Articles by Crackberry Kevin

Everything you need to know about BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

On January 28th, 2014, carriers around the world began pushing out BlackBerry's latest update for the BlackBerry 10 operating system, taking it up to version 10.2.1. The rollout of BlackBerry 10.2.1 is a global one, but not all carriers received the update the first day. BlackBerry expects that by the end of February all BlackBerry 10 owners will have the update available to them. 

In true CrackBerry fashion, we've been all over this update, so in this post we wanted to roundup the most important links in regards to BlackBerry 10.2.1. A lot of exciting new features were introduced in this update, including the ability to install Android apps onto your BB10 phone. It's exciting stuff, so we'll keep this update short and you can click on through below to discover everything you need to know about BlackBerry 10.2.1.

Site Update: We're switching up the homepage default on CrackBerry back to the traditional blog view!

When we pulled the trigger on our CrackBerry site redesign last March, we introduced a new homepage design. Now, we didn't abandon the traditional blog view - it was still always accessible by tapping the "Switch to Blog View" button on the homepage, but by default we gave you the new featured view. The featured view was more headline driven, and presented a lot of stories on the page, but arguably made for a less (quickly) scannable browsing experience.

Tonight, while sifting through some of the early 2014 CrackBerry Reader Survey results, I decided most of you seem to just tolerate the Featured View rather than love it. And you all seem to love our award-winning CB10 app, which follows a more traditional chronological order of content presentation.

So because I love change, I love testing things, and I love trying to make all of you happy (knowing that I don't always succeed), we just flipped the switch on the homepage defaults.

Now if you visit on your desktop browser, or on your mobile, you will now see the traditional blog view by default. For those of you who do love the featured view, it's still accessible by tapping the "Switch to Featured View" button. These settings are of course remembered via a browser cookie, so once you choose your view it will stick so long as you accept cookies.

I'll leave at that for now, and let's see how it goes. If we ultimately don't like the change, we can always flip it back. Enjoy!

Instagram on BlackBerry 10

Earlier today BlackBerry began its official rollout of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 around the globe. All carriers — even those in the USA — should have it pushed out to BlackBerry 10 device owners by the end of February. 

It's a great update that includes lots of productivity enhancements as well as BlackBerry OS throwback features that are sure to please legacy BlackBerry users. For the full list of what's new, I encourage you to check out the BlackBerry 10.2.1 change log. Especially for those in the USA who never received the 10.2 update, you're going to LOVE the whack load of new features coming at you.

2014 CrackBerry Reader Survey!

While you're waiting for BlackBerry 10.2.1 to download (or for the update to appear!), you can kill a few minutes and help us out a bunch by taking our CrackBerry 2014 Reader Survey.

As it is, we all know CrackBerry is the #1 BlackBerry community, authority and resource in the UNIVERSE, and we pay pretty close attention all year long to your praises, wants and gripes. A survey like this helps us put it all into better context however, and also lets us see how things are shaking out between our different Mobile Nations communities.

2013 was a big year for us. We launched the our new site design, we rolled out the award-winning CB10 app, and on the editorial front we took things to a new level as we covered the BlackBerry 10 launch from our Toronto and NYC offices before heading to Orlando to put on our CrackBerry Live show from BlackBerry World.

We want to keep pushing hard in 2014, but we want to make sure we're putting our efforts into the things you want to see more of, and making changes as necessary if there are areas we can improve.

As a token of our appreciation, when you're done the survey you can drop in your email or username for a chance to win a coupon code for $100 of free BlackBerry accessories from! Thanks for helping make the greatest smartphone-dedicated community in the world even greater!

Take the 2014 CrackBerry Reader Survey!

PSA: Before you update to BlackBerry OS 10.2.1, **make sure** you have enough space!

This Public Service Announcement comes to you via our Mobile Nations webmaster, Tom Kaminski (@ttkaminski), who ran into a snag this morning while trying to upgrade his phone to BlackBerry 10.2.1.

Tom went a little crazy last month downloading free games and movies in BlackBerry's giveaway, so he filled up his device storage a lot. This morning when he heard the news that BlackBerry 10.2.1 was available, he went into Settings > Software Updates and manually checked for an update and discovered one was available.

At that point in time, no error message was given that he didn't have enough storage space left to complete the download and install. Instead, over an hour later when he was 90% through downloading the OS update, it failed. Then he checked the hub to discover the notification Device Storage Almost Full - Consider moving or deleting files.

I wouldn't put the blame on Tom for this one. When he went to download the update, at that point it should be checking that there's enough storage remaining to complete the download and installation. Let's put that one on the feature wishlist for BlackBerry 10.3. [ Update: As you'll read in the comments, it looks like the OS does check, but maybe it's not properly checking the size of the entire download, so you can run into what Tom experienced. Either way, make sure you have plenty of space! ]

In the meantime, learn from Tom's experience here and CHECK THAT YOU HAVE PLENTY OF FREE MEMORY before beginning your OS update.

How long did it take you for BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 to download and install?

It's an exciting day in CrackBerry land, with BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 officially now here and beginning to rollout around the globe on multiple carriers.

After waiting a long time for this update to get released, I couldn't help but notice this morning that the update itself is taking a while to download. So far, out of my BlackBerry Z10, Z30, P'9982 and Q10, it's only on the Q10 so far that the update showed as available after manually checking for updates (Settings > Software Updates > Check for Updates).

After hitting the download button, over an hour later I'm still only at 80% finished downloading the 645MB update (note, file size seems to vary between people a bit).

In other words, it's taking a while. Other members of the CrackBerry team are experiencing the same sort of lonnnng download process.

I'm expecting this will be the norm for everybody out there, but figured it wouldn't hurt to check in with the community, so you know what you're getting into before you start the update.

If you have received the update and downloaded it, how long did it take?! Let us know in the comments!

What's new in BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

What's new in BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 is officially upon us — and that means loads of new features. There are minor tweaks and fixes all over as well as big improvements like Wi-Fi Direct, FM Radio, Picture Password, homescreen speed dials and much, much more, including support for the direct installation of Android apps (.apk files) directly onto the device.

As of now there is no on-device walkthrough telling you of everything that's new after you do the update, so if you don't want to miss any new features you'll want to read about them so you don't miss out. Luckily, we have you covered.

Check out the list below for the list of what's new in BlackBerry 10.2.1. We've tracked down all of the updates that we could find and listed them here. Keep in mind there may be a few more here and there, but these are all of the major ones for this update. And be sure to hit up our master BlackBerry 10 change log for a full look of how things have changed since we first reviewed BlackBerry 10.

What apps are missing in BlackBerry World?

What apps are missing in BlackBerry World?

Last week our friends over at Windows Phone Central asked their readers what apps are missing in the Windows Phone Store? As you may expect, the post got a big response. Like BlackBerry, while there has been solid growth in their app catalog, there's still a gap in apps compared to iOS and Android. 

With the upcoming rollout of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 beginning on January 28th, BlackBerry 10 users will have the ability to install Android apps (.apk files) directly onto their device. This will go a long way in solving the app needs of BlackBerry 10 users. As explained in our BlackBerry 10.2.1 FAQ, this doesn't mean Google Play will run natively on BlackBerry 10, but even without that support there will be plenty of ways in which users will be able to get these Android apps onto their phone. 

As 10.2.1 officially rolls out, we'll be providing lots of guidance around here to help BlackBerry owners find their way to the Android apps they want.

In the meantime though, I want to know which apps you're currently missing the most in BlackBerry World? Or phrased another way, which Android apps are you looking forward to installing the most on your BB10 phone (that you ultimately would like to see come to BlackBerry World too)? 

Give me your full list of must-have apps that you can't currently (officially) get in the comments!

BlackBerry Will Rise again in 2014

Rise Again!

He's BaCK! CrackBerry's J_Caloy, who previously posted the infamous I Hate My BlackBerry Z10 and follow up Why I Still Hate My BlackBerry Z10 videos, today posted a new commercial to his youtube channel.

This one is called BlackBerry Will Rise. You can watch it above. Watch it carefully. This kid has mad card skillz. 

Bring the Z30 to AT&T!

I love it when the BlackBerry community takes action, and that's exactly what's happening this week. Nick Cooper (@Nickc1307 on the twitters) wants to buy a BlackBerry Z30 from his carrier, AT&T.

Of course, AT&T is not currently selling the BlackBerry Z30. To date, the 5" touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phone has been a Verizon exclusive and there has been no real indication that is going to change anytime soon.

So while it may not help, it certainly won't hurt to let them know you'd love to see the Z30 come to AT&T too. Be sure to jump over to petitions24 at the link below and sign the petition. Let's do this!

Sign the Bring the Z30 to AT&T Petition!

Tango and Cash

Last week, following our CES interview with BlackBerry CEO John Chen, I joined Rene Ritchie for a Vector podcast to talk about What's going to Happen to BlackBerry.

What transpired was "90 minutes of podcast magic", as we dove through various topics, picking up the conversation from our last Vector podcast on What Happened to BlackBerry.

I highly suggest listening to the show, but if you're more the scan and read type, we took the liberty of having the podcast transcribed. What follows is 15,000 words of raw BlackBerry talk. I did some minor edits here and there just to clean up bad transcriptions and cut out some of the non-value added banter. Happy reading!!

BlackBerry knocks Knox in its latest blog post, reminding customers Samsung's vaults have faults

John Sims is BlackBerry's newly-appointed President of Global Enterprise Services, and he's wasting no time in letting customers know why BlackBerry trumps the competition in managing mobile devices in enterprise.

Following up the news that the Pentagon is getting hooked up with 80,000 devices, Sims took to the Inside BlackBerry Business blog and tore into shortcomings of Samsung's KNOX offering, which is trying to make inroads for Samsung into enterprise. 

It's a great write up, which you can read in-full below:

keyboards, Keyboards, KEYBOARDS!

Outside of the BlackBerry users who know and love their physical keyboards, there hasn't been too much discussion on the subject of physical keyboards in the past couple of years. We are now living in a touchscreen world as far as most of mobile is concerned. Heck, even "CrackBerry Kevin" has adapted to tapping on glass just fine. I love the BlackBerry 10 touchscreen keyboard, and can type just fine on Android (well, I can swipe just fine thanks to Swype), iOS and Windows Phone keyboards too.

While consumer and enterprise demand for physical keyboards exists, the rest of the market has largely left it up to BlackBerry to fulfill that demand. It makes sense too. A friend of mine who works on the product team at a major not-BlackBerry smartphone manufacturer once told me, "There is no demand for keyboard smartphones — people only want BlackBerry smartphones with keyboards". Most other attempts by manufacturers to launch keyboard phones the past few years — like the Motorola Droid Pro — never amounted to more than a niche device with minimal carrier support and miniscule sales. It just doesn't make sense for other manufacturers to dedicate the financial, personnel, and research and development resources to developing a physical keyboard smartphone when it's a small and mature category that has been so clearly owned by one company.

While that friend may have been right about it not making sense for other smartphone manufacturers to launch a phone with a front facing QWERTY, the buzz generated by Typo's BlackBerry look-alike keyboard for iPhone has dragged physical keyboards back into the headlines. The interest, no matter how casual, has demonstrated that there is a segment of iPhone users (likely former Palm and BlackBerry users) who would like the option to be pushing on buttons instead of tapping on glass. While it may not be a growing segment, these fans of physical keyboards have a desire that's not being fulfilled. There is definitely is a place for physical keyboards in this 2014 smartphone world, and there will continue to be for years to come.

While physical keyboard users know this, it seems like the rest of the world has forgotten about the benefits that physical keyboards offer to their users. It's been almost comical for me to read through the recent surge of Typo editorials and reviews and all the comments that follow. There's a lot of lack of understanding out there, a lot of educating that's needed.

When I read comments like "I can type faster on a touchscreen, why would anybody want a physical keyboard?!" I just cringe. No shit, Sherlock. As a guy who's logged a lot of finger miles on physical keyboards, I too can type faster on on a touchscreen. All-out speed isn't the reason why people like physical keyboards. Let's do a quick recap of the reasons people still love their physical keyboard.

From the Editor's Desk: One year ago tonight...

I was sitting in a condo high above Toronto, Canada, snapping the photo you see above and posting this from the editor's desk entry. I had arrived in the big smoke earlier that day with my (future) bro-in-law @jayhum, getting ready for what we knew would be a crazy month of work which we hoped would also have a little fun mixed in. The next day Adam Zeis, Bla1ze and Simon Sage all arrived in town, and we took possession of our one month condo rental which we dubbed CrackBerry's BlackBerry 10 Launch Campaign Headquarters

What's going to happen to BlackBerry

Earlier this week I joined Rene Ritchie on our Vector podcast to talk BlackBerry. Back in October 2013 we recorded a show together on the topic of What happened to BlackBerry. Though recorded relatively late in the year, that episode went on to be our single most downloaded podcast episode across all Mobile Nations podcasts for 2013.

With lots of change at BBRY between then and now, including a new CEO at the helm of the company, in this episode we talk about What's going to happen to BlackBerry. This podcast is a great follow up audio companion to the in-depth interview we conducted with BlackBerry CEO John Chen in Las Vegas at CES 2014.

Whack My Phone!

Bored at work this Friday afternoon? Then click on through from your desktop computer to Whack My Phone, where you can be entertained for minutes on end destroying iPhone, Windows Phone and Samsung (aka SVMSUNG) devices. Weapons at your disposal include a crowbar, axe, baseball bat, blow torch, handgun and chainsaw.

Clearly the game's developer was a BlackBerry fan, as you won't find any BBs in this one. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the developer was Waterloo-based on this one. :)

Android OS Nicknames

Android likes the sweets with Gingerbread, Jelly Bean and Kit Kat. Windows Phone has gone fruity in the past with Tango and Mango and is waiting on the color Blue. Heck, even if less celebrated externally, internally Apple gives ski resort names to iOS, with iOS 7.1 honoring the upcoming Olympics with Sochi.

How about us BlackBerry fans? Well, we're looking forward to the release of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. TEN DOT TWO DOT ONE. Trying saying that tens times fast.

I want my BlackBerry Q50 to have this design

I want my BlackBerry Q50 to have this design

A week ago on Instagram, I posted the photo above with the caption:

Spotted: BlackBerry Q30! Oh wait, no, that's a black iPhone in a Typo. #gettingsued #ces2014 #ripoff

In the moment I was just being silly for my social followers, but if you look at image above, it looks a lot like the dozens of "dream BlackBerry concepts" we have seen mocked up over the years. A good chunk of CrackBerry Nation has been wanting a bigger and taller screen on their physical qwerty devices for years now.

With the BlackBerry Q10, we did get a BIGGER 3.1" high resolution display (thanks BB!), but it came to us with a 1:1 aspect ratio. In other words, it's a big square. There are two big drawbacks to the square display design.

Hot off the wire: BlackBerry Announces Completion of Acquisition of Additional U.S. $250 Million Debentures by Fairfax

Hot off the wire and straight to the CrackBerry homepage... 


Heading into CES 2014, the Mobile Nations team had a bit of war in deciding what group messaging platform to use for our week in Vegas. With 22 people on the ground from the Mobile Nations team (and ten more from GeekBeat), that's a lot of people — with very varying opinions — to please.

No surprise, I wanted us all on BBM. The Android guys wanted to use Google Hangouts. GeekBeat suggested GroupMe, which the Windows Phone guys were ok with as they had an app for that. A lot of the members of the team have WhatsApp installed and it is available on all platforms, but nobody really seemed to be in Whatsapp's corner pushing for it. And I *think* most of us had Facebook / Facebook Messenger running, but nobody on the team would admit to using it, never mind suggesting it as our solution for the week.

We all agreed we needed to be on the same app and in a single chatroom, that wasn't up for debate. And I wanted to make sure we had the BEST group messaging solution possible at our fingertips, not simply the one that was available on every platform. If that meant some people had to carry around two phones for the week because the app we picked wasn't available on their platform, then so be it.