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Review: BBSmart Shortcuts v1.4

BBSmart Shortcuts
By Ryan Blundell on 13 Aug 2008 12:56 am EDT
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So many buttons, so little time. The convenience keys are great, they allow you to open your two most used applications on your BlackBerry. Just talking about them reminds me of the thread "What do your left/ right side keys open?" With BBSmart Shortcuts, I can now answer that question with 3 words; everything I need!

Being avid BlackBerry users and abusers, you are no doubt familiar with BBSmarts line of fantastic products, including Alarms Pro and the HTML email viewer. Shortcuts offers just that...shortcuts!

By harnessing its power correctly, you will find yourself accessing your usual applications with ease. Once you have Shortcuts downloaded, set it up as one of your convenience keys. After that, you have access to native and third party BlackBerry applications and can even create shortcuts to websites, email and more!

Best of all, you can customize it to work for you! Why don't you have a closer look at Shortcuts, while I try figure out which side key I should use to access it?

Shortcuts to Simplify

Shortcuts
my current setup

The Australian BBSmart company started in 2007 and has already, in my humble opinion, become one of the leading mobile application developers to date. The quality of their products speak for themselves. Shortcuts is available for the 81xx, 83xx and 88xx series of Berrys. I haven't heard of its compatibility with the Bold, so I'm hoping that you Bold users out there will let us know if you're rockin Shortcuts or not.

The interface is crisp, clean and it's sporting my favourite colour! The main menu consists of two sections; the top toolbar and the shortcuts. The toolbar handles all of your favourite applications. Simply click on an icon and you can access the corresponding application. The toolbar can be personalized, by adding, moving or deleting application shortcuts until you have it set up to work for you. Not all applications are supported. For example, as I attempted to add the CB Launcher, my beloved Berry froze. After a battery pull, the CB Launcher was indeed listed in the shortcuts, but it wouldn't click it to redirect me to the CB site. It did make for a nice piece of flair though ;)

Managing the tool bar is quite simple. Highlight any icon in the toolbar and press the menu button. Here you can select New Shortcut, highlight or press T to select the toolbar. Next, choose which program you want to add, then click and you're done. To move or remove an application, open the menu again and highlight or press D to Delete or V to Move. The toolbar can hold more icons than the eight icons that are shown in the default screen, to access more just roll on through to the left or right to find what you're looking for. I kept my shortcuts to between 8 and 12, as I found scrolling side to side through 20 applications a little annoying. I was quite happy to see Shortcuts utilizing keyboard shortcuts to quicken your experience.

Shortcuts
not all applications are supported

Now, onto the other shortcuts. In this second section, you will find the following categories;
Email, Messaging, Phone and Web. Let's break it down and look at each of them.

Email
Do you find that most of your email correspondence is typically limited to a handful of contacts? Mine usually are. To access them, I would either hit the address book, select their name, then select their email. Or, I would select compose then start typing the contact's name. There are some other ways to Email as well. With Shortcuts, it's even easier! Open the menu, select New Shortcut, then email (or E). Start typing the name of the contact. If it's in your address book, Shortcuts will pop some name suggestions on to the screen. Pick the right name, then scroll down to the email field. Their email address(es) will display. Highlight the right one and press Ok. You are now ready to bug them over and over. All you have to do at this point is select their name, clickity click and your blank email opens up, with their name populated in the "To" field.

Shortcuts
adding contacts to Email

Messaging
Ok, remember all that stuff I just said about the Email category? Good. Now picture yourself doing pretty much the same thing for Messaging. For messaging, the keyboard shortcut is M. I've been finding that when I add a contact in the messaging category, my Berry freezes for about 10-15 seconds. I'm hoping this bug will be addressed in the next update.

Phone
It's just what you think, adding phone numbers you call the most! The steps are the same as above. The keyboard shortcut is P (duh!). It's a smart move to add this into the application, since every other contact methods are. I still find myself hitting the call button and selecting from my contacts there. Since I call them the most, they will surely be listed in the call log.

Web
Unlike the previous categories, you cannot access your existing bookmarks from your browser. You can still copy and paste, to save yourself some typing. This category is brought to you by the shortcut W.

Shortcut
adding to the addiction?

The toolbar is very similar to accessing your Zen, L, bottom dock etc, but you are able to side scroll through much more. I found myself using everything except the Messaging and Phone shortcuts, as I didn't find them all that useful. To each their own, as Shortcuts can be customized to suit you. When I would send off a message, I am redirected to the message application, and a press of the back key brought me back to shortcuts. I would like to see PINs being supported in Shortcuts, but then again, I can also set up BlackBerry Messenger in the Toolbar.

Shortcuts
various ways to add shortcuts

Don't you wish there was a shortcut to the conclusion?

BBSmart Shortcuts does offer quite a bit of convenience. I'm hoping that more and more third party applications will be supported with future versions. Kevin, get on the horn and make sure they include the CB Launcher for the next one! Hopefully, they will also be able to allow you to access your bookmarks with ease. Not everyone will use ALL of the categories, but you should find it easier to access the things that keep you addicted to your BlackBerry. There is a free trial period available for BBSmart Shortcuts and it's also available at the CrackBerry store for $8.95. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Shortcuts is on my right key.


Pros

  • quick access to your favourite apps, contacts and web sites
  • beautiful, easy to use interface
  • customize it to suit you

Cons

  • not all third party apps supported
  • adding contacts in Messaging sometimes freezes the Berry
  • cannot access bookmarks directly

Download


Reader comments

Review: BBSmart Shortcuts v1.4

7 Comments

Nice review Ryan. Still one of my favorite/most used apps from when it was first released.

FUNNY - I just for the first time today noticed the Canadian spellings you use in your posts - colour, favourites, etc. Awesome. Global blog!! I think it's time we get the CrackBerry blogs written up in other languages for CrackBerry Addicts worldwide. Any volunteers?

Looks good...any chance they'd offer it as a Theme? Simple, clean and uncluttered. I'd buy it.

I love this trial I'm running. I only wish I could access it with a key on the keypad. I already have the two side keys taken up and I would really hate to have to get rid of one. Eh such is life.