-NEWEST UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST-
BB10 FEEDBACK AND COMMENTS: Ok. So I am totally into this thing. 2 big thumbs up. But until this morning, I was pretty pissed, and considering how to continue using my BB and GS3. Initially it was a snap to set up anything to do with social networking. Piece of cake, no issues there. Integrating hotmail was painless (mail, calendar, and contacts). Gmail I fought with a LOT, and that was one of the biggest things that really pissed me off. I'd read a lot of other similar complaints as well on the web, with respect to GMAIL integration. My issue was related to some security settings, and application/device specific passwords. After I realized that this morning, I instantly got my full Gmail (mail, calendar, contacts). Now I'm rocking, as my Gmail has my master contact database. The BB10 is cool in that it allows you to store contacts based on the email account they are attached to. So you can see your gmail contacts, or hotmail contacts, or facebook or linkedin contacts, or work email contacts, or all at the same time. Very cool. The only other thing that really bugged me, was the lack of apps that I use regularly. None of the following are on BB AppWorld at the time of this. TD Bank, Starbucks, Netflix, WhatsApp, WebEx, Wyse Pocket Cloud, Ebay, Paypal, google chrome, opentable, skype, winamp, and a few others I use. So this is why I was considering hauling around dual phones. I fricking love those apps and use them a lot, and have now become dependent on them. Then what I found out this morning as well, that completely changed me 100% in love with BB10, and in my mind, this CRUSHES what apple is doing. You can load almost ANY android app onto BB10. Yes. Let me say that again. You can load almost ANY android app onto BB10. This is done through a process called sideloading. deadly cool. It's not super easy, and it's quite technical, but it works. So until developers write apps for BB10 specifically, you can sideload them as long as they are in the google play store. Heres a great article that explains sideloading: http://bit.ly/WYTOUU . Bottom line, go line up for these things. Sandman out.
ADDENDUM: keyboard and software are AWESOME...comparable to SwiftKey. Battery life seems ok as well, no better or worse than other BB's or the GS3. Like the GS3, the battery is accessible, so I got a spare as well. The BB Hub is a great concept, and it makes it fast and easy to switch between apps, accounts, and various functions. Browsing is snappy, with about a 500% increase in performance compared to previous BB browsers. I also accidentally dropped it from about 6 feet onto concrete yesterday, and it bounced. Small barely visible dent on the case, no screen, body, or electronics damage at all. By contrast, I dropped my GS3 from about 2 and a half feet, and the screen looks like a bird hit a windshield. Solid and sturdy, just like we've come to expect from our Blackberries. I will add more stuff as I come across it. There was a lot of swearing earlier in the week :-)
UPDATE: FEB 11/13
Been using the device pretty much full time at this point, and the GS3 is turned off. Slightly sad to be honest, as that was a damn good phone. Haven't started sideloading any apps on yet, haven't had the time. The more I use the keyboard, the easier it is to use. Like SwiftKey, the predictive algorithms are very good. I like the way you can now swipe a word and it will auto finish it for you. cool feature. The one thing I'm struggling with, and maybe someone here can help me out, when I am staring at any one of my inboxes, in previous BB land you could use the "U" to scroll between unread messages. I relied on that very heavily, and I organized my messages the same way on the GS3. I can't seem to find the same feature on BB10. Big annoyance. Like I said, hopefully someone has come across this already and can point me in the right direction. Another change, is that if I want to delete a message, I have to drill into it, then hit a button, then hit delete. Takes too long to delete something. Again, in old BB land, just by highlighting the message and hitting delete, it's gone. Same on the GS3. Select a message, then hit the trash can icon. Anyone know how to overcome this? For those of you that use the "T" and "B" keyboard functions on your current BB, they are still there, sort of. From the mail inbox, you need to hit a button, then select either top or bottom. Not as quick and easy. Searching is good, folder integration is great, and the device feels pretty snappy overall. Haven't had a chance to push the browser much. I'm not used to really surfing from my phone. Again maps, no problems at all. I will also sideload Google Maps just for the sake of comparison.
Feel free to post questions or comments as well.
REVELATION ON 12/02 at 12:36am
Just figured out how to mark messages read or unread, and delete them without having to drill fully into the message. From any inbox screen, if you press and hold down on a message, a side menu appears. From this side menu, you can mark messages as read or unread, as well as delete them. Would still like to learn if there is a "U" feature.
over and out
12/02 9:29am MST
Some more information about the Android connection to BB10. This is fantastic news! The implications of this are huge, and if BB plays their cards right, this connection could be a monumental part in their longevity.
In fact, if they were smart, they would consider the value of shutting down their money losing app store and that part of the business, and focus on integrating with Google Play. Now that would be slick. All Android and BB apps, cross compatible, available from one store. Very cool. Especially from a developer perspective.
Thanks RK for the link!
13/02 9:22am MST
Still playing around with the device, and learning a few new things every day. I figured out how to select more than one message for deletion or moving or what ever. press and hold down on a message, and a little side menu appears. From there, you can select the "select" key. Then scroll through the message list, select multiple messages, then hit delete or mark as read/unread, or what ever. Getting very used to the hub concept, and it is definitely a time saver. Very very easy to flip between apps or mailboxes, and no issues with multiple mail accounts and calendars co-existing simultaneously.
Battery drain is a bit concerning however. I use my smartphone a LOT, and have always had problems with running out of juice. I normally have at least one spare charged battery on or near me at most times, and have chargers located within 6 feet of where I spend most of my time in my house/office/car. Any time I am near a charger, I just plug in out of habit now. So that certainly helps. I also keep wi-fi off unless I need it. Bluetooth is always on. I don't like the idea of having to turn it on and off whether I'm in my car or not. Not sure what else I can do to prolong battery life. I close apps instead of letting them keep running in the active work space. I am hoping that the battery is still new and being conditioned, so the performance and longevity will increase. Now that I've decided to stay on the Z10 for a while, I will have to pick up another few batteries and an external charger. Thankfully, the charging port is the same form factor (Micro USB - B) as my last several phones. I'm a bit surprised as to the location of the charging/sync and HDMI out interfaces....on the side? Really guys? Couldnt have put them on the bottom like everyone else?? Makes it awkward in the car, especially if you hold your phone in your right hand....when you're holding it and talking, the charging port and adapter are right where your fingers need to be, and you have to hold your phone a bit differently. Same if it's charging and you're sending messages or emails. Adapter gets in the way and makes it uncomfortable and difficult to type.
Other than that, still good! Another drop yesterday, and no physical or electronic damage. Very solid device, with a good weight and feel. I have a white one, but I wish I waited for a black one for one small reason. The case on the black one is slightly rubberized, and provides for a great grip. It has just the right amount of tack to prevent the phone from shooting out of your fingers and sliding around. The white one is more plasticized and a bit slipperier. There is some texturing on the back to help, but its still a bit slidey in my hands. Oh well. Good thing this will be obsolete in 6 months and I can get another one :-)
Over and out for now
14/02 5:43pm MST
Still messing around with the phone a lot, and still enjoying it! Getting more and more comfortable every day. Battery life seems to be getting better as I had hoped. BBM video is very cool, and it works great. Nice new feature for BBM. I tried it out twice. Once it worked great, and the other time was a bit jerky. Not a huge deal, but a fun feature to have.
15/02 11:28am MST - Sideloading, Sideloading, and more Sideloading
Some additional information and links about sideloading. Although I haven't had a chance to do it yet, I have a large chunk of time this weekend reserved just for that. I am planning on getting down and dirty with this thing. Thanks JS for contributing links and material to the project. Hopefully I don't render my phone inoperable. I do have a tendency to wander off the beaten path and deviate from instructions. I am even going to attempt to extract apk/bar files from my GS3 and transplant them to the Z10. I have a theory in my head that I'd like to test out. Shit. Hopefully I don't render that phone inoperable as well :-) .Anyways....here's all the links I have so far to do with sideloading:
Links to working Apps:
Remote Desktop Enterprise - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...ng-os2-rdp.zip
Kindle - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...os2-kindle.zip
IM+ - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...ing-os2-im.zip
Android Task Killer - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...taskkiller.zip
Flixter - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...s2-flixter.zip
Citrix (though there is a native people like the android version) -http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...os2-citrix.zip
IMO - http://cl.ly/0y3D2J3C2z2q2b1X0M0g
NYCMate (subway app for NYC) - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...-nycsubway.zip
Office Suite Pro - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...1&d=1319005670
ezPDF (Haven't tested let us know) - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...1&d=1319005735
Opera Mobile (haven't tested) - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...1&d=1319005670
Skyfire (haven't tested) - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...1&d=1319005783
Google Maps 5.9 - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...1&d=1319006488
Plume - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...-os2-pp264.zip
Tweetcast - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...-tweetcast.zip
Dolphin - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...s2-dolphin.zip
iSilo - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...silo527and.zip
Tapatalk - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...2-tapatalk.zip
Winamp - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...-winamp103.zip
KiK Messenger - http://www.multiupload.com/AKATNDA2Q0
IMDB - http://www.multiupload.com/Z3MEEUUISX
Gmail - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...g-gmail235.zip
Kaitenmail - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...kaitenmail.zip
Moboplayer - http://forums.crackberry.com/attachm...1&d=1319048619
INSTRUCTIONS TO TRY SIGNING APPS YOURSELF
To create and sign your own bar files from apk (android apps).
1. Go here: https://bdsc.webapps.blackberry.com/android/tool and download the Comman-line tools.
2. Go here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/ja...ads/index.html and download the java jdk.
3. Go here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html and download the android sdk. Once installed make sure to download the 2.3.3 ver 10 update.
Please make sure you install Android APK 2.3.3 API 10 Revision 2. You will see it in the download list.
4. Register for your own signing keys.
5. Extract the download from the command line tools to a folder, I created folder c:\apkbar
6. To make things easy I would install the android sdk to c:\apkbar or copy it to c:\apkbar because you have to point to it in the command prompt.
7. Create a folder to save your apk files in, I used c:\apk
8. Open the command prompt and browse to your Command line tools folder, in my case it was c:\apkbar\
9. Type the following:
apk2bar <location of apk> <location of sdk> -t <location to save bar>
if you used my folders it would be:
apk2bar c:\apk\kindle.apk c:\apkbar\sdk\ -t c:\apk
10. Next we are going to sign the bar file, while still in the command prompt type the following:
batchbar-signer <location of bar file> <location of development key> <passcode> <passcode>
11. Install via DDPB ( http://www.filearchivehaven.com/2011...dpb-installer/ )
16/02 10:52am MST
Some additional sideloading links I forgot to include yesterday:
Site to covert APK’s: http://apk2bar.unker.net/
17/02 9:52am MST - Sideloading 101
So I finally got around to trying out sideloading! It does work for some apps, not at all for others, and partially for a few. Let me try and make some sense out of it.
First off, you will hear me talking about bar files and apk files. Here is a quick summary:
BAR file - a package file that contains all of the resources that the application requires to run on a BlackBerry tablet or BlackBerry 10 device.
APK file - the file format used to distribute and install application software and middleware onto Google's Android operating system.
So to get an application on to a BB10 device, it needs to be properly packaged in bar format. There are a number of sites on the internet where you can go and download bar files, but obviously there are many more out there for apk files. There are also a number of apk-->bar converters.
great site for bar files: http://bit.ly/14ZYAqN
great site for apk files: http://bit.ly/12y4yRe
Of the bar files I downloaded and tried to install, here are the results:
- Google Maps
The ones that were successful all work great. Pretty trippy to have the same version and feel of the apps that were on my GS3 on my Z10.
The ones that didn't work, all seem to have some characteristics in common I've noticed. Whatsapp and Skype need access to the phonebook and contacts API (and probably more) from the phone, and the android apps are coded to look in the spot where androids store that information. On the BB10's, that location and API call are slightly different. Some people have reported the ability to message over whatsapp in a limited capacity, and without your contact list available. Inbound messages work no problem at all, and for outbound messaging, you need to know the person's phone number, as opposed to selecting from the contact list. A bit goofy, but works none the less. This was not the case for me, as I received an error right off the bat and the software aborted. Same for skype. Unable to get it to load.
Winamp and soundhound also wouldn't work for me, crash and software error. I think it has something to do with the sound subsystem API calls being slightly incompatible between android and BB10.
Paypal didn't work either, and I can't explain that one other than some security related issue. Banking apps in general are hard to sideload, simply because of the stringent security requirements and precautions that are unique on each mobile OS platform.
No idea why wikipedia didn't work.
So for my next steps, I want to go after the ones that failed from the bar files I found on the web. I want to make my own bar files from the apk files on google play. This is another way to obtain bar files. It gets a bit tedious, and it's a bit nerdy. Here's what you need to do:
You essentially have to download an android simulator program to your PC, then edit in your actual android device ID and google play account credentials. This simulator then accesses the play store, appears as a "smartphone", and allows you to shop for and download apps, and then downloads them in apk format to your "smartphone". Once they are on your PC, you need to run them through an apk to bar converter. This basically takes in an apk file, crunches it and reformats it, and spits it out as a bar file. Now you can sideload this bar file onto your BB10 :-)
good link and forum posts explaining this: http://bit.ly/Z89zLx
Thats about it for now, hope that helped explain some of the madness that is possible with these amazing devices!
Please feel free to comment or add additional information/links you have come across. Looking to hear some other people's experiences and stories as well.
Have a great Sunday! Sandman out.
17/02 10:48pm MST - More sideloading
GREAT link on apk-->bar files. Lots already converted.
Another link with 90+ converted and tested files:
Got WinAmp and Speedtest back on and working. Still no luck with WhatsApp.
the plan for tomorrow is to try my own apk-->bar file conversion and loading.