Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Blackberry Does Right

Last night I updated my Blackberry Z30 to BB 10.3.1.  Everything went well and the new update seems to run everything faster and smoother than before. But even with the old version of the operating system Blackberry was doing things the right way in contrast with Apple iOS.

1. Blackberry lets me chose my default browser. Although frankly I am happy with the one that came with the phone, I do like trying other browsers and I hate being locked in to a default chosen by somebody else, no matter how good it might be.

2. I can add search engines, of my choice to the browser.  Blackberry does not exactly advertise this but you can do it and it is not all that hard. For instance I added DuckDuckGo and made it my default search engine in the browser.  The Blackberry browser comes with the 3 major search engines in the USA market: Google, Bing and Yahoo.  This is a place where BB could improve a little by adding some privacy search engines like the aforementioned DuckDuckGo or StartPage mobile right from the factory, but at least they do not prohibit my additions.

3. Specific to 10.3.1, the new digital "Assistant" lets you specify what search engine you want it to search with. So you can tell it: "Search Yahoo for things to do in Paris," and it will use Yahoo.  This is kinda important since different search engines might do one kind of search better than the others.

4. The Hub. All notifications for SMS, alerts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others appear in the Hub.  Blackberry realizes that a phone is, most importantly, a communication device and the Hub is your communication center. All work just flows naturally from there.  You have to experience it to really understand.  Both Android and iOS have improved their notification handling but they just don't come close to the Hub.

5. App scanning for Malware. Blackberry scans all apps in their store TWICE: first using their own proprietary screening software and then a second time using a scan by TrendMicro.  At least you feel safe knowing that apps will not infect your phone.

Now, there are some things I would like to see BB improve, like weeding some of the dead apps out of the Blackberry World app store, but the good things they are doing far outweigh the bad.

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