When it comes to utility applications on my BlackBerry I tend to be critical and picky. However, there are times where something unique comes along where I just have to take a look. In this case the ‘Built for BlackBerry’ application in question is Golden Retriever for BlackBerry 10. What makes this stand out amongst the crowd is that it truly does offer capabilities rare to the platform. This headless application allows you to remotely control your BlackBerry device using commands sent via email.
Now as the developer explains this comes in handy if you loan your handheld to a friend or family member or if you lose or misplace it. In these instances, you can still fetch the information you seek from your BlackBerry without having it nearby.
Using the application is quite easy. Once installed you simply setup a password for the application and select the email account you wish to monitor. To access the list of commands simply swipe down from the top and tap on help. After this is complete you can log into one of your email accounts from your laptop and all you have to do is send yourself an email with “Golden” (without quotes) in the Subject and your command in the body of the message. Golden Retriever monitors your selected inbox for the commands and after it is received will email you back a response with the desired information.
For example, if you would like to know the battery status on your device, you would send an email with Battery in the message body. A response will come back with the battery level and temperature. Other items you can fetch via email is a query for calendar events that match a particular keyword (items are returned as downloadable text files), contact details from the address book, turn on the flash for a specified time, convey the current location of the device, view all unread SMS messages, and even retrieve one or more files from the device’s file system or media card.
One final interesting, yet spooky, command is that you can remotely turn on the microphone, record audio for a user defined duration, and have it sent back to you. For a full list of commands a message sent with “Help” in the body will return a list of all available command with examples.
In terms of security, the developer outlines all app permissions and an explanation for each one can be found as part of the description in BlackBerry World. For anyone who is concerned you can head on over and have a look.
Not only is the interface is easy to navigate but the application and commands are not that difficult to use or remember. As an added security measure, there is a whitelist tab to restrict which email addresses the application will accept commands from. All you have to do is add a contact and only commands sent by that address are accepted. The only issue I discovered is that you should try to avoid sending commands from the same email as the one you are monitoring. This may cause an issue where commands are not received or deleted properly and duplicate email requests.
- Easy to use UI
- Remotely control your BlackBerry anywhere via email commands
- Security measures to prevent unknown persons from retrieving your data
- Built-in bug reporting features - Developer is responsive to issues and new feature requests
- Grab important files, contact details, and calendar entries no matter where you are
- Known bug on 10.2.1 where received commands are not deleted properly
- Issue when sending commands from the same account
The Bottom Line
For me this would come in handy if I inadvertently left my BlackBerry at home or somewhere else and needed to access certain files or information throughout the day or find where it was. This is a useful application in those circumstances or in any event where you do not always have access to your device. Golden Retriever supports all BlackBerry 10 handhelds and is $3.99 to purchase.