Referring to my post about the new editor app make sure to update the IBM Connections app as well. The latest update for Android and iOS adds support for IBM Connections Editor amongst other things which also solved the editing problem on the BlackBerry.
yeah.. why would you do that? there is no solution which comes close to the BlackBerry Hub and I’m certainly not moving to an app with less functionality. Still, out of curiosity I wanted to know how the IBM Verse app would behave on a BlackBerry.
I’m not getting into details about how to install an Android app as there are plenty of “how-to’s” but will share some of my findings.
Security / Device password
The initial sync didn’t work at first because of a security issue.
Basically Traveler didn’t recognize the Picture Password as a device password and therefore refused to synchronize because a device password is a requirement set in the policy.
After the initial sync I changed my device password back to a Picture Password and the sync continued to work.
I didn’t see any issues here. The notifications for mail/calendar work, same with the Actions (Needs Action/Waiting For) or the synchronization of data. Creating mails, answering them and any interaction with calendar items, i.e. the creation of events out of an email, were OK as well.
“Negative” points (bearing in mind that it’s not a native app)
The app is a battery drainer! I’m using a BlackBerry Passport and I rarely need to charge it but since using the Verse app it was a daily activity.
There is no control/separation of work data. I can freely copy data from my business mail and paste it anywhere I want. This is something I can control with BES and don’t want to miss as a security feature.
On the positive side, the uninstall worked like a charm 😉
The calendar got some improvements too, here are a few of the things I like besides the earlier mentioned meeting mode and events overview in the Hub.
The calendar views provide more information at a glance.
In this example of a day view you see that there are different calendar accounts and entries with the square and sphere icons in different colors on top. It also shows you a general weekly overview.
Square = Full Day Event / Sphere = Meeting/Appointment
Another little helper is the time left in the notification box and the change in color shortly before the appointment is due.
For meetings there is also the option to notify the organiser, or everyone, if you are running late
and a feature I use quite often, the custom snooze to remind me of an appointment.
Let’s focus on the BlackBerry Hub, one of my favourite features of OS10 bringing together your communication channels into one place.
Besides the already known color coding it is now easier to act on multiple entries. The option to file or delete a message, or several if you select more than one, is available right away.
The option to file/delete a message also shows up when closing a message, giving you the option to act on the message right away.
A new graphical help are the icons showing if a message has been replied to or forwarded from your mobile. Only the last action is visible, so if you reply and then forward the same message, you will only see the forwarding icon.
Often overlooked is the great search functionality within the Hub. Press and hold a message to get the options sliding in from the right. Besides the usual actions to forward/reply, add the sender to the contacts and so forth, there are also two search options to search by the selected subject or sender, giving you an overview of all messages right away.
There is also a nice overview of upcoming events right at your fingertips. Especially the time left before the event takes place is a great addition.
Apparently some BlackBerry users are reluctant to upgrade their OS10 devices to 10.3.1 but in my opinion they really should upgrade. For some devices the battery drain might be higher but there are also settings which can help to prevent it.
I’ll post some of the new OS 10.3.1. settings in the next few days.
Home Screen / Icons
As with most OS upgrades, the app icons have been redesigned as well. For a change I like what the design team did.
But now to the real deal and new features.
Do you forget to switch your notification profile to silent or vibrate before a meeting now and then? Enable the Meeting Mode and don’t think about it anymore. Automatically switch your phone to silent or to your prefered profile settings when a meeting starts according to your calendar entries.
The camera settings got an update as well and are easier to set. From a HDR notification when trying to catch moving targets, to timer settings, the panorama functions and more.
A small but nice addition is the ability to take a snapshot while recording a movie by simply pressing the camera icon.
Battery saving mode
A no brainer, just enable and choose your settings
more to follow..
One of the highlights with the BlackBerry OS update 10.3.1 is the availability of BlackBerry Blend.
Basically it gives you the opportunity to access data from your BlackBerry by pairing the device with your computer or tablet.
You then use the BlackBerry Blend app on your computer/tablet to access the BlackBerry Blend Dashboard which gives you access to work as well as personal accounts/data
You can read/answer your messages on a bigger screen and use the keyboard to type but the real benefit in my opinion is that you don’t have to configure your work account on your private tablet or transfer files from you device. As BlackBerry puts it “No saving to a cloud, no transferring information between devices. It’s just there.”
There are a few settings which are controlled by BES policies so you might have to check with your admin if a feature does now work. Policies for BlackBerry Blend are available in BES 10.2.4 or later.
Find out more about BlackBerry Blend here
As I had written a few months back, one of the features I really like on BlackBerry 10 devices are the BlackBerry Work Drives. I think it is an underrated feature which helped me more than once when I needed to move or transfer data between the device and my computer or network drive at work. Yes, you still need to use a BES and it only works in the Work space of the device but I’m more than OK with that. It’s not an app I use every day but sometimes, when for whatever reason email or storing in the cloud are not an option or possible, it’s an easy way to get to the data.
A few days ago I needed a file I knew I had downloaded on my laptop at work but couldn’t remember the site I got it from. So I fired up Blackberry Work Drives, connected to my Download folder and grabbed the document from there. While accessing the app I also got notified about an update being available. Besides some design changes and bug fixing, i.e. folders with “Umlaute” are now supported, the main improvements are:
- Easy authentication with integration in BlackBerry 10 Credential Manager
- Easier access for users now with remote drive mapping by BES administrator
- Support for Microsoft SharePoint
What it didn’t say though was that you need BES 10.2.3 to have the remote drive mapping. Luckily it is available since yesterday as well.
Apparently the SharePoint integration does not work that well, or at all, but I have no SP site to test so I can’t comment on that.