Pixelated exceeds 5,000 reviews

Following Pixelated’s recent upgrade to version 3.3 the game has exceeded 5,000 reviews in the BlackBerry World store. Even with so many reviews, the game continues to have a four out of five star rating. One of my favorite reviews to be posted in recent months is below.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of Pixelated.


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Guest Posts

I have spent the last few days with guest posts on other websites.

Why you should use the captive runtime for your Android apps

For Android apps compiled against Adobe AIR, it is best if you include the entire AIR runtime as part of your distributable .apk file. It may not be as nice from a programing standpoint, but it is far better for the end user. I have three Android apps in the Google Play store (Xploding Boxes, Runaway Trains, and Black Out), at first I relied upon users to download AIR for themselves, but have since realized that bundling the runtime gives a much better experience for Android users.

For developers the idea of having the AIR runtime as a separate installation presents a much prettier (and more loosely coupled) architecture. It allows the app to have a smaller file size, and to share the AIR platform with any other apps that need to make use of it, while also allowing the two installations to be updated individually.

However on Android (unlike the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Barnes and Noble Nook) the AIR framework is not preinstalled on the OS, so if the captive runtime is not used to bundle AIR into your .apk than when users first launch the app they are presented with a screen asking them to go download and instal Adobe AIR. This is just giving your users another chance to quit, and ignore your app, and even resulted in a poor review for one of my apps from a user who did not understand what Adobe AIR was.

Instead if you bundle AIR into your app using the captive runtime you result in a larger distributable file, but when the user goes to launch it for the first time it is guaranteed to just work.

Mileage Tracker updated to version 1.1

IMG_00000033The Mileage Tracker app has been updated to version 1.1 in BlackBerry World. This new version adds smoother animations between screens, and automatically assigns focus to fields as needed in order to make the flow of the app quicker. Additionally an option has been added to automatically attach exported files to an email, so you can share your data with others.

About Mileage Tracker

Mileage tracker is a free app designed to help you track the miles you drive on each trip for use on tax deductions, accounting, or employee reimbursements. Instead of keeping this information charted on your computer, it makes much more sense to be able to track this directly on your phone, which you normally would have with you in the car already.

MenuTrips can be grouped into categories, and edited (or deleted) at a later date. Following a one time in-app payment you can export your data into an Excel compatible .csv format and a pretty (and sortable) .html format.

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New Animal Sounds app launched

IMG_00000071Animal Sounds is a brand new free app for BlackBerry 10 that has just launched. The app allows you to click on an image of an animal, and hear what sound that animal makes.

This app was originally created as a challenge to myself to create a brand new app in less than 24 hours. In the end, I finished it in less than 12. The details of this process have been documented at Storify.

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Second anniversary of Xploding Boxes

IMG_00000064It has now been two years since Xploding Boxes was originally launched for BlackBerry phones in 2011. The app has grown much since then, and in the past year alone has added an additional 90 levels, as well as adding support for Android, Windows 8, and BlackBerry 10.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry, Nook, Android, and Windows 8, in which the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve. The first 25 levels are free, while the full 360 levels can be accessed by making an in-application payment and requiring no further downloads. This game is available for the BlackBerry PlayBook, most BlackBerry phones running OS 5.0 or higher, BlackBerry 10 phones, the Nook Color and Nook Tablet, most Android phones running OS 2.2 or higher, as well as Windows 8 tablets and laptops.

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What non-BlackBerry developers think of BlackBerry 10

Last week I had the opportunity to present on BlackBerry 10 development a local mobile developers group. The members of this group are mainly a mix of iOS and Windows developers, and it was interesting to hear what their thoughts were on BlackBerry 10.

  • The group was genuinely excited about BlackBerry 10. Given that most of the devs in this group focus on other platforms, I was a bit surprised at the optimism that the the group had for this platform. I guess that I am still getting used to how much opinions on BlackBerry have changed over the last six months.
  • Most developers are looking for easy ports. While I personally think that Cascades is the way to go for writing BlackBerry 10 apps, most interest was in writing apps via Android or Phone Gap.
  • The Personal/Work Personas offered by BlackBerry Balance is a big deal. Given that I have personally never connected my phone to a corporate network, I have a tendency to ignore all enterprise news. However, the group had a lot of excitement about this feature.

Update: A week later I remember some more thoughts that people had…

  • Signing up for a dev account is easy. One developer signed up for a developer account while at the meeting, and told me it was easy to do. I knew this had changed since I signed up for an account four years ago, but it is good to see this process become painless.
  • The group was concerned about the approval process. After hearing that apps went through an approval process, most assumed the worse and that apps would be subject to an Apple style process that would reject due to not following UI guidelines. I tried to assure them that the process was rather lenient and that I have never had an app that was rejected.
  • Phone gap devs were already familiar with Ripple. While they said that it was not good enough to replace a true simulator, they liked the tool. BlackBerry should use this opportunity to recruit more HTML5 developers.

98.1% of PlayBook users on newest OS version


PlayBook users have always been quick to upgrade to the newest OS version, and January saw that pattern continue. While most users were already on OS 2.1.0 going into the month, January saw 98.1% of users on the most recent OS version.

This data was collected by BlackBerry World at the time of download, for the popular PlayBook strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of January 2012 through the end of January 2013.

Hockey Scores app updated with support for BlackBerry 10

IMG_00000096The Hockey Scores app has been updated to version 3.0 in the first update that the app has seen since since 2011. In addition to adding better support for the new season, version 3.0 also adds support for BlackBerry 10 phones with a rewrite of the app in Cascades.

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 the goal scorers.

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No change in the distribution of BBOS


While last week saw the launch of BlackBerry 10, the majority of BlackBerry users are still on the classic BlackBerry operating system. The distribution of operating system versions is almost completely unchanged from where it was in December. With users of higher end devices more likely to able to afford to upgrade to BlackBerry 10 there is even the possibility that the percentage of users on OS 6 and 7 may actually even go down in the coming months.

This data was taken from downloads of the free BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of January 2012 through the end of January 2013.

Stuff I Need app released for BlackBerry 10

IMG_00000093The Stuff I Need is a free app that has been released for BlackBerry 10. This minimalist app allows you to either list the stuff that you need to buy, or the stuff that you need to do.

This app was originally designed as a grocery list app, but is flexible enough to be used for any purpose. Existing items can be edited or deleted by giving them a long press.