Two thirds of BlackBerry 10 users on 10.2.1 within the first 24 hours

BlackBerry officially released OS 10.2.1 this past Tuesday, and despite a few wireless carriers blocking the update for their users, the majority of users who downloaded my apps on Wednesday were already running the newest version of the OS. Taking the average from users of Pixelated and the Stuff I Need apps shows 66.61% of users on the newest OS just a day after it officially launched.


Statistics were collected by BlackBerry World for downloads on January 29th of the free strategy game Pixelated and the free checklist app Stuff I Need. Because this is a snapshot of just a single day, the overall sample size is significantly smaller than for most of the statistics that are posted on this site.

Xploding Boxes version 4.8 brings new levels

level174An update to Xploding Boxes has increased the total number of levels to 420. This update also brings some tweaks to the swipe down menu on BlackBerry 10 devices, and a smaller install size for the Windows 8, Nook, and PlayBook versions of the app.

Additionally, Xploding Boxes has received its official ESRB rating, and is rated E for everyone.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry, Android, Nook, Windows 8, and BlackBerry 10 where 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 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 maintaining your progress from the free levels.

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Prem Watsa’s acquisition of BlackBerry did not fail

Much has been written about Prem Watsa’s failed acquisition of BlackBerry, and most of it strikes me as being wrong. Especially the part about it having failed.

In September 2013 Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial announced its intention to take BlackBerry private for $4.7 billion. While Fairfax already owned around 10% of BlackBerry they wanted to take the company private without investing any additional money of their own. This arrangement would have allowed Fairfax to have control over how BlackBerry was run.

While the full amount of money was never raised it is seems safe to say that Fairfax has managed to take control of BlackBerry without investing any additional money of their own. In a November 2013 announcement Fairfax effectively used their 10% ownership in order to take control of the company, by placing it under their own hand-picked CEO and putting forth their own vision for the future of BlackBerry. Granted, Fairfax did give BlackBerry a loan, but it is hard to give Prem Watsa too much credit for that given the very health 6% interest rate that Fairfax is getting in return.

At the end of the day it is hard to say that Prem Watsa didn’t get exactly what he wanted out of the deal insofar as that he was able to leverage his 10% ownership into complete control of the company. While this looks to be in the best long term interest of Fairfax financial, I have to question whether or not it is best for the users and developers of BlackBerry phones.

The useless products of CES

Last week was CES and very many new products and product categorizes were shown off, yet all of these products are completely useless. Except for the robots. Robots are always awesome.

Yet the highlights of CES are things like smart watches which (in my opinion) are a complete waste of time. I wrote about this before, but having a smart watch is not practical when you already have a phone in your pocket that does everything you need to do. There is really no demand for a secondary screen, when all other pressure is about condensing everything down to a single device.

The other trend at CES was towards devices like Fitbit that measure your physical activity. Personally I consider myself to be an athlete, and run 5-6 times a week, but I have no interest in these technologies. Sure, it is possible to measure my distance, heart rate, speed, step-count, and a thousand other factors, but I just don’t care. I am happy to continue running in a low tech environment, and see no advantage to tracking every single detail of my workout. Just because something can be measured, doesn’t mean that it matters.

And I certainly don’t need a bluetooth fork…

Starbeams expands to 150 levels

Q10Version 1.5 of Starbeams expands the game to a total of 150 different levels. The game can be download from both BlackBerry World and the Windows 8 Store.

New in Version 1.5

This update to the game adds levels 141-150, while also adding support for the ‘T’ and ‘B’ keyboard shortcuts to the Windows 8 version of the game.

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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Update for Stuff I Need app

IMG_00000023The BlackBerry 10 version of the Stuff I Need app has been updated to version 2.3 and is available for download now. This update gives the app a quicker start up time, and also improves the overall efficiency of the app.

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. 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.

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Liar’s Dice updated

2.2.Q10Liar’s Dice has been updated to version 2.2 in BlackBerry World. This new version has a smaller instal size, and also adds support for a swipe-down menu.

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_00000052The 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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Use of BlackBerry OS 4.x falls below 1%

While I stopped actively working on apps for OS 4.x two years ago, it wasn’t until this past month that use of the now ancient OS finally fell below 1%. In my very first post on BlackBerry OS statistics from back in 2009, I expressed my surprise that 49% of users will still on the 4.6 operating system. After a few years of charting these statistics I am no longer surprised my the slow upgrade cycle on BBOS, but it is nice to see this older OS disappear for good.

However, the rest of the chart is mainly unchanged from the previous month.


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 December 2012 through the end of December 2013, and does not include BlackBerry 10 or PlayBook devices.

Use of OS 10.2 increases only slightly in December

While BlackBerry 10 had previously been seeing very aggressive upgrade rates, December saw only a modest uptick in those using the latest OS version. This is most likely due to some wireless carriers (like Verizon) continuing to block this update from their users.



With 76.9% of Stuff I Need users running OS 10.2, users of the checklist app have once again been a bit quicker to adopt the newer OS than the users of Pixelated have been. For Pixelated use of the newest OS was up to 61.2% which is less than a two percent increase from November.

For December statistics on the distribution of BlackBerry 10 devices, see yesterday’s post on BerryReview. The short version is that the BlackBerry Z10 currently accounts for 62.2% of the market.

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 2013 through the end of December 2013.

Gender of Windows 8 gamers

I am not quite sure how Microsoft goes about collecting this information (and it is clearly incomplete), but for Windows 8 apps developers are provided with the breakdown of who downloaded their apps. The two charts below show the gender distribution for the two most popular Ebscer games on the Windows 8 store. As you can see, the two games show very different results.


These stats were collected by Microsoft for downloads of the games Pixelated and Xploding Boxes over the past 12 months.