First Look: BlackBerry Link

BlackBerry Link
By Adam Zeis on 28 Nov 2012 11:16 am EST

BlackBerry Desktop Manager has been the staple PC app for backing up, restoring, updating and synching BlackBerry devices for years, however with BlackBerry 10 a refreshed version dubbed BlackBerry Link looks to be taking its place. BlackBerry Link will have many of the same features of the current BlackBerry Desktop Software but has been built for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices (though we're assuming it will be compatible with older devices as well). With the new software, users will easily be able to sync music, videos, photos and documents as well as backup/restore device data, update device software and more. BlackBerry Link will also allow users to access files stored on a computer from their device.

BlackBerry Link will be a fresh start for the desktop software and appears to have a much more user friendly UI. With new features like drag-and-drop sync it will boast more features for BlackBerry 10 as well and hopefully work much better than the older software does now. Being a Mac user I haven't had much luck with the current desktop software as of late (and many Windows users feel the same) so BlackBerry Link will be welcome with open arms. BlackBerry Link should be timed for release with the annoucement of BlackBerry 10 devices in January.

BlackBerry Link First Look 

BlackBerry Link


BlackBerry Link 

Source: N4BB

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

First Look: BlackBerry Link


Research In Motion should be providing this functionality via a cloud service like their BlackBerry Protect with an option to download a copy of the backup to local storage and an option to upload a previously downloaded backup for restoration to the device. I doubt we will see a GNU/Linux version of BlackBerry Link. Heck, they could just provide a QNX VM image with a dedicated application to backup and restore content to/from the smartphone and tablet. Why can't Research In Motion's management understand "thinking outside the box?" want them to create a competing cloud storage solution? Why? and how exactly is that thinking outside the box, there are tons of companies doing it?

P.S. I don't want all my photos, music, documents being uploaded to the "cloud" and guess what...the vast majority of other people don't as well.

You need to think a bit harder about your idea/problem.

To store the backup file for the BlackBerry device much in the same vein as BlackBerry Desktop Software does but as a cloud service. This would ***not*** be the equivalent of Box, DropBox, SugarSync, etc.

Cloud solutions work great of you have constant, fast, reliable access to the cloud. For the majority of users who don't, it sucks.

RIM understands this and the questionable security of cloud based storage and is doing the right thing by keeping personal information stored locally, but accessible when mobile. It gives the user end to end control over their data's security.

Go RIM! Go BlackBerry!

If RIM had really understand it why did they not providing simple mass storage solution, why inventing some new _closed_ protocol?

I bought this z10 thingie just today and found it sucks because of lack of linux support. I even think about returning it back to seller.

(but I'd love to be able to download BB 10 / QNX to run on my desktop the way you can with Ubuntu!!)


I have a lot of contribuate to Barry project to get blackberry support on my linux laptop.

With BlackBerry 10, I don't know if you will be able to continue to use barry. No info about USB protocol.

On PlayBook, I prefer to use the Cloud feature. So I'm used to work with OwnCloud (cloud files over webdav and most, carddav and caldav)

On my dev alpha, I use also OwnCloud.

It's a better way than barry.


It'd be great to see a version that's compatible with Ubuntu - the largest Linux distro - but I wouldn't hold your breath... It's pretty rare to see official Linux support for products, especially in the consumer electronics industry.

It's always been a slow mother. And thank you for using the correct name. It is indeed called BlackBerry Desktop Software.

PlayBook uses Exchange ActiveSync to sync my email, contacts and calendar (we have MS exchange at work). It works almost instantly.

It looks they took away Outlook sync over the desktop.

It is getting harder for those of us who don't have a secure exchange server, and who don't trust our personal information on the unsecured internet/cloud). There is still BBDM for BB7, iTunes for iOS, and MyPhoneExplorer for Android, but I know of no way to sync WP7 without a cloud server.

Being security conscious, hopefully RIM will fix this for BB10 before release.

Best line of the article

"BlackBerry Link will also allow users to access files stored on a computer from their device."

.. and it looks splendid !

Meh. There's this new thing called the "cloud" which allows you to sync files/media WITHOUT having to keep your computer on or connect your device.

BlackBerry just hasn't figured it out. This is what's going to sink them. I don't mean bankruptcy, but they're never going to become #3 in the marketplace without cloud. There's no way around that. Everyone else offers it except them, and the answer is NOT Dropbox/Box/Skydrive.

Way to blow it on the no-brainer. I hope I'm wrong (about them having a cloud service, not about them failing without it).

Research In Motion is the world-leader in not advertising their own products and services. Sometimes I get the impression they want to fail.

if this is in reply to the link I posted its still beta and has been shown at the jam sessions. They are probably waiting to give it full attention when launching BB10. I do agree though

Explains that in site once signed in....commercial space "coming soon" with lots of features....Jan 30th announcement?? Awesomeness!

I realize ODS is beta and will not be ready until January 30, 2013, or sometime thereafter. However, Research In Motion should be promoting these services ahead of the official launch of BlackBerry 10. Failure to capture mindshare will inevitably lead to failure to capture marketshare. RIM needs to make the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem so compelling that people will delay purchasing new smartphones until the launch of BlackBerry 10 in January 2013.

Why is the answer not Box/Skydrive/Dropbox? Why is it necessary for RIM to derail their focus on BB10 to provide users with something that already exists. Most people don't care about the "cloud". Pretty much every iPhone user is used to plugging in for iTunes. If the OS has native integration with other services I don't see a problem.

No chance of becoming #3 in the market is true, that would require them to move from that position.

Supporting the more established cloud options is not a bad thing either, they need to have the framework in place for these services to be seamlessly added in a similar manner to how accounts are added to the hub.

I just really hope there is real-time cloud sync between at least PlayBook and BB10 device. AKA take a picture on your phone, view it on your PlayBook seconds later. If they could extend that to the desktop it would be even better (Though I imagine we can do this with camera roll upload from SkyDrive or DropBox as well)

Also Chris Umi's suggestion that they have a BBM client on desktop would be fantastic as well.

I've always sent feedback about this for the previous & current versions. I'm not sure how BB10 will handle this or if its needed at all for the infrastructure, but it is surely a great missing feature for the current version of DM. The workaround currently used is a bit archaic, IMO.

Anything (almost) will be better than BB Desktop Software. I've found the current software to be frustrating to use. Hopefully BB Link will be a welcoming replacement.

Speaking only as a BB owner who has only ever had a BB on BIS I am not sure why we need this legacy software any more? If there are BES uses for it I admit to ignorance of that but for us who will get a BB10 phone on what is BIS now - if calendar, contacts and tasks will be handled by active sync, (the main reason I use DM now), why do I still need this? The other majors are moving the other functions off of computers into the cloud. Why do I need to be tethered to a desktop any longer?

Nobody is forced to use this software, it gives people another option if they want to use it that's all.

I hope the Music tab has full song and playlist management capabilities. As well I hope we finally get to see BlackBerry App World through Link and maybe even a DLNA section to manage PlayOn features for devices on the same network..

Could BB Link as be one step closer to developing a mobile computing platform? I am just throughing this out there for discussion.

From the last screen shot it looks like Link only supports playbook and BB10, which is a shame, as support for older devices would give then an ideal way for users to transfer data across between devices.

Maybe they will have some kind of migration agent.

How does the current version of DM support products with DRM. Say songs, and movies purchased from itunes? Is it difficult to sync or simply plug and play?

Yes. Currently versions are sitting at - BlackBerry Link PC and Mac <--Yes, there will be a Mac version obviously.

Do you suppose it could restore a 3.3 GB PlayBook backup in under an hour? I just had to reset the PB on the advice of RIM support, but I've never experienced sync/backup software/machine so slow in my LIFE!

Remote access to my computer ... good. I can't imgagine RIM not understanding it is CRITICAL to be able to sync the PB to Outlook, so even tho it is basic and should have been done ages ago I look forward to it. I am just trying my best to have faith that it will happen.

A new desktop application is a much needed addition.

Hopefully it's not simply a UI refresh and actually includes some much needed functionality.

I see the reasons against cloud sync, but how about Wi-Fi or bluetooth sync? There needs to be no cables involved, and if my phone and pc sync as soon as they are on the same network, that's as good as it gets for me! Local storage + wireless connectivity.

All things said and done: I prefer the cloud

I see why some people prefer the convenience of syncing via the cloud, but when security is important, some people need another option.

I don't care if the connection is over USB, WiFi, BlueTooth, NFC, IR, or Morse code! The point is that I need to be able to sync my personal data (including documents, contacts, calendars, tasks, and notes) between my smartphone and my computer *without* exposing it to an unsecured internet connection or an unencrypted cloud server. Being able to do it without an internet connection is also a bonus.

This is currently possible with BB7, iOS, and Android (via 3rd party apps), but not WP7. Frankly, I'll be surprised if RIM doesn't allow an option in BB10 for its security-conscious customers.

I don't really like that Windows Phone/Metro style of it. And I hope that it will support SMS, BBM, contacts and calendar too. For media sync I can just use any sync app like SyncToy.

I don't know what to say. I like it, this is just going to be easier. Can't wait to have this on my computer alongside desktop manager,

Hopefully the synchronization is folder-based and not software-based... The current version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager insists that users synchronize the multimedia via Windows Media Player or iTunes - I use Media Go, which is far better than either.

I'm not seeing anything that looks like an integral calendar function mentioned anywhere, sigh. I was really hoping for something that wouldn't require 3rd party software.

(I miss my Palm desktop)

It is amazing how dense BlackBerry has become. I get the feeling that whoever is running things has made a conscious effort to alienate all serious users. First they remove the ability to to sync with Outlook; then they promise that they are working on a fix (which was a lie.) Then they tell us all we have to do is sign up for a different email account with Live Mail (or join Outlook .com.)

So - in order to just do what I have been doing, for the past 8 years, I must pay a third party vendor $50.00 because BlackBerry engineers are incapable (or unwilling) to do it.

Tomorrow will be the first day that I can get the Z10 at the discounted price. If I am going to have to completely change how I am doing things, it might be better to just change, now, to an iPhone or Android. Until now, I have not thought seriously about changing, because I really like the way Desktop Manager works.