Turn off “Swipe to Wake” to save time and battery

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It had freaked me out. I constantly had to type in “blackberry” and then even my device password (and I even had to hit an on-screen button so it doesn’t get exposed to the person next to me) because my phone interpreted being in my pocket as an attempt to unlock the phone via Picture Password. Not only did this annoy me a lot (and made me question why this feature even exists? – I did not think about trying to turn it off somehow though…) I think it also caused a lot of battery drain in my pocket. The reason why I finally came to the conclusion that I had to turn it off somehow: one day I restarted my BB Passport and then put it back into my pocket. It interpreted something as a gesture to unlock (again) and this time the phone asked for the PIN (the unlock code for the SIM-card). Still being in my pocket, the phone interpreted that I entered some digits. Unfortunately it did that three times. And guess what, my pocket did not know the right PIN. So my phone was basically useless. I couldn’t call anyone, I couldn’t text and I was not connected to the Internet. For the rest of the day. I was travelling accross the country but my PUK (the code you need to unlock the phone when three wrong PIN-unlock-attempts failed) was in a drawer at home. So here’s my advice: If this happens from time to time in your pocket just turn “Swipe to Wake” off! Because that only means you have to hit the unlock key before using the phone (which is much quicker than typing “blackberry”, then hitting the “hide my password as I type it”-Button and than typing your device password followed by an enter). It will save you time (in the long run) and battery (also because the touch-sensetivety of the screen can be shut down during the screen-off time. But I’m not sure if it does that, I just guess it works that way).

Do it via “Settings” (App) > “Display” and toggle the switch “Swipe to Wake” to off.

Telegram — (Part 1)

Telegram did a challenge to bring a native telegram client to BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Although the competition is over, the results weren’t satisfying enough for the Telegram team. However, they have crowned a few winners and their apps but for security reasons they still recommend using the APK-version.

So there will be updates on that.

How to sideload Snap to access Google Play Store

Download: Snap

Snap is a native GooglePlayStore-client for BlackBerry 10. Here’s a quick video on how to get it. You’ll need a desktop version of Google Chrome for it! The rest is explained in the video. If you’re unabled to see the video click either on the YouTube link or on this link for a written instruction.

Why can’t I just download a Google Play Store APK?

You can! But Snap is a native BlackBerry app and it works snappier, fits better on the screen and makes it super easy to install the apps on your BlackBerry. Downloading apps via the Google Play app is a bit… frustrating. But still: possible.

After 2 months: suggestions for BBOS 10.4

I’ve been using my Blackberry Passport for two months now and I survive just perfectly with it. But there are a few things that still bug me:

  1. No alternatives to picture password (Please, it’s an awesome way to unlock your phone but sometimes — especially when I am half asleep — a simple code to unlock thing would be preferable. Be creative!)
  2. Deletes everything after 10 failed tries to sneak in (Allow me to uncheck that option. I have silly friends!)
  3. Android runtime still needs improvement (detailed below)
  4. No Widgets (neither native, nor Android support)
  5. No google play services (please work on alternatives or try to integrate them)
  6. No proper Android notification integration (Android-section in the hub would be great)
  7. Update your selfmade apps (mainly the social network apps’ UIs are outdated)!
  8. No native support for any smart watch
  9. No proper support for 3rd party headsets (at least the “made for iPod” ones)
  10. No proper media library sync (I could perfectly sync my iTunes library with my 9700)
  11. Unused/misused space in native apps like music, etc
  12. Can’t sync reminders
  13. Weird structure in the settings (make settings searchable in detail)
  14. No native LED costumization
  15. BbMaps — you could make an OSM client. That’d be better.
  16. No Lollipop-Support yet (please don’t forget to keep Android runtime up to date! It’s a core feature for me and many other users)
  17. Not enough Costumizability of the home and app screen (give the ability to leave blank spaces where you want to and another home screen for widgets and app short cuts etc.)
  18. Skype’s a disaster. Either force MS to fix it or make BBM-video available for other platforms too. (Android, iOS, WP, Linux, Mac and Windows)
  19. No multiple Twitter accounts in the hub
  20. Keyboard: I finally got completely used to it and I love it; with my big hands I can even use it with just one of them. But why does a phone by a Canadian company not support Canadian English?!
  21. No proper disk mode (sometimes you just want to connect your passport to a computer — Mac or PC — and exchange some files)

Also, since BBOS10.3.1 arrived on my device: thanks for fixing the bugs I had after the upgrade and thanks for the  runtime costumizations. Some apps are just not usable with the 1:1 ratio and the now addable black bars are really helpful. And please clean and tidy up your App World. 500 good blackberry apps are more attractive than 1295971692684986 useless ones beneath them.

I am a proud BlackBerry user and I often get positive responses for my phone. If the price was cheaper many of my friends would actually take a BlackBerry. So don’t neglect your consumer and private customers because I still see a big potential for BlackBerry.

— If you have anything else to add (other annoying things) please leave a comment here or on the certain reddit link. And if one of these things is already avoidable and I am just too dumb to do that feel free to help me out!

Instagram and iGrann

InstaAppComparison.png

BlackBerry offers a few social media apps preinstalled on the Passport and other BB10-devices. Amongst Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn (and WhatsApp, downloadable on BlackBerry World) one big and important service still doesn’t offer an official BlackBerry app. Instagram has over 300 million active users and still – if you are using BlackBerry – you have to either use the apk via Android Runtime or you get a native BB10 Instagram client.

First of all, there are a few issues you will come across when you’re using the APK. First thing is: the current version you’ll get via Snap won’t let you log in (at least if you haven’t used a Facebook Account to sign up for Instagram – I’ve heard that it is possible but the following is almost bullet proof) and you can’t even get it via the Amazon App Shop. You have to get an older APK of Instagram. The version I am using is 6.1.0 and it works just fine. I’ve uploaded it to my Dropbox so you can get it easily here. Just download it and install it et voilà: you can log in and use a full functional Instagram!

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But there are some more issues. Not only is the Android App a bit slow and not-integrated into the OS (except as share option when you want to share a picture) it’s not very good for viewing your Instagram feed either. You might think that on the square screen of the Passport the square images will fit just perfectly but don’t forget the bars on top and bottom. Even if you disable the “back” key in favour of a not always well working gesture and even if you use the Tablet UI you still cannot see the whole image at one glance. All these issues are solved with the following app. But wait! That doesn’t mean that you won’t need the Android version anymore!

The App I am talking about is called iGrann and it is advertised as the first BB10 native Instagram client that you can get for free. You can easily download it from BlackBerry World. And if you either want pictures to use the whole width of the screen (Modern) or if you want them to be a little bit adjusted to see the whole thing (Polaroid) it shows you definetly more than the Android version. It is also better integrated into BB10. You can choose between two Themes: Dark and Bright; and it uses the UI design of BlackBerry. It also offers you a slide show for the recent posts from your feed. And on top of all of that: it is very fast! So it is best for daily surfing and pic-exploring. Especially on mobile data not only does it load fastly it also saves you data because it uses a lower quality for pictures (at least in Polaroid mode) and you can disable preloading videos.

AppTileComparison.pngiGrann-Polaroid.pngiGrann-Modern.png

If you want the full quality image, you can just press on the pic and hold down and save the picture. You can even “regrann” it (like “reblogging” on Tumblr). I haven’t tried that out yet but I guess it just reuploads the picture and the description.

There is one thing I wouldn’t use iGrann for: uploading pictures. If you’re switching from an iPhone you’ll have to say good bye to open app > new photo > snap > type > boom. Because you won’t get that speed out of the Passport (just the auto focus takes enough time to kill it). Although iGrann might be fast enough the results I got (and many other iGrann users) is pixely images and a lack of social connection: It just offers Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. You won’t get your beloved filters either. So I personally suggest to use iGrann for browsing and following and everything else but for uploading new pictures that you want to tag properly and enjoy in full quality with all the filters you clashed on them and that you can share on Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter and that you can properly add to your Photo-map with all your already self-added places… use the Android App for this.

One thing before you comment: No, I haven’t checked out if these issues still exist in the Pro-Version that you can get. And I have checked the quality of an iGrann-upload with the original Android App that shows you the HQ images and there it didn’t have a good quality. If you had a different experience or if you know how to solve this issue make sure to leave a comment below!

Since both apps are free to use just try them out yourselves!

Update
I missed the fact that there is an Update for iGrann that promises a better Image quality.

YouTube-client “SuperTube”

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On the BlackBerry Passport watching videos on YouTube is not that complicated. It is shipped with a “YouTube application” that turns out to be just a link to m.youtube.com that opens in the native browser. But it works. For those who look for an app that is integrated into the OS using an/the Android YouTube client is not an option either.

So I have tested two different YouTube clients from the BlackBerry World that are “Built for Blackberry” and well integrated into the operating system. Both are added as search option in the Assistant and both are full of features. FastTube as well as SuperTube both are free at first but if you want to log in with your Google Account to use YouTube properly you have to pay (€1.79) for the premium package. They also let you “preload” videos which means that you download the video on your local storage for watching it later. If you have paid for account integration they also let you access your subscriptions, your playlists, your “watch later” videos, your favorites and a history of videos that you’ve watched. They also let you access to the popular categories that you know from YouTube (e.g. Music, Gaming, etc.), videos’ audio goes on playing when the app is minimized

But SuperTube is actually much more functional than FastTube. It uses the advances of the BB10 UI much better and gives you many more possibilities to configure the app in the settings. It also has support for the TV output of the BB passport and in general it is more thoroughly thought through than FastTube. It offers you a “Now Playing” button to get back to your currently playing video (FastTube just bugs around there and can’t decide wheter it wants to play the video in the back or not but it doesn’t give you any chance to get back to it). But for best comparison you can just look yourself. I’ve done many screenshots. For making the two apps distinguishable FastTube is set to “bright” and SuperTube is set to “dark” (but you could use FastTube with a dark and SuperTube with a bright theme as well)