Category Archives: BlackBerry10

Weather Beautiful is a new app for BlackBerry 10

IMG_20150421_160343Weather Beautiful is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll down for a full weekly forecast.

The background images for the app feature landscapes taken in the area surrounding your current location. These pictures update every fifteen seconds in order to show you more views.

The app can be downloaded for free from BlackBerry World for all BlackBerry 10 phones.

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Classic Camera app updated to version 1.1

IMG_20150308_122951.cropThe Classic Camera app has been updated to version 1.1 in BlackBerry World. This new version of the app gives phones with physical keyboards the ability to also capture pictures by using the spacebar. Additionally, users now also have the option to give the camera an audible shutter noise. By default this is turned off, but users can activate it through the options screen that can be accessed from the swipe down menu.

About Classic Camera

On the newest versions of BlackBerry 10, the default camera app no longer allows you to capture a picture by simply allowing you to tap anywhere on the screen. So the Classic Camera is a third party camera that restores this behavior. Additionally there are options on the bottom of the screen to quickly toggle the flash, camera, and image ratio. After capturing an image a preview will appear in the lower left corner that can be tapped to preview or edit the most recently taken photo.

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Head Words updated to version 1.2

ShapeItAppThe Head Words game has been updated to version 1.2 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This new version adds the Candy category, and made some adjustments to the tilt sensitivity of the game.

About Head Words

Head Words is a native (Built for BlackBerry approved) 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 nine additional categories for a dollar each.

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Use of 10.3 exceeds 50%

With OS 10.3.1 rolled out for most users over the course of an entire month the majority of users have upgraded to the newest version of BlackBerry 10. 54.3% of Pixelated users, and 67.2% of Stuff I Need users were running a version of OS 10.3 in the month of March.

While much better than BBOS, this is actually a bit slower than the roll out of OS 10.2.0 and 10.2.1 was a year ago. Holding BlackBerry back is the fact that a good number of carriers have still not rolled out the update. For developers, the need to maintain support for OS 10.2.1 isn’t yet gone.

2015Mar-Pixelated-BB10OSVersions
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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 March 2014 through the end of March 2015.

Xploding Boxes updated with Windows Phone support

wp_ss_20150324_0002Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 5.3 in BlackBerry World, Google Play, the Amazon app store, the Nook app store, the Windows 8 app store, and the Windows Phone app store. This update adds 10 new levels to the game, and also adds support for Windows Phones for the first time.

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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Amazon now allowing for fine grained control of BlackBerry app Support

With the Amazon app store coming pre-installed on new BlackBerry 10 phones, Amazon is continuing to improve the support given to developers. Last month Amazon began explicitly adding BlackBerry phones to their testing procedures, and now they are giving developers the option to individually select support for various BlackBerry phones.

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Previously all BlackBerry phones were just included under the generic “all other Android devices” category while a specific per device breakdown like what is now offered was only available for the Amazon Fire line of products.

How to invoke the Classic Camera app

The Classic Camera app can be invoked using the following code…


InvokeManager mInvokeManager = new InvokeManager(this);
connect(mInvokeManager,
      SIGNAL(childCardDone(const
      bb::system::CardDoneMessage&)), this,
      SLOT(childCardDone(const
      bb::system::CardDoneMessage&)));
InvokeRequest request;
request.setAction("bb.action.CAPTURE");
request.setTarget("com.ebscer.classiccamera.card");
request.setMimeType("image/jpeg");
mInvokeManager->invoke(request);

The response data contains the file name of the captured image.

Thoughts on BlackBerry Cascades from 2011

Flipping through an old notebook, I came across my notes on BlackBerry Cascades from BlackBerry DevCon 2011. This was half a year before the framework was released, and a good year and a half before the launch of BlackBerry 10. Since then I have become an expert at Cascades, but it is interesting to see some of my earlier thoughts.IMG_20150311_233508_crop

  • 2D and 3D
  • 90% of UI could be lists
  • QML declarative UI from Qt
  • Asynchronous to help rendering rate
  • Signals to handle events
  • List Types – (SQL,XML,JSON)
  • Uses BBX IDE
  • QML looks nicer than C++
  • Beta in fall (November)
  • Everything in BBX is Qt

Somethings I got right, and with some others I look a little silly. For example Cascades has no support for 3D. In fact Cascades is actively bad at working in three dimensions and doesn’t even support giving z-values to elements. Also the beta wasn’t launched in November (at the time only a month away), but instead the next May. The emphasis on lists was a bit overblown. Creating 90% of an app out of lists can be true for pretty much any framework, and somewhat ironically I don’t actually use a ListView for creating the lists in most of my apps anyhow. The one thing that was apparent to me from the very beginning is that QML is far nicer than C/C++ ever was…

My annoyance with the 10.3 camera

With OS 10.3 BlackBerry has added many great features such as app folders with an unlimited size, apps with theme colors, and advanced interaction’s like “Lift to Wake” feature. Despite all of this the newest version of the operating system took a step back with the new version of the camera. Unlike previous versions of the BlackBerry 10 camera app that allowed you to tap anywhere on the screen to take a picture the new version of the app requires you to use a small button on the bottom of the screen. Not only is this the loss of a feature, but it also sometimes makes it tricky to hold the phone when taking a picture.

IMG_20150309_130646_editGranted this is a minor annoyance, but I decided to fixed it anyways. So I created a new camera app.

The Classic Camera app can be purchased from BlackBerry World for $1. This camera makes it easy to take a picture by simply allowing you to tap anywhere on the screen. Also, there are options on the bottom of the screen to quickly toggle the flash, camera, and image ratio. After capturing an image a preview will appear in the lower left corner that can be tapped to preview or edit the most recently taken photo.

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BlackBerry users begin to switch over to 10.3

After half a year of waiting, BlackBerry has finally released 10.3.1 to most of their users. A number of carriers are still holding back updates, but the newest BlackBerry OS is finally getting a chance to take off. With the release coming later in the month this isn’t fully shown in the monthly averages, but adoption has been quick and is broadly over 60%.

2015Feb-Pixelated-BB10OSVersions
2015Feb-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 February 2014 through the end of February 2015.

Z10 and Q10 remain the most popular BlackBerry phones

Two years after the release of BlackBerry 10 the original Z10 and Q10 remain the most popular phones. Meanwhile the Passport is approximately three times as popular as the Classic so far.

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Overall 39.9% of BlackBerry 10 users have a phone with a physical keyboard.

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

Starbeams updated to add support for Windows Phone

wp_ss_20150224_0003Starbeams has been updated to version 2.0 which expands the number of available levels up to 200. This new version of the game also adds support for Windows Phone in addition to BlackBerry 10 and Windows 8 operating systems.

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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Customers quick to switch to OS 10.3.1

On February 19th BlackBerry finally released an OS update for their existing in market phones, making OS 10.3.1 available to customers beyond those using the BlackBerry Passport. A few carriers (such as Verizon) are still dragging their heals, but the new OS is now an option for most. Traditionally BlackBerry 10 users have been very quick to adopt new OS versions, and initial results show that 10.3.1 is no different.

First a disclaimer. The following data is presented on a per day basis, making the sample sizes relatively small. In an attempt to make the sample sizes as large as possible data from across different apps have been merged together into a single data set, which itself can have an effect on the data. As a result the data is a bit more messy than the monthly averages I typically post.

10.3.1.Launch

Even over this short period of time the update of 10.3.1 is very noticeable. In the six days before the 19th only 11.2% of users were running the newest OS, while that number jumped up 62.6% in the six days following the 19th.

This data was collected by BlackBerry World for downloads of all Ebscer apps that support BlackBerry 10. Data shown on the chart is from the February 13th, 2015 through February 25th, 2015.

Buffalo Metro Rail app updated

IMG_20150219_103945The app for the Buffalo Metro Rail has been updated for both Android and BlackBerry. This update fixes a date related bug, and also resizes the map for BlackBerry Z10 users.

About the Buffalo Metro Rail app

This 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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Head Words gets three new categories

IMG_20150122_123537The Head Words game has been updated to version 1.1 in BlackBerry World. This updated adds Bible, Celebrities, and Singers as three brand new categories in the app. Additionally, the app now prevents the screen from timing out while a game is in progress.

About Head Words

Head Words 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 eight additional categories for a dollar each.

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