Category Archives: BlackBerry10

BlackBerry has now gone a full year without pushing an OS update

One year ago today BlackBerry released OS 10.2.1 as an update for all BlackBerry 10 phones. Since then BlackBerry has developed both OS 10.3.0 and 10.3.1 but have yet to release these updates for an in-market phones.


Originally the current devices were expected to get a new OS in November, but that has been continually delayed. Instead BlackBerry has allowed their new user base to become fragmented and have begun driving customers towards downloading leaked OS versions. Based on statistics collected from users of my apps, I am seeing the most people running leaked OS versions than I have since 2009. BlackBerry needs to get it together, and push out OS 10.3.1 to their full user base.

New Head Words game released for BlackBerry

ShapeItAppHead Words is a new free party game for BlackBerry 10. This is a multi-player guessing game similar to Celebrity, Hedbanz, and Heads Up. After selecting a category, one player places the phone on their forehead while the other players give clues. With one minute to guess as many words as possible, the player can tilt the phone down for each correct answer, or tilt the phone up to pass. At the end of round a word list will show what was guessed right and wrong. The swipe down menu provides an option to turn the sound on or off.

The game includes five categories for free, and the option to purchase access to five additional categories for a dollar each. An update will bring even more categories to the game in the future.

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Expanded device support for 10,000 Farkle

Q10-deviceThe game 10,000 Farkle has gotten updated to version 2.5 in BlackBerry World. This update adds support for the recently released BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Classic while also reducing the file size of the app by 2.5 percent.

How to Play Farkle

Farkle gives you six dice to roll and awards points for a straight, three pairs or three or more of the same number. Fewer points ares also awarded for each individual 1 and 5. Any dice that do not score can be re-rolled for additional points. If all 6 dice can be scored, then all of the dice can be re-rolled on the same turn.

The skill in this game comes from knowing how far to push your luck, and which scoring combinations to take, and when to re-roll.

The default game mode gives you 10 turns to score as many points as you can. The 10,000 point mode gives you unlimited turns to reach 10,000 points. The two competitive game modes both use the traditional format of racing to 10,000 points.

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BlackBerry 10 platform becoming more fragmented

Last month BlackBerry unveiled OS 10.3.1 yet allowed very few of their users to download and install the new operating system. This is beginning to lead to a very fragmented landscape as very few users are on the newest version of the OS, and most users are actually two versions back on an operating system that by the end of the month, will be over a year old.

In slightly better news, over 99% of users are now running OS 10.1 or higher. Additionally, users of leaked OS versions have propped up the usage of OS 10.3.X beyond just those that have purchased the Classic or the Passport.



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 December 2013 through the end of December 2014.

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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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.


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.



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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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.



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.


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).