We go hands on with the new presentation app from BlackBerry - BlackBerry Express

By James Richardson on 14 Nov 2013 01:16 pm EST

We recently published the announcement that BlackBerry Express was available to download for BlackBerry 10 and at the time we hadn't had a chance to properly play with the new presentation tool from BlackBerry and air our opinions. That time is now and what a beauty the free application is. 

One point of interest is that the app (at the time of publication) has a Beta tag in its name. I can confirm that the software is actually final and the Beta name is only there while BlackBerry gather feedback from users. The name 'BlackBerry Express' may not end up being its final name - we'll have to wait and see what users think of it. 

I've never been a fan of giving presentations - not because I'm afraid of standing up in front of people, but because I have never been bothered to get the hang of any software that does the job - mainly PowerPoint. Thank god that if the need arises in the future I will be able to now use BlackBerry Express as the application makes it so easy to create a professional presentation - all from your BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Once you open BlackBerry Express you'll be greeted with two brightly colored tabs. The pink one is an introduction to the app and the orange one gives you a brief tutorial - well worth checking out. Once you have created a/some presentations these too will be listed above the aforementioned tabs. 

Before we jump into making a presentation I thought I had better point out that by hitting the 'More' tab at the base of the display reveals where you can create your profile. This information will be shown in the information page and can be enabled in the presentation customization. Not a must, but a nice touch. 

Back to business. Making a new presentation is achieved simply by tapping the 'Create new' icon at the bottom of the screen. You will then see three icons appear on the display. These are shortcuts to adding images, text and elements - which include bullet points and chapters as well as images and text. 

Selecting the image option will open up your File Manager where you can jump between the device/media card and any cloud storage apps you have set up on your device. Choose the photo and you will be prompted you insert some text. This will appear at the base of the photo in the presentation.  

You can add photos, text etc in any order and once you have done so and tapped the 'tick' icon to save you will see your entry appear in a list which contains everything you have added so far. This list can be customized using the icons on the right of each item. You can hold and then drag up or down to reposition which ensures you get perfect final results. At the base of the display you have a 'Play' icon so you can dive into the presentation at any point and view your results so far. If you select the 'More' tab you'll find a couple of extra cool features. 

The first is rather straight forward and is 'Export'. This is much the same as sharing and will allow you to share via any accounts you have set up in your BlackBerry Hub. But it's the 'Customize' tab that I like. Here you can tweak a few things, including the Theme, which will give you a choice of color options for the final result - a sweet touch. If you choose the 'Custom' theme you will get a bar under the box which you can slide left and right to alter the colors even more. 

And that's pretty much it. Once you have finished, all that is left to do is to connect your BlackBerry 10 smartphone to a TV/Monitor for the presentation via HDMI and you are good to go. You simply just use the BlackBerry screen to swipe to the left to move from slide to slide. Nothing is too complected (which suits me) and the results are pretty amazing. 

Whether the name BlackBerry Express stays, only time will tell, although I quite like it. For business users BlackBerry Express will be the perfect free tool to have on your handset. Nice work BlackBerry, bloody nice work. 

Download BlackBerry Express for BlackBerry 10

Reader comments

We go hands on with the new presentation app from BlackBerry - BlackBerry Express


It would be also a perfect tool for creating book-apps for BB10® but it doesn't have a vertical mode. Export as HTML file perfect!

[...] BBs always for young professionals - new BYOD hero: www.smartman.mobi

Never mind, just press enter in the text area and it will create a new bullet point... you still have to swipe them into view separately, but they will all stay in view with nice transitions...

From the Z...

They should build a refreshed animated UI like this... again when design matter...Sweden is involved...sadly not enough

Posted via CB10

Indeed. The "desktop" and media apps really need a little eye candy. Not too much, but just a little something to keep it interesting.

I just used it and in the introduction it made my Z10 get freezed, I had to reboot it. I'll try the app itself now.

Posted via CB10

But she said she liked......er uh, nevermind.

Serious question though,....

What is the file format? I saw a comment earlier about exporting to HTML file, but how does that look?
I would love to do my presentation on my Zed10 but I have to save the file for others to view it and if they don't have a BB10 then how does it look when they view it?
Perhaps someone can screenshot the HTML file as loaded on a non BBRY device???

After testing more, I van say it's a good app with good features and fresh things. But as it says IT IS A BETA, in the introduction it van get stuck if you close the app your device get freezed, if you making and presentation and you play it the app can close itself.

Best wishes for the developer, And in the comments you can report some bugs to help they fix it.

Posted via CB10

I don't 'now... making a presentation on the phone seems strange. I would definitely feel more comfortable on the computer. I don't see myself using it.

Posted via CB10

You would use a hdmi cable nor Miracast (for z30 and q10). I practised one attached to my TV. It worked very well. I have also used PowerPoint on a PlayBook that's attached to a projector, while my phone was set to BlackBerry Bridge in presenter mode so I could remote control the PlayBook while walking around by the screen. All very good.

Posted via CB10

May I ask why you set your phone into presenter mode and not the PlayBook? Was it just to read notes on the larger PlayBook screen?

Posted via CB10

I think this is what BlackBerry is all about, mobile computing.

Posted via BlackBerry Q10

Awesome app... you can create professional quality presentations in minutes. I'd like to see the ability to add audio and/or video, but as it is, it is wonderful. Question: in the Customize tab, what does the "Particle amount" mean?


Given how the US gets updates from their carriers months after all other places on Earth, they should post if an app requires an OS that has been out for less than 2 - 4 months.

Posted via CB10

I heard that because I look for the apps in BlackBerry World and not there. Not feeling the love being stuck in 10.1 land.

Posted via CB10

Nice! Works well. Now I can make presentations while waiting for the plane with out pulling out the bulky laptop.

Posted via CB10

This is great. Hopefully they start promoting this as much as possible for the business world and to schools, universities and collages. Good stuff BBRY.

Zero issues running this on Z10 STL100-3/

Very very smooth and the play on HDMI out rocks.

Z10 via CB10

When are you guys going to fix the embedded images? They're horribly scaled and horizontally stretched.

Posted via CB10

When I try to download the app it says that it isn't available for my device in red print. I'm running OS on my Z10. Am I doing something wrong or is it only for 10.2?


I think BlackBerry should put there effort on other more important things then a presentation application.

They need revolutionary ideas and product.

This, does not cut it and won't help their fortunes.

Posted via CB10

Yeah...nobody needs to create professional looking presentations on their phone. Gimme my bulky laptop! Smh.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry Express makes creating a presentation very straightforward. I'm only sorry this application and BlackBerry 10 smartphones weren't available when I was in high school thirty years ago. LOL

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

No, this is a bread-and-butter business app that should have come baked-in with Docs To Go. There should have been the ability to create presentation slides from the start. A corporate refocus on business customers is a great way to carve a niche that was lost and this was a needed step.

This is a very good step - don't poo poo it. The idea that I can create a fully formed presentation on the train is enticing to me at any rate.

Posted via CB10

This is exactly the sort of app BlackBerry should be concentrating on. That said, I really need some way to present without needing HDMI or Miracast to be useful. Quite often what I have instead is simply a PC hooked up to a projector. Give me a way to output from BlackBerry Express to that and you've basically given me a way to make train and bus rides into productive time.

Works flawlessly on my Q10 - (SQN 100-1, Release

I'm at home, had a thought for a presentation necessary at work, and completed the presentation really quickly. (I'm a PowerPoint user/abuser.)

This has a really nice user interface. The results look amazing.

Don't like the name though. I"ll testify that it is fast. But, "Express" just doesn't do it for me.

Posted via CB10

I think it's a play on the dual meaning of the word: express as in fast, and express as in express yourself...expression.

Posted via CB10

It's too similar to BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, which is what in thought the original article was about when I saw the headline.

Maybe BlackBerry Expression would be better?

Posted via CB10

Love this new app. I'm a corporate trainer and I've already used it in professional circumstances. Impressive results. And so quick to put together. I, too, wish it incorporated audio. Could storymaker and express merge?

Posted via CB10

Not ideal, but check out the link above. It was made using BlackBerry Express, the Native media Player and Screen recorder, and edited all on a Z10

You can record your screen with audio, edit it with the native video editor and play it as a video, a little more hands free(ish)

It should say on the article that is only available for 10.1 The whole Caribbean and the US and A don't have 10.2 yet

You are now in my Bingo Book

Does anybody have any idea of what other apps are yet to come?? I liked BlackBerry Express and find it very helpful and it makes me wonder on what else is there to come.

Posted from my zeta diez

I already gave feedback on things that need improvement and things that would be good to incorporate. For example more slides, option to add videos from Internet (links) or videos from library. Different presentation options l, like having a vertical one compared to the horizontal current one. option to number bullets so that we can introduce lists. Ability to play over WiFi. For me those are the basic features I would like to see

Posted from my zeta diez

Not only is this app user friendly, effective and functional its also beautifully designed.

How can we suggest to BlackBerry that whoever designed this app should be in charge of BlackBerry OS10 GUI design as well?

Z30, Q10, iP5

Works nicely, very good app, thanks BlackBerry.
Keep it moving!

Vivo - Brazil

Posted via CB10

Works great on my Z10 .
Have a car for sale, I used this app to select pictures and added description to the photos and then email it to the potential purchaser.
Was completely in 5 minutes and looked very professional.
Awesome app

Posted via CB10

I had a go on it last night and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use.

The only gripe I have is that when you insert an image, you should be able to download an image from the Internet directly from within the app. Kinda like when you set a picture on a group chat on Whatsapp; you can type in whatever you want and choose pictures from Google.

Posted via CB10

I like this post and the "BlackBerry Express" app itself. The name is good enough for me. Thanks to the Devs. For this little gem

Posted via CB10

My job involves giving a lot of presentations, all over the world. I use MS PowerPoint because its versatile, very easy to use, and lets me customise every element on any slide - font style and position, font size and colour, background patterns and colour, overlay of text and images on the same screen, etc. Blackberry Express is very simple and great fun, but I couldn't use it professionally. For a start, I can't chose my own colour scheme... the "custom" options are very limited, and for corporate situations (where branding is often very important) I can't select appropriate colours or add a logo to any slide. Second, the limit of 140 characters is totally impractical... I'm not tweeting when I'm up on a podium or standing beside a screen! I'm trying to teach, to demonstrate or to get some technical point across.

I love messing about with it and I can see it being great for a photo slideshow at a wedding or party, but its not adequate for most professional settings. I know its brand new and will be developed further in time, and I know my smartphone is not a desktop PC, but considering the BlackBerry has always been seen as the business brand (the fact that I travel giving presentations is precisely the reason why I chose a BlackBerry phone, and BB10 is hands down the ultimate OS for mobile business communications), this app still has a good ways to come.

It would be fantastic if BlackBerry can produce a PC version of this which has more functionality and allows greater customisation. If high quality presentations could be prepared on a PC and then ported around, tweaked and presented using a BlackBerry phone, then THAT would be a knockout and I would kiss MS PowerPoint bye bye.

Are you giving presentations or are you posting essays on the screen?? If you know the rules for business presentations, characters have to be limited to engage the public. You don't want to bore them to death

Posted from my zeta diez

I give 60 - 70 presentations each year, all over the world, and have been doing it for 15 years. But thanks for teaching me how to do my job! ;)
Sometimes, particularly in technical talks, a lot of text is required.

As someone who also does a lot of presentations I totally agree with this statement.

This tool may be useful for people who only need to do the casual presentation but for professional presentations that require branding, specific color palettes, various font sizes specific transitions, the ability to include detailed graphs and diagrams, etc. this doesn't do it.

Not knocking BlackBerry for the effort, just saying it's a good app for a quick pres but it's not going to replace power point just yet.

Posted via CB10

Indeed, its a great effort and I'm sure it will get a lot of interest, but I think the business scope will be limited until they expand features or until Express can be used to give presentations created on other platforms. I'd love if I could use my Z10 to give a PowerPoint presentation via Express.
Customisable templates and backgrounds (perhaps ones we could import form another platform or from an image bank) would be great too.

Thanks for the explanation of this app. We would have missed this one and would like to purchase this once it is available in the US.
Our clients really enjoy their individual presentations. We use the hdmi feature on a large screen TV, using either the Z10 or the Playbook.

Using Q10 on official 10.2. Somebody said 'not for Q10' but I disagree wholeheartedly. This is an amazing app! I love it shows everything in widescreen format when presenting coming from the square Q10 screen. At meetings I use the app and type away on my Q. After the meeting I stitch together and have professional presentation in no time.
This practically makes my Q10 an all covering device :)
Thanks to the devs!

Using Q10

I see there is no mention about the Share option.

That's where this app really goes above and beyond imo.

It exports a beautiful self contained HTML page,(including embedded images) that is a full, yet lightweight copy of the presentation for following along, print, publish, etc.


Posted via CB10

Was wondering about what kind of share options this thing has. I think BlackBerry needs a RIM apps discovery section on BlackBerry App World. Have discovered this and the virtual expert through only because of Cracberry

Posted via CB10

Its a lovely app but crashes randomly

Posted via the awesome keyboard on Z10STL100-1/ using CB10 App

I downloaded this app as soon as I found out about it. I created a presentation to test the app out and boy, I am impressed with the results. The animations are smooth and automatic. Just how it should be. Good job, BlackBerry, this is a good move for getting your business users back.

Posted via CB10

love this app. make my BlackBerry Z10 more productive. I can make sure simple presentation quickly using this application.
love my BlackBerry Z10 even more!

Posted via CB10