I love seeing new productivity and security apps from BlackBerry. As BlackBerry takes on a pivot to software and services, it's sometimes hard to connect the dots as to what that means for general consumers. If you look closely, however, you'll see ample signs of the quiet innovations in software that users like you and I will get to enjoy.
One such innovation is the recently released BlackBerry Privacy Shade app. This Android app is simple in concept yet extremely practical in use. It does exactly as its name suggests, and offers you a digital privacy shade that puts you in control of what content is visible on your smartphone screen.
Coming into New York planning meetings and coordinating with the teams, I found the application perfectly suited to my use case. Whether I'm next to a stranger on the bus or packed into a subway train, in highly populous areas sensitive information has a way of getting out.
It's hard not to happen a glance upon someone else's screen these days. On the subway, I saw full-length text conversations, family photos and much more without even going out of my way. Phones are everywhere, people are mobile, and it's applications like the BlackBerry Privacy shade that have come to the rescue.
When answering some work email and catching up on Slack notifications, I swiped down from the notification tray and quickly enabled the privacy shade using the persistent notification on my DTEK60. Alternatively, I could have this programmed to the Convenience Key, but I've reserved that function, pragmatically, for the BlackBerry Hub instead.
Turning on the privacy shade blacks out my screen making it impossible for onlookers to get a look at the context of whatever I'm doing on the phone. What's more, I've got control over the shades transparency so that I can still navigate through the device. I've also got control over the viewfinder and how much of the shade I can see through to consume and engage with the content hidden beneath it.
It was easy to quickly read what I wanted without the pressure of someone looking over my shoulder and compromising my privacy. In my uses, however, I found that there was a secondary benefit from using the shade: productivity. I found myself more confident and less anxious while using the privacy shade.
This peace of mind helped me not only stay focused but gave me a sound level of assurance to be able to read that work email on the go. This app allowed me to stay agile with my response times and avoided me potentially forgetting the notification entirely because I was afraid to open it in a public setting.
Apps like these scream 'BlackBerry' and when asked: "Well, what does the BlackBerry do differently than any other phone?" It's thoughtful software experiences like this that I reference. BlackBerry puts us in control of the privacy and security of our devices and builds on the notion that secure mobility does exist in our digital age.
It's about empowering people on the go, and that's why many of us continue to stand by BlackBerry and are excited for the great new phones to come like the BlackBerry KEYone.
Have you tried out the BlackBerry Privacy Shade? It's now available on Google Play, so give it a try and let us know how you like it!