

icon300

Creating new projects to optimize BlackBerry 10 apps

Since first releasing the BlackBerry 10 SDK in early 2012, BlackBerry has continued to work on improving their tools. I have recently discovered that significant optimizations are made in newly created Cascades projects. I am currently working on an update to my Stuff I Need app, and have been able to get a 17% reduction in the app’s file size simply by recreating the project from scratch in Momentics. In addition to the smaller install size, the app also appears to be launching quicker. This was done with no changes at all to my code. Using all of the same assets, qml, and c++ files, I created a new project, and then copied my existing files in. The new project contains a few changes to the .pro and the bar-descriptor.xml files, but the majority of the changes seem to be taking place behind the scenes. So for anyone that has been writing BlackBerry Cascades apps for a while now, it may be worth it to recreate your apps and get some free optimizations to your code.