Long running headless apps now officially require OS 10.2.1

By Adam Zeis on 1 Nov 2013 11:48 am EDT
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Headless apps are on the way to BlackBerry 10. If you haven't heard the term before, they are apps that run in the background and don't require an open Active Frame to function. As of now, there are a slew of apps that need to stay open to perform tasks - LED apps, call blockers and the like. Currently some developers are working on headless apps and a few are starting to trickle into BlackBerry World. 

Unfortunately the word on the street is that long running headless apps will now officially require a minimum OS of 10.2.1 to function, and of course that OS is not currently available (though a few leaks have been spotted). So that means the few apps that are currently headless will be bumped up to 10.2.1 and most users won't be able to take advantage of the new feature.

It's a big drag and it seems like headless apps are a growing issue for devs, but we'll see what comes of it.

Discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums

Reader comments

Long running headless apps now officially require OS 10.2.1

172 Comments

I see this as a positive. There was much despair over the way headless apps were being implemented in 10.2.0... pushing it back to 10.2.1 could mean they are retooling it for a much better process in the end.

Posted via CB10

Me too, I am just happy that their brilliant but busy software team is finally getting around to focus on this now.

But not in ideal circumstances. The whole point is I don't want an active frame open constantly. This issue was raised well before release so it is not a new issue for BlackBerry
This smartphone market is highly competitive and BlackBerry need to raise their game majorly.

Posted via CB10

I'm sure you missed it, because I've been running 10.2 officially for a couple of weeks now:)

2 DABs, a black Q10 and Red Z10(LE) :)

They have already landed.....

Problem is will carriers who are testing and approving 10.2 right now.... want to go through the process so soon for another update on a device that has a very small footprint on their networks.

In the US if ATT or Verizon release a 10.2 in the following month (doubtful with Verizon)..... they may not even bother with a 10.2.1 and wait until 10.3 in six months.

When Verizon initially released the Z, the OS that came installed had some features present that were not available on Z10s that had come out earlier with 10.0. I'm hoping that when Verizon does drop 10.2 that it does come with some 10.2.1 features such as, hopefully, headless app capability.

BlackBerry always has that nagging "too little too late issue working against them. It is time to get ahead of the curve.

Posted via CB10

Agreed. Every time potentially good news pops up, there is a caveat. It is especially tiresome for US customers in this instance, as carriers take forever to roll out OS updates. I don’t mind loading leaks at all, but for those that like to stick to official OS rollouts, it sucks. Too bad BlackBerry doesn't have the choice to say "F the carriers" and push out the updates at will.

Posted via BBCBZ10

Hee hee back to the carrier discussion. It must a complicated process because, still, there's only one company that is able to do this. Everyone else without exception has to push it through carriers.

Wonder if the consumers rally enough, could we change it.

BlackBerry also has a lot of existing customers that demand specific requirements from their OS that others CANNOT deliver on. As much as iOS and Android can deliver cheapie games for kids, they cannot deliver the secure and robust platform that serious folks require in business, government, police, and even a little guy like me :) They can say all they want about their security until you ask if the device can be jailbroken! However, it doesn't end there. Does each app run in a managed and protected space or can apps clobber others in user space and even in kernel space? This is stuff that cannot be fixed - it must be baked into the OS. Sorry, you simply can't build a skyscraper only to make huge changes to the foundation.

Your point is understood, but to be honest, it's a lame defense. The other side of what you are saying is that I should consider it normal to wait until my phone is a year old for this basic level of functionality.

Sorry, but I disagree. This phone/OS should have been able to do this from day one.

Posted via CB10

I'm not suggesting you have to wait a year for basic features, but this is not basic. This is quite complex and requires a great deal of careful planning and design. The iPhone doesn't do this, so I wouldn't consider it "basic level of functionality". How long has the iPhone been on the market. I don't see folks beating Apple up on this "basic" missing feature.

10.2.1 has an enhanced Device Monitor app that is essential for headless apps. It shows what is turning in the background and allows you to stop it.

STL3 1791 hybrid w/10.2.1 bars

I really depends what you're thinking. I'm thinking more like 10.1 to 10.2 a few months. 10.2 to 10.2.1 one month. 10.2.1 to 10.3 two to three months.

Yeah he did. 10.2.1 was planned to be as a quick follow up of 10.2 release.
Judging how 10.2 release was faaar better worlwild than any prior ones, we may be confident here...

Q10  OS 10.2.1.575+1792 Radio

BlackBerry is becoming the new word for incompetent.
A highly anticipated feature that should have been in from 10.0 being further delayed just shows how BlackBerry can not read the market anymore

Posted via CB10

Although I don't entirely disagree with your opinion on their level competence, I feel I need to mention that of the eight people I know with a BB10 device (including myself) I am the only one who really knows or wants this "highly anticipated" feature. So I'm not sure just how "highly anticipated" it really is.

Posted via CB10

Yep, reminds me of the iphone copy and paste fiasco couple years ago
how long did that take again?

Posted via CB10

I don't think iOS had the ability for apps to do what headless apps will do, so how can BlackBerry be knocked for having this ability coming soon?

People rip BlackBerry for not having features yet that other OSes don't have and don't have plans for.

Posted via my Z10

Keyword is had.
Phones can do what headless apps will do already. I don't give a flying monkey what the competition couldn't do in the past.
That is irrelevant and the mantra of clueless fanboys.
BlackBerry need to compete with what phones can do now.
Heck even BlackBerry 7 can do it better than BlackBerry 10 so why wasn't it included from the start

Posted via CB10

finally someone that gets it.
comparing to something years old is kinda pointless.
To coin a phrase, you have to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.

Wait, does iOS allow headless apps right now in iOS7. I was under the impression that apps have to be open on the iPhone in order to accomplish anything. Also, iOS doesn't allow almost any of the customization that BlackBerry apps allow, which is the whole reason people want headless processes in the first place.

Custom LEDs, wallpaper changers, battery monitors, custom ring tones, etc are all features that iOS doesn't even allow. Take 90% of the apps that people are wanting headless processes for, and you will realize that they aren't even possible on the leading smart phone in the US.

Let's stop criticizing BlackBerry for trying to accommodate it's customers needs instead of the alternative where a company tells us what our eeds needs are. I know it sucks that we were told this feature would be here by now, but at least it is coming. You could always go to iOS and never get the customization that this feature will bring!

Posted via my Z10

BlackBerry 7 had it.
It's not about "accomodating" needs.
It's more restoring the level of service that I used to get with BlackBerry.
I know it takes time to get the new os up to that level of efficiency but if they can waste their time changing the loading circles and pinning android menu bars permanently to the run time then I am glad to wonder why they aren't on top of the bigger issues like this

Posted via CB10

I think it's more a case of implementing it so that security is not compromised. I'm sure if they didn't give a rip about malicious apps or processes running headless, then this would have been in from day 1. But they do. And that's one reason why I love my Berry!

Swiped with one thumb from the virtual keyboard of my awesome Z10!

There are multiple teams of programmers at BlackBerry, each one working on a different thing. In fact, if too many people were working on the same thing at once, it would make the project more difficult and probably cause mistakes and a longer development time.

Posted via my Z10

ok, so lets give you a real world example of why this change is a bad thing.

CB yesterday (or might of been day before) blogged that Aerize app for setting wallpapers for lockscreen and homescreen. its runs in the background and was available on 10.2 which is in the public`s hands. That dev has made some money from the app over the last few days in sales.

However, now that its not 10.2 and ya need 10.2.1, you cant download it from BB World anymore, meaning that dev wont make another penny until 10.2.1 comes out (yes people use leaks, i know, but thats not many).

So people who had backgrounding apps that were making money on BB World as of today arent. I`m sure they`ll find that to be a lovely situation and will be able to look hapily at the `at least its coming` statement.....or maybe not.

I don't want any of those things. A working task manager and appointment reminder system that supports GTD or Covey would be my first choice.

Posted via CB10

So did thorsten heins in his speech at the AGM.

What's your point? To coin a phrase means to use a phrase spoken often. Missing the point tho aren't ya.

Posted via CB10

chuckle... 'coin a phrase' means you invent it on the fly... that you are the originator

sorry champ, looks like that puck flew by you... lol

That embarrassing moment when you realize you've been using an idiom incorrectly for as long as you've known it.

Posted via CB10

Wow! Someone on the Internet didn't use the right phrase! Omg call the phrase police.

Quit acting childish and afresh the actual problem with headless apps. Not superficial use of phrases

Posted via CB10

Some people ya can't teach tho. They think saying something not positive about BlackBerry is akin to the worst sins imagineable.

Posted via CB10

Actually, one of the worst sins is slamming BBRY for every little misstep and giving the competition a free pass.

to be clear, you need to show me where i have given the competition a `free pass`.
Also bear in mind I use a BlackBerry, so if theres some random thing thats not 100% with another phone then ye they should fix that, but maybe i care more about what i use.

Anyways, ask devs who had backgrounding apps that were selling and earning them a living and now arent, and im pretty certain they`ll disagree this is `a little misstep`.

Actually, no.

Used correctly, it would mean to mint or coin a new expression.

Used incorrectly, it means to use a banal or clichéd expression.

It is being commonly misused by many people, which is causing some confusion.

Posted via CB10

Good for you! Well said!! Those devs screaming for headless apps are asking more from BlackBerry than they are asking of Apple. Apple finally opened the door to true multitasking in iOS 7. How long have devs waited for this feature?

BlackBerry isn't Apple.
If they ever reach that level of success than they can do what they want.
when they are fighting for survival I expect better because I want BlackBerry to succeed and they won't if they keep going like this.

Posted via CB10

I agree with the fighting for survival part of that, but the first part about Apple is what will eventually be their downfall. This is the reason the door was open for Samsung/Android to take the worldwide Smartphone lead.

Posted via my Z10

Guys, BlackBerry's supposed downfall isn't because of this missing feature. There are many features in BB10 that are also "missing", and BB is committed to getting this done. 10.2 has some support for headless apps.

So you are easy on big "I'll do whatever I want because I can" companies but hard on smaller more niche companies? Seems legit...
"Hey Apple don't you worry about adding functionality to your OS that has been missing for 7 years. Make new phones that are more expensive and offer little that's new. Make new iPads that are thinner and slightly faster and...thinner. Change the look of your OS and call it revolutionary and I'll gladly piss myself. Who needs NFC or DLNA or HDMI or Miracast or USBOTG? Lots of people, but that's OK no biggie. Why on earth would I need email friendliness on a corporate phone, right? Cuz your phones are 'better' and 'just work', right? Yay!"
" Hey BlackBerry. New OS from the ground up in 2 years? Boring! Still managing legacy OS? Don't care! 2 major OS updates in 1 year and 4 phones? Child's play! Not every functionality I ever had on a 14 year old legacy platform right off the jump? Amateur hour!"

...seems legit

Posted via CB10

Apple is a big company and I can understand complacency from them. I don't understand complacency from a company on the ropes.
I also don't care about apple. I will still be pointing out BlackBerry faults if they were the biggest company in the world. I want it to be perfect

Posted via CB10

All that is fine and good but from reading your posts, I am not sure I have read a single complimentary thing you have said about BBRY. Nice to know you want them to be "perfect" though...

You have to go a long way back.
I think that BlackBerry have completely screwed up the BlackBerry 10 launch and I have been very critical of them.
I'm probably harsher than I should but that is because I think BlackBerry 10 has genuine potential and I'm seeing it wasted.

Posted via CB10

I just don't see how BlackBerry can be considered complacent right now. They were in the past, but with BlackBerry 10, they have been everything but complacent.

Posted via my Z10

If you want them to succeed, they must get this right. They are doing the right thing by supporting headless apps in 10.2. Persistent headless apps will come in 10.2.1.

Maybe because anyone with a BB6 or 7 device was used to having apps that work this way, and were surprised to find BB10 (0 to 2.0) didn't.

No, they are being ripped for failing to include a basic level of functionality for BlackBerry phones.

I bought the flagship (at the time) BlackBerry phone. I expect it to at least have the level of functionality that I've been accustomed to enjoying when using other BlackBerry phones.

Posted via CB10

Do you even plan on running something headless? Even when the support gets here few apps are going to use it, in the meantime you can keep an Active Frame open, I fail to see what all this whining is about when it's something that few apps will use.

2 DABs, a black Q10 and Red Z10(LE) :)

I'm running FlipShush on my Z10 with OS10.2.0.1791 and it doesn't work without an active frame open. I even tried to go into the settings and activate the ""run in background" option but it doesn't let me.

Posted via CB10

I'm running it headless on the official 10.2. Runs just fine. However, keep in mind that FlipShush is not a long running headless app. To understand the difference look at the developer documentation and blogs about headless apps on BlackBerry 10.

Posted via CB10

Fair point, but then why don't I have the option to activate "run in background" when I'm running OS 10.2? I even tried it out by closing the active frame and it doesn't work.

Posted via CB10

It is only the "pro" version that allows for run in background - have you upgraded your app?

On official 10.2 (0.1791) FlipShush works just fine and does not require any active frame

I haven't tried Flip Shush yet or the other couple of headless apps that have been announced in the forums.... does seem strange this announcement and the fact that some are working now.

read it again, the requirement has changed. this doesnt mean its gone from your phone, but it does mean nobody can download headless apps unless they are on 10.2.1

Have a look at flip shush in BB World on PC, it now says you cant download unless you have 10.2.1 or higher.

Simply put, they moved the goal posts, and devs that had apps making them money now dont.

I don't know how this is a bad thing, BB listened to devs and added the support for long running headless apps, this is great news

The thing is we were expecting it for 10.2.

10.2.1 hasn't been released as yet and no one except Blackberry has a clue when it will be.

My faith in BBRY is being restore. No need to try and please the people that use their phone. But put the focus to the people that make use of the phone. Now all we need to hear about is the camera/picture over haul.

Posted via CB10

Sorry, that's not true. 10.2.0 already has the long-running ability, but it doesn't work properly on all devices or versions out there, so they're "artificially" restricting the approval of long-running headless ones so they won't get into the wild until 10.2.1.

lol if ONLY.
Unfortunately you don't have to wait for the next negative Hybrid comment. They are always already there.

Posted via CB10

That's really difficult for them to do when you're using information gained from developers and not official announcements.

If you don't have the official 10.2 latest Os update then FlipShush probably won't allow headless mode to work. Which I have and it works beautifully

Posted via CB10

Will headless apps allow live wallpaper? The only thing I miss after switching from Android to a Z10 is Electric Sheep.

I have a few app ideas, but sadly all need headless support to actually be worth anything to end users.

Here's to a quick deployment of 10.2.1... ¬¬

Let's be honest folks. Headless apps introduce new risks - they can degrade performance by sucking up all resources such as processing power and memory. These destroy the user experience on a BlackBerry - QNX was designed to kill off such processes. They can also be a security risk - apps that spy on you! While the QNX based BB10 offers a great way to sandbox and manage apps, any apps in the background can still have access to some of the hardware resources - microphone, screen, keyboard, storage.

Do I want some background app taking snapshots of my screen while I'm doing my online banking? Or my keystrokes while I type in my password? What about capturing files I'm saving to my dropbox? Anyone paying attention to the NSA scandal? Seriously, I'm not interesting to any government or police agency so I have nothing to worry about. I do have to worry about hackers looking to capitalize on me and my family's assets - what little we do have.

So let's be serious here - BlackBerry has to tightly restrict what headless apps can do, especially persistent headless apps. Yes, it will make it more of a challenge for devs, but who wants an unsecured BlackBerry? BB has built their name on security, and security never comes without a cost.

Some fundamental things need a lot of testing and the approval of security experts. You simply can't rush into these things. This is where Apple had BlackBerry beat - it's far easier for the new kid on the block because they don't have as much of a concern for these things. Today Apple is putting a lot of effort into closing some holes, so you are seeing far fewer changes to iOS as they try not to create new security holes. iOS 7 has been the biggest change since the iPhone 3G.

Rush? BlackBerry knew about this well before release.
BlackBerry 7 could do this are we now saying BlackBerry 7 is not secure?

Posted via CB10

BB7 apps could and often did cripple the entire device. BBRY's main priority was to get stable BB10 devices out there. They did that. Background or headless apps was more difficult to implement, and they had to do much better than the way it was done in BB7.

I am not defending BBRY. In fact, I'm not affiliated with BBRY in any way, but I am a developer who understands writing device level code. I know how much effort it takes to design and write code at that level, and the domino effect it has on everything else above it. All of a sudden, a bunch of apps start to misbehave or don't work at all because of changes that were made to bring a new feature to the market that required changes at the kernel level. This will not be good.

The real POA is not long running headless but more triggers. Event triggers are few currently and BlackBerry has stated that their goal is to have enough event triggers so that long running headless would be rare or not needed.

Posted via CB10

Couldn't this be used to leak info and what not? I mean I notice that you can still run apps if you deny access to what they ask to share but I like my security on my BlackBerry and this seems like it would bog down the phone even if it shuts down after X amount of time let alone what it dumps regarding use and ect...... just saying.

Posted via CB10

OK so when is 10.2.1 coming? By the slew of leaks I'd assume soon? Maybe end of the month? Christmas the latest.

Posted via CB10

A lot of excellent points and yes I did real all of the comments. Please BlackBerry listen to the supporters (us). All I ask personally is for BlackBerry to keep going forward and keep BlackBerry alive.

Posted via CB10

Won't 10.2.1 make a lovely Christmas gift for all these die hard users who stuck with BlackBerry through the thick and thin...BlackBerry and OS 10 will live on!!

Posted via CB10

I just can't do this anymore...I don't have the patience to go through the growing pains with this OS any longer. Headless or background apps is something that every other OS (including BBOS) has had for years, and I've been counting on this coming to BB10 since February when I first jumped onboard. I don't want to have to remember to go manually start up each app after a reboot and have them open in active frames. It's just silly...time to try out the Nexus 5.

Whatever it takes, just get it right. It won't do anyone any good if the h-apps are unstable with the current os. I must say I am encouraged by the recent effort by BlackBerry to deliver the goods, and their persistent progress on such a young platform. I'm not sure what motivates the staff at HQ, but when you consider what they are being dragged through, they clearly still have some game to play.

Sent from the future on my Z10.

So just "Keep Moving" the bar further out so devs have a hard time meeting these requirements. I want my BeBuzz to work like it's really meant to work, in the background. Whats the big deal?

I liked "Berryreview" comments (from their website): "In other words one of the most long awaited and touted feature of OS 10.2 is pushed off yet again. Don’t get me wrong I want BlackBerry to get this right but this is starting to going beyond ridiculous."

Well said.

Hey Adam,
It seems like you constantly bashing BlackBerry for the headless app. Here is some facts:
Is BB10 a main stream - No
Does the average Joe buys BB10 - No
Do people buy BB10 because are looking for a smarter/better/faster OS than Android and iOS - Yes
Hense we need a good implementation of headless apps, not for developers but for us, the end users. My observation is that BlackBerry is doing exactly that.

Posted via CB10 on Q10

+1 on the third point and on your conclusion. I'm not pleased BB10 is not mainstream, and I wish the average Joe did buy BB10. It is certainly what iOS hopes and wants to be - they can dream. They'll never get the QNX architecture. iOS will have to be re-architected - that will not happen. Apple won't want to lose their 1M app store.

We'll no wonder you wish BlackBerry to become mainstream - you are a fanboy.

Mainstream means they will more power and will be easy to control/manipulate ppl, like Apple, Google and etc.
When they are on the rise, they are trying to please more ppl, hence care more, bring more innovation and so on.

You need to get out of the fanboy phaze to realize these things.

Posted via CB10 on Q10

My only interest is WHEN will 10.2.1 (or however the Version will be named) arrive my device... It so poor to be forced to keep a lot of "senseless" active frames open...

Have you seen what iPhone users have to put up with? When they hold down the home button, they have dozens of apps that are running or were running - they have to flip through a bunch of them to find what they want.

I initially wrote this elsewhere:

"Obviously, not blaming you but this is pure BS. Why can't they let the world move ahead even while they hide under a rock not selling devices that lack some of the power and sophistication of BB7 devices. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of come corpse somewhere - they killed the Playbook announcing the demise of Tablets in five years while TABLETS are selling faster than anything else out there. Sheesh, just SHEESH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They might even sell another million BB10 devices if they just restored the BRIDGE, the now crippled function between the Playbook and their phones. "

... They had to squash the tablet in order to move ahead. BlackBerry truly believes that the tablet is going away; perhaps not right away, but in the next few Years.
I somewhat agree with it. I have never used anything other than my laptop and phone. Now, with the advent of what BlackBerry is doing with the bb10 device, we can see why they chose to phase-out the tablet.
The caveat here is that they did not want kick it to the curb so fast, but their experts could not get the PlayBook to run smoothly with 10.2, so the slow fade was replaced by a sharp cliff. "Oops!" was the word. (Paraphrased and condensed!).

Will the 10.2.1 leak make my BeBuzz run in the background as an headless app? Or does the developer have to make changes for the app to support 10.2.1?

Posted via CB10

Your making it a mountain out of amole hill. It's bloody coming
I'd rather they do it right than have apps take up precious resources and we find our smartphones slowing down or becoming buggy due to dodgy implementation.

Again. MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLE HILL

They probably need to make the os more battery friendly before they introduce this. As it is, I cannot get through a full day of moderate use on 10.1. Pretty bad.

Posted from BlackBerry Z10

Xtreme Maps Pro - Blazing Fast, Offline Maps, Voice Turn By Turn Navigation Maps - will be headless.. :)

Posted via CB10

ADAM are you kidding me ????????? There is no significant Callblocker on BB10. Let alone callbroker's as in more than one. Lets get it right Pal and fix the problem!!!!!!!!!!

Ugh honestly I have only one app I want to be headless and that's HUB++,

What I really want:
- Autorun / Minimize on boot
- Lock active tile to prevent os from closing
- set active tile as tile one so it's always first
- remember the above settings for apps that autorun