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Review: Calendar Pro for BlackBerry Smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 30 Mar 2010 04:12 pm EDT
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Is time always on our side? Sadly, no. This is especially true when your daily routine is thrown a curveball by life itself. Some take these detours in stride, while others, not so much. Not everyone can handle life’s little, while managing their professional and personal schedules or appointments. The next thing you know, important events are forgotten and you begin to stress, as you strain to keep everything organized. Of course the first question to be asked is – why the heck haven’t you been using your BlackBerry to help you out?!

The BlackBerry calendar has done a fantastic job so far by reminding me of important appointments and such; though my wife tells me that I should use it more often. Don’t tell her, but I think she may be right. The problem I have, is that I typically input entries with such haste, that I tend to leave out information that I could make use of. The reason is because, as great as it is, I don’t necessarily see the native calendar set up to work how I would like it to be. The solution may be the Calendar Pro application. Let’s see if this “powerful time management system” is the answer.

About Calendar Pro

The Calendar Pro application is brought to you by SBSH Mobile Software LTD. Back in October 2008, I had the chance to review their first BlackBerry application, their secure storage solution called SafeWallet Pro. Now this doesn’t mean that this was their first mobile app. Since 2002, they have offered various applications for Windows Mobile, iPhone and Symbian S60. The application requires you to be running OS 4.5 or higher. If you have a look at the CrackBerry App Store, it seems as though there is no support for the Storm or Storm 2- sorry guys. The most current version of Calendar Pro is 1.0.3 and has a file size of 400 KB. SafeWallet Pro is a fantastic application - I’m hoping I will be equally impressed with Calendar Pro, if not more.

Essentially, Calendar Pro goes above and beyond the native Calendar application as far as features and appearance. Upon opening Calendar Pro, you are presented with four different views to choose from; Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Tasks. As you would with the native Calendar, you have to access the menu to choose which view you want to work with.


views

I especially love how fluid the appointment and task entry process is. Calendar Pro opts for tab navigation over a standard template. For example – in an appointment entry screen, options are divided into 5 tabs; Details, Notes, Categories, Recurrence and Attendees (the last one is a great addition!). Task Tabs are exactly same, minus the Attendees tab. Call me crazy, but this layout seems much easier to navigate, as I can easy scroll past fields that are unnecessary. Under the Details tab, each field is identified by an icon rather than text. I prefer this type of view, but others may find it a bit confusing at first. I absolutely love how my entries can be colour coded, so I can see at a glance if an appointment is of a business or personal nature, without have to open the actual appointment entry. Also, with the ability to add additional categories, I can quickly differentiate my standard personal entries with personal entries I cannot miss (skatin g lessons). You can also easily identify categories by assigning specific icons.


calendar entry

task entry

Let’s look at each view:

The Daily view screen displays a horizontal time bar divided into hours. This bar will display time slots in which appointment entries have been made. If used, these slots will be filled in by a category colour. Below this bar, you will see the list of appointments for that day. Calendar Pro will also use icons to indicate if an entry has a reminder, a category icon, attendees or if it is recurring.


view daily

The Weekly View is a typical grid running from Monday to Sunday between 8am to 8pm by default. This can be changed in the settings menu. On this grid, appointments are indicated as blocks of time that are filled in with a colour that is assigned to the category in use. If you haven’t used a category, or haven’t assigned colour coding, the block of time is filled in with white. As you highlight the appointment, you will see brief details of it at the bottom of the screen (namely the subject and start/end time). Tasks are displayed along a grey bar that sits just between the days of the week and the time. Each block shown indicates a task.


view the week

In the Month View, the days again run from Monday to Sunday. For days with appointments, you will see a white bar in the middle of the grid box. This represents the timeline for that day. Any appointments will appear on this time line approximately when they occur. The bottom of the screen will display basic details of the entry. For days with multiple entries, this section will only display the first two. Tasks are displayed by small dots outside of the timeline.


view the month

The Task View presents all of your tasks in a list. From this list, you would be able to see due dates, categories, reminders and which one was completed. The Task view also makes use of the colour coding option.


Tasks

Calendar Pro also makes use of keyboard shortcuts, allowing you to create and manage appointments/tasks much more quickly. Calendar Pro does sync up with your native calendar quite nicely; as you can see entries from either calendar app in both. You can also sync with calendar apps such as Outlook, as Calendar Pro has been built on top of your BlackBerrys default databases. I had no problem managing calendar entries made before installing Calendar Pro.

Conclusion

If the goal of Calendar Pro is to be an intuitive calendar application, mission accomplished. With visual aids that include icons, colour coding and time blocking, it’s easy to see when you’re free and when you’re busy. You can also see what type of appointment or task you are working with. I did find a small issue when saving items- After I choose to save an appointment or task, one would expect to be redirected to a calendar or task view. In this case you are not; you remain in the entry screen. Calendar Pro is a little pricy at $14.95, but you can take advantage of the free trial period to make sure this application is right for you. You can pick up Calendar Pro from the CrackBerry App Store or from the new CrackBerry Superstore.

Pros

  • Easily create appointments and tasks
  • Colour Coded categories
  • Quickly view when you are free or not

Cons

  • Some issues with saving items

More Info

Reader comments

Review: Calendar Pro for BlackBerry Smartphones

78 Comments
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I use it over the standard BB calendar. I've tried a couple different types of calendar apps and nothing seems to compare to the PocketInformant. But thats my opinion. (sorry CalendarPro)

Which version of Calendar Pro have you tried? It really went a long way since the first official release.

Also, keep in mind that Calendar Pro development is moving in the fastest pace compared to all other BlackBerry calendar apps, so it is definitely going to over take any other calendar app in no time when comparing the rather slow development pace of other calendar apps for BlackBerry.

Furthermore, since you can currently get Calendar Pro an introduction price of $9.72, it is less than half the price than any of the competition:

http://downloads.sbsh.net/nl/2010_02_bb_calendar_1_0/news.html

I was just looking at pocketinformant, and the two programs looked very similiar from what I read. I couldn't tell any distinguishes differences right off the bat. They both look extremely user friendly and easy to use.

if it was cheaper, but does this replace the standard calendar or are you just adding on, and does anybody know of any calendar app that just adds colors to appointments

Hi Oz1421 :)

Take a look at the link I included here below to get Calendar Pro introduction offer for $9.72 (instead of the retail $14.95)

http://downloads.sbsh.net/nl/2010_02_bb_calendar_1_0/news.html

Calendar Pro brings a more powerful engine and tools than the built-in calendar, but it is based on top of the BlackBerry default Calendar and Tasks databases. This means that all data you enter with Calendar Pro will also be visible with your built-in Calendar in case you wish to switch back for any reason, and of course vice-versa, so all of your current Calendar and Tasks information will automatically be visible within Calendar Pro as soon as you install it.

Another very good advantage due to the fact that Calendar Pro is based on the BlackBerry built-in databases is that Calendar Pro automatically maintains compatibility with any other calendar related applications. This means it will automatically work with any today themes you got on your home screen; Any sync you are using that synchronize with your default Calendar and Tasks will also sync with Calendar Pro automatically and so forth.

I hope that this helps :)

The last time I tried PI, you had to manually SYNC it with the internal calendar and then make sure it sync'd up properly with Gcal (if you use google sync) - tons of issues if you didn't sync after a change, etc - made my life hell for a couple of weeks, No thanks!

You can try agendus for Blackberry. I heard from my friends that its really good. But a bit pricier. You will love it if you are old Palm Treo user.

Like the review said, it does not work for the Storm. I have tried it in the past. If they made a Storm version I would get this app.

We are now finishing a new Calendar Pro update to version 1.1, which will be a free update for all registered users, which will also include full support for Storm devices.

You can see a short video we shot a week ago presenting parts of the upcoming Storm support here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn17f3dv2ZI

Apart from Storm support, the upcoming new update will include plenty of new features with it!! :)

As it seems now, the upcoming update will be here within the next two weeks. I will be sure to update CrackBerry team as soon as this version is ready.

-Amit-
SBSH Software

For those who are looking to get Calendar Pro and looking for a fair deal on it, our discounted introduction offer is still valid and will remain valid for the next two months or so.

You can find the introduction offer to register Calendar Pro for $9.72 (retail $14.95) at our last newsletter here:

http://downloads.sbsh.net/nl/2010_02_bb_calendar_1_0/news.html

I hope this will help more users to join us with the Calendar Pro project and share new ideas that will help us improve the product with our upcoming new updates! :)

Looks like a great app. Looking forward to when Storm support is available. Probably wouldn't buy at full retail but just may have to purchase at the discounted price. Thanks!

We always try to accompany new releases with fair discount prices to get more users introduced with our apps. I can assure that once the new version will be ready we will also include a fair introduction offer with it, so users will be able to register the new version, with Storm support, for around 10 bucks (probably just a bit less).

I hope this will be helpful :)

Looking forward to seeing the updated version on my Storm. The video looks great, nice UI improvements. :)

Thanks REA17S!! :)

Apart from UI we are really empowering Calendar Pro with this upcoming update! We will keep CrackBerry editorial team updated when we get closer with the new release to keep users updated once the new version is ready.

I'll just mention that as always, all current Calendar Pro registered users will be entitled to upgrade to the upcoming new version for free.

Agendus was the first program I bought when switching to the BB from my Palm Centro (where I also owned Agendus). What I relied on was the custom Snooze feature on the Palm version. The BB version of Agendus doesn't offer that feature. I then bought Pocket Informant which has it, BUT in order to use custom Snooze, it disables your alarms on the desktop! This is based on syncing with a Mac, may not be the case with a Windows. Since I also sync my desktop calendar with other computers on our home network, all their desktop alarms get disabled too so I can have custom snooze on my phone.

How does this app handle custom snooze of events? Does it too require that alarms get disabled on the desktop in your calendar?

I purchased this app and it has other problems. Try making a multiday event...

I believe it will come around, but as of yet its just not ready. I am a pocket imformant user (someone asked above how it compares). It doesn't yet for calendar. Calendar pro beats it in looks. Tasks PI has it beat hands down.

I am looking forward to this one maturing and working better as it looks much better than pocket informant, but it does not have the functionality yet.

Hi Rcbeamer :)

This is an issue we are familiar with and we have it fixed as part of the upcoming Calendar Pro release. This upcoming release is already in beta testing and should be available for all users shortly now.

Saw the comment that it sync's with Outlook, but is this wireless sync as in this is a "drop in" replacement for the native calendar? Does it sync with outlook categories? Sync with Google Calendar?

Hi Sparkerc :)

Calendar Pro is built on top of the BlackBerry built-in calendar and tasks databases. This means that any sync solution that works for you with the built-in Calendar and Tasks applications will also work right away with Calendar Pro without any need to make any adjustments.

In addition to the full compatibility with the built-in Calendar and Tasks applications, Calendar Pro adds on top of it a set of features that are missing from the default Calendar and Tasks tools. Among others, this includes the ability to assign categories also to your appointments (and not only to tasks like the default BlackBerry tools).

When assigning categories with your Calendar Pro to your appointments those are synced over within the item's note field, which means your categories selection is backed-up with your PC calendar solution databases, but, the categories are only displayed within Calendar Pro and won't be parsed on your PC side. We are working on a solution to get those working also with Outlook for PC and hope to have something like this released shortly :)

Other features that Calendar Pro adds is color and icon assignment to your categories that help create better representation of your information, using those assigned category icons and colors to generate information-full monthly, weekly and daily views, powerful filters (both for appointments and tasks) and much more.

I hope that this helps :)

Help with the categories please! I don't see any place to assign colors or icons.. the options area is blank for that section.

Probably you have removed the native bb Tasks application, which is needed to support appointment categories.

[SBSH Software]

Hi Berrygirly :)

In order for your categories to work and show within Calendar Pro you also need to have the BlackBerry built-in Tasks application installed on you device. (You don't need to use it, but it needs to be installed since we use the same databases to maintain syncing with other devices and services).

When you connect your device to your PC via BlackBerry Desktop Manager and choose the option to upload new apps to your device you will see a list with all available apps for your device, and one of them should be the native Tasks application. You should make sure that this is checked for installation and complete the process to upload the Tasks application to your BlackBerry device.

Please let me know if this helped. Are you seeing the default Tasks application installed on your device at this point?

I'm looking for an app (and expect to pay a reasonable sum for it) that will allow me to flag business, personal and possibly an alternate calendar. These could be viewed individually or collectively.

While entering a specific designation of calendar, the app would still be aware of appts in the or designations so you don't double book the children when you are to be across town at a late meeting... Or offer to take the early desk when a child has before school band... And that alternate could be something just for the two of you... And not synced to a work calendar or such.

Summary:
- multiple calendars that can be viewed individually or all together;
- app is aware of all entries so you don't double book yourself - but have an option to override;
- sync individual calendars by designation - business can be ties to sync with business, personal with Google Calendar or other non-business calendar, etc.

The work calendar would just indicate 'busy' or 'out of office' when there was a non-work appt or it would just appear as a second (and conflicting) appt but not display the content of the appt.

Suggestions?

Hi Dkmoody :)

I'm less familiar with other BlackBerry solutions, but I can try and share some ideas how to utilize a setup that might address your requests to a satisfying level.

Unlike the default Calendar application, with Calendar Pro you can also assign categories to your appointments. One route you can use will be to flag your different item types (personal vs. business etc.) with different categories. So although all is still stored in the same database, your items are flagged differently and you can easily use Calendar Pro filters to view only one part of your items (only items flagged as business, or personal etc.), or, you can easily clear the filter and get a full display of all items together.

Now, in addition to the filters, you can also assign different category colors to your different item groups, for example, use Red colors for your business category and green for your personal category. Now, even when you view all of your items together (to make sure you don't create any overriding appointments), you will still be able to easily distinguish between personal and business items very quickly since they will be colored differently on the screen - generating a pretty colorful display which is also very easy to understand and review.

I hope that this helps :)

Thanks Tony for the support!! :) Indeed the name Papyrus continues to show from our long-time users back in the Windows Mobile days.

Frankly I'm not sure whether the rename decision was such a good decision :/ but we definitely continue to focus on the development in full pace, so the name of the app is probably less important for our users :)

I am holding off on the app for now until my next berry, but this blows away the winmobile calendar and destroys the berry calendar...color/ icon coding is so simple....

I too am less than satisfied with the standard Calendar app, so I've been trying the various alternatives.

I've already tried PocketDay and Agendus. I wasn't sold on either, so I moved on to my next tewst subject last week, which just so happened to be Calendar Pro!

So far it's the clear favorite for me. PocketInformant is my next (and last) test next week...

I know this review is on CalendarPro... but I have to admit, I love Pocket Informant. I've trial-ed CalendarPro, Agendus and Pocket Day and I have deleted them after a day or two and stayed with Pocket Informant. (sorry CalendarPro)

Hi Chillaxin :)

Which version of Calendar Pro have you tried?

We really had some great progress since the first version was released and Calendar Pro is far more robust now compared to the first official version that was released about two months ago.

I also invite you to stay tuned to our work on the upcoming new update (v1.1) that will be out in about a week or two and will really revamp things to a whole new level - both UI and features. We've implemented some new things that NONE of the other third party PIM apps are offering today, features I'm sure will place Calendar Pro WAY ahead of competition.

One last point to remember here - our development pace is definitely the fastest in the market today, and I'm sure we will be able to maintain this edge with our hard working team and the very-active community of users we have at our forums (http://forums.sbsh.net), so you can definitely expect the largest improvement arriving from Calendar Pro side.

Cheers! :)

Are one of your new features Custom Snooze of alarms that doesn't cause desktop alarms to get reset as mentioned in an earlier comment of mine?

I'm not that familiar with PI, so I'll explain what Calendar Pro has.
1. There IS an option to customize snooze time.
2. That snooze time appears when reminder is shown.
3. If you selected to snooze the reminder, the original appointment (it's reminder) is not changed, the new reminder is scheduled to show on your device only.

I hope this answers your question.
[SBSH Software]

Sounds promising with the custom snooze. Since I've got a Storm2, I'm guessing I'm out of luck for the time being.

Give us a few more days ;) Since the Storm offers touch UI it opens a lot new possibilities for us that will make Calendar Pro much more exciting in terms of user interface and user experience.

We are trying to nail some of the last pending development points that we still have for this new upcoming version and should announce Storm support shortly :)

If we were to buy this for $9.72 off your site, are we able to download free upgrades (like v. 1.1) in the future, or would there be additional charges for that? Thanks!

All upgrades until the next major version (that is, until version 2.0) are free upgrades for all registered users.

From past experience we usually have at least 1.5 years before we reach a new major version release. Since we are still at version 1.0 of Calendar Pro, you will definitely be entitled to plenty of upcoming new free upgrades :) Version 1.1 will of course also be free for all current registered users.

You can find more details about our upgrades policy at the following page:

http://www.sbsh.net/support/policies

I used the trial for my 8330 and some appointments that were set to occur each year were a day off. I had read this was an issue in the reviews at App World. It ruined the whole thing for me.

Hi BeccaLynn :)

Can you verify which version you were using that caused this issue for you? I believe this is a bug that we fixed with our latest update, so I would like to verify whether this is indeed something you experienced with an older version of Calendar Pro.

If it links seamlessly with Thunderbird's Lightning calendar, I'm there. i'm tired of going through my Google calendar. Anyone know?

Hi Hammerhead1 :)

Unlike other Calendar apps for BlackBerry, Calendar Pro is based on top of the default BlackBerry PIM databases. This means that any calendar application that syncs with your default BlackBerry Calendar application will also sync with Calendar Pro seamlessly.

Are you able to sync your current Calendar setup with your built-in BlackBerry Calendar app? If so - this should work with Calendar Pro without any additional work too.

I hope this helps :)

Has the bug that I brought up here in the announcement post about this product been resolved? My all day appointments were all off by a day.

Hi Kash76,

Yes, this should be fixed by now. This bug existed with the first version release 1.0.

Since the first initial release we've had three small updates so we are now at version 1.0.3, which should also take care of the bug mentioned about all-day events shifting one day.

All registered users are entitled to upgrade to the new version free of charge, simply download the new version from our site and install it on top of the current version you are using, the same registration details you had before will continue to work for you also with the new update.

You can download the latest new update from our site here:
http://www.sbsh.net/products/blackberry/calendar_pro/download

If you have any additional bug reports that you notice please be sure to let us know and we'll work on fixing those too as part of our work on the upcoming new update :)

how do you get this to replace the native calander when you hit the calender is this possible, it does looks better than pocket informat.i have used it for the windows mobile and its not bad but im looking for something cleaner and and calender pro looks like it.

Hi 3G.BoldBerry :)

What device are you using?

Currently, we can't replace the Calendar shortcut with Calendar Pro automatically, but, you can easily place Calendar Pro shortcut on your main screen, or replace the position of the shortcut with your regular Calendar shortcut, this way you'll simply have the Calendar Pro shortcut placed instead of the regular Calendar shortcut position and you'll be able to easily access Calendar Pro from everywhere :)

I hope that this helps :)

Thanks for the response, the only way I can go from my lightning calendar to my BB calendar is through my google calendar using google sync. I'm hoping someone comes up with an app where I can simply plug my BB in and sync things.

Sync well with the native bb calendar so my appointments could so up on my home screen with today themes? It would be useless if they can't be seen on today themes. Anyone know?

Since Calendar Pro is based on top of the built-in Calendar and Tasks databases, any today theme app that works with your built-in BlackBerry Calendar and Tasks apps should also work with Calendar Pro :)

If you experience any trouble with this please let us know.

Gonna give this a try. I did have Pocket Informant on my 8330 and it was great-until the mysterious bug would hit and all of my entries would be deleted. After three times and little support from PI I deleted it.

I have used Calendar Pro since the first release. Yes it has issues as any new app would but the support team has been very good and responding to these issues on thier forums site. I have posted many questions and issues and they have all been addressed. Two or more releases have been issued since the first one fixing issues reported by users. I have tried Agendus and PI, but for what I was looking for Calendar Pro has been better. My favorite calendar app is the Palm but my carrier no longer carries them so the BB is the 2nd best option. Also the price can't be beat, less than $10.

Trying out this app and really like it so far, except that my theme does not show "hidden today" list on the homescreen when i highlight the icon like the default calendar does. (running the "drew11" theme by D.R.e.W. on 8330 5.0.438.5.0 hybrid). Does this feature only work with full-out calendar today themes?

Can anyone else confirm or deny that the Hidden Today feature doesn't work? In other words, I want it so that I can scroll over it on my homescreen and it will bring up a list of appointments (which is like 10-15 long with my small font).

Aside from that, I love the appearance, tasks and color-coding, but I'd like to know about Hidden Today.

Where can we read more about Hidden Today? We will investigate this some more and see what is the situation with this, and if there is any compatibility problem with it we will be sure to see how we can get this working too.

(Logically there shouldn't be any problem with it whatsoever, but without doing some more reading and investigation about it I can't give a definitive answer yet :/).

I have this app & I really like it BUT every time i get a appointment reminder it is duplicated w/ the bb native calendar--so I have 2 identical appointments to either open, dismiss or snooze! Is there something I missed to turn OFF the native calendar. (bold 9700)

you can disable appointment reminders in native bb calendar,
but you cannot disable reminders in native bb tasks application. in calendar pro you can select to enable or disable appointment or task reminder or both.

[SBSH Software]

I downloaded the trial to test it out.
I can't seem to find the Search Function in the program. Am I missing something?

I've been looking for something like this for awhile. None of the other PIM apps are very strong on the calendar side, which is what I am looking for as I use the calendar/tasks strongly to keep some order to life. Looks like Calendar Pro will suit my needs, so I am greatly looking forward to the updated release that us supposed to support the Storm device.

Please give us Storm users some love very soon ;) . I, for one, will be keeping an eye on this app.

Thanks guys!! We are really working hard these days on the Storm version and we expect to announce this new release in a week or two from now!

We are making sure it will really rock your Storm!! :-)

Downloaded the trial...Methinks me will be purchasing. Looks and feels real nice.

I like the ease of use for adding things.

Hi,

I'm currently trying out calendar pro... Does this support multiple calendars? I use two on my bb 9700, one for personal items and another (google sync-ed) for work. The second is typically updated by my secretary and is visible to my team at work. Is this feature already available in your 1.1 version?

Thanks
-Luis

I am a huge fan of Pocket Informant however it has been locking up on me for the last two weeks. I've been working with their support but am not getting anywhere.
They had me down load the newest version and I lost my entire calendar. UGGGGG...who knows what appt. I'll be missing.
So, I'm now searching other calendar options. Calendar Pro is the next on my list. Price is not too much of an issue because organization in my life is crutial. I need the visual icons on the monthly screen and it looks like Calendar Pro offers that (even though they aren't cute little icons like PI).
We'll see how it goes. My calendar is my life! I'll report back how I feel about Calendar Pro.
Cross your fingers for me.