Category Archives: BlackBerry

Liar’s Dice game adds support for the Passport and Classic

2.2.Q10Liar’s Dice has been updated to version 2.4 in BlackBerry World in order to add support for the newly released BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Classic phones.

About Liar’s Dice

This is a classic dice game of strategy and deception in which seeing only your own dice you must bet on the combined dice in play without getting caught in a lie.

The object of the game is to catch your opponent (the computer) betting too high. Bets are placed on both your own dice which you can see, and your opponent’s dice which are hidden from you. You begin each round by making a bet. The computer then has an opportunity to either call your bet a lie, or to bet higher then you. Then it is once again your turn to call your opponent’s bet or to bet even higher. This continues until eventually a bet is called. Then if the bet is too high the caller wins, or if the bet is not a lie, the bettor wins the round.

IMG_00000051The game has two main game modes. The “High Score” mode is the default mode, points are awarded for each round, and the first to gain a given number of points wins. The number of points required to win a game can be configured on the options page in order to allow for shorter or longer games.

The other option is for an “Elimination” mode in which the loser of each round loses one dice for the following rounds, and the last player with any dice left is the winner. This game is more dynamic as there are a different number of dice in play each round. Additionally games in this mode typically play faster than high score games.

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More levels for Xploding Boxes

Nexus4Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 5.1 with 10 all new levels. In addition to the new levels, this update includes some bug fixes for the Android and BlackBerry 10 versions of the app, custom highlight colors on BlackBerry 10.3, official support for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, as well as updating to the newest in-app purchase API’s for the Google Play store. The app also continues to support classic BBOS, Windows 8.1, and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game where the goal is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level presents a different look and number of touches, requiring a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while still maintaining your progress from the free levels.

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BBOS users don’t appear eager to update

One of the reasons I am a bit pessimistic about how well the soon to be released BlackBerry Classic will sell is that BlackBerry is positioning this phone as an upgrade for users still running BlackBerry OS. Yet I have seen how slow these customers have been to update their existing BBOS phones.

Following the release of BlackBerry 10 there has been very little motion in the BBOS user group. As of last month 21.2% of BBOS users were running OS 5.0 (or older) on what is now very outdated hardware. The most powerful of these phones are the Bold 9700 and Storm 9550 which were both released over five years ago and still do not have a webkit based browser. Use of OS 6 is not going away either as only slightly over half of all BBOS users are running OS 7 on their phones.

For as much as BlackBerry keeps talking about the need to transition BlackBerry 7 users, they also need to worry about upgrading BlackBerry 5 users as well.

StatsNovember2014

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 November 2013 through the end of November 2014, and does not include BlackBerry 10 or PlayBook devices.

BlackBerry Z10 accounts for less than half of active BB10 phones for the first time ever

The month of November saw the BlackBerry Z10 being used by 49.8% of active BlackBerry 10 users. This marks the first time since it launched, that the Z10 has accounted for less than half of all BlackBerry 10 phones. Still it has over twice as many users as the Q10 which is currently the second most popular phone.

Nov2014Devices

The BlackBerry Passport (the newest phone from BlackBerry) rose slightly from last month, and now accounts for one out of every 20 BlackBerry 10 phones.

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

Most BlackBerry users still waiting for OS 10.3

BlackBerry originally planned to have all their phones updated to OS 10.3.x by the end of November, however for most users this update has been delayed. Still with increased BlackBerry Passport sales, and a number of users running leaked OS versions, the number of users running 10.3 was up a bit from last month.

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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 November 2013 through the end of November 2014.

The BlackBerry Classic is both a distraction and a step backwards

The BlackBerry Classic is a device that many people are waiting for. It is the first new BlackBerry phone in over over three years to include the ‘toolbelt’ row of buttons across the middle. For anyone looking forwards to this phone, they are soon to be very disappointed.

classicBlackBerry 10 is very different from the old BlackBerry OS (and that is a good thing). With 2015 just around the corner, there is no longer any utility to be gained from the buttons that the toolbelt adds to the phone. Let’s address them one at a time.

First up is the send/call key. Even on BBOS this key did very little, and was only used for answering or starting phone calls. Five years ago when I got my first BlackBerry there was little use for this key, and given that next to nobody makes phone calls these days, this key is even more useless.

Next up is the menu key, which is arguably the most useful of the toolbelt keys. Having a physical menu key allows the screen to remain clear of any navigation, and makes it quick and easy for the menu to be accessed at any time. For most apps I expect this key to be equivalent to hitting the ‘more’ button on the action menu. However as both Cascades and Android based apps have had to exist for a few years now without any guarantee of a physical menu button, most apps will already be showing a virtual menu button on the screen anyhow.

The back button is in a similar situation of the menu key in that it was a solid idea, but given the current state of app development has become redundant to an on-screen back button that is now unlikely to go away. Given that BlackBerry 10 didn’t replicate the iOS/Android mistake of placing these controls on the top of the screen, they can be easily accessed without the hardware buttons.

The final key is the end button which is used for ending phone calls and exiting to the homescreen. My guess is that BlackBerry will just map this to be equivalent to the swipe-up gesture, not adding any new functionality.

Of course the real excitement over the BlackBerry Classic is the return of the trackpad. This is also going to be the phone’s largest disappointment. The trackpad will be great at text selection, but anyone expecting to use the pad for app navigation is going to be disappointed. BlackBerry will probably support the trackpad well on the homescreen and in the hub, but there will be next to no support when it comes to third party apps.

Even back on BBOS having to support navigation via the trackpad was always a pain for developers as opposed to using the touchscreen. Given the popularity of the Curve series of phones, developers relented because they had no other way to support these phones. The trackpad was then often supported on the Torch 9800 and Bold 9900 series because the work had been done already. On BlackBerry 10 that is not the case. With every phone supporting a touch screen, adding support for navigation via the track-pad is not required and many developers (including myself) will have no interest in adding this. Developers have already spent two years writing Cascades apps that were not designed with the trackpad in mind, and any Android-based apps are definitely not going to support trackpad navigation.

The most anticipated feature of the BlackBerry Classic, will be one that the users will mostly not have the opportunity to use.

New version of Twinkle released

ShapeItAppTwinkle has been updated to version 5.4 in BlackBerry World. This update adds support for the BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Classic, sets a custom theme color for users on OS 10.3, and fixes a date releated bug.

About Twinkle

Twinkle is an app that allows you to set and keep track of upcoming and past events. Twinkle will tell you how far away an event is, and share it with a friends through social networks. The app includes an number of options for sorting or filtering your views in order to allow you to easily be able to manage and share a large number of different events. Additionally the app is a share target, so you can share calendar events direct with the app.

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Version 1.9 of Starbeams released

Q10Version 1.9 of the Starbeams game has been released in both BlackBerry World and the Windows 8 app store. This version adds ten brand new levels. Also the Windows 8 version of the game has now been optimized for Windows 8.1 and the BlackBerry version of the game, now backs up game progress to your BlackBerryID.

About Starbeams

The object of the game is to assign colors to each star in order to ensure that none of the stars are connected to another star of the same color. The game starts off easy, but quickly gets more complex, adding more colors and seven pointed stars that can not be changed.

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OS 7 now used by 55.7% of BBOS users

Since the launch of BlackBerry 10 almost two years ago, there has been only slow changes among the population of BlackBerry users that continue to use the classic BlackBerry operating system. Still some progress has been made in getting users working towards (slightly) newer OS versions.

The month of October saw 55.7% of users running OS 7 and 78.7% of users on OS 6 or higher.

StatsOctober2014

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 October 2013 through the end of October 2014, and does not include BlackBerry 10 or PlayBook devices.

App released for Buffalo Metro Rail

IMG_20141110_114039The new Buffalo Metro Rail app shows the departure times for trains along Buffalo’s Metro route. The app automatically selects the proper schedule for the day, allows for sorting options, and also shows a map of the full light rail line. Additionally the app only needs to be synced once a month, and can otherwise be used without an active internet connection.

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Wireless carriers of choice for BlackBerry 10 users

A look at the most popular wireless carriers for BlackBerry 10 users generally mirror the popularity of these companies on a whole. One exception is Sprint, whose decision not to be a BlackBerry 10 launch partner continues to leave it underrepresented. In Canada there are far more users on smaller carriers, but less so than there were 18 months ago.

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CarriersOct2014CAN

This data was taken from downloads of the free BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the the month of October 2014, and only includes BlackBerry 10 phones.

Popularity of BlackBerry 10 phones

While the BlackBerry Z10 continues to hold on to slightly over half of all devices (at 50.1%), it is down significantly from October 2013 where it was 68.5% of the market. The BlackBerry Passport has gotten off to a decent start at 4.1% of the market.

Oct2014Devices

The month of October saw 39.5% of users having a physical keyboard, which is the largest this percentage has ever been since the launch of BlackBerry 10.

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

Most users still on OS 10.2.1

October once again saw the majority of BlackBerry 10 users running OS 10.2.1 on their phones. This is mainly due to BlackBerry not officially releasing OS 10.3.0 for any users besides those on the Passport. While the percentage of users on the newest OS (4.3% on Pixelated and 15.1% on Stuff I Need) is higher than the percentage of Passport users, most people (including myself) seem to be waiting for an official update from BlackBerry.

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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 October 2013 through the end of October 2014.

Another 10 levels for Runaway Trains

The Runaway Trains game has been updated to version 2.8 in BlackBerry World and the Google Play Store. This update adds ten new levels, and ensures that the BlackBerry version of the game is now compatible OS 10.3.1 which is expected to be released within the next month.

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About Runaway Trains

Runaway Trains is a colorful strategy game for all ages where you must route the trains to the proper station. Each level progresses in difficulty and presents an unique puzzle which you must solve by finding a way to guide the coloured trains causing a collision or running out of track.

This is done by touching the intersections to toggle the open path of the tracks. If at any time the trains crash or end up at the wrong station, you will have lost and have to try again.

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Android app on Google Play