Articles by Dj Reyes

Read Out v2.0 adds the ability to share directly from the browser

It has only been a week since we reviewed the app Read Out and it hadn't even been released long before our review either. Today, Read Out sees an update to v2.0 with a handful of features to boot. It definitely is great to see dedicated developers to the platform. If you missed our review, Read Out is a text to speech app that allows you to have your emails read out to you or any text that you paste into the app. It even provided the ability to export it as an .MP3 file that you could then share if you wanted. With this update, Read Out now lets you share directly from the browser to make things even quicker, instead of having to copy and paste the text. There are a couple of new languages added too.


BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition now available in Hong Kong

The BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition became official in August 2015 and is making its way around the globe. Today - September 2nd - it can be purchased in Hong Kong from authorized retailers such as Broadway Photo Supply Ltd, Fortress, Hong Kong Suning and Chung Yuen Electrical Co., Ltd. You can also purchase it from carriers - 3 Hong Kong and SmarTone Mobile Communications Limited. It will come at a price point of HK$5,388 ($695).

It's a hot phone right now with plenty of people very happy with their purchase. Still on the fence? You can read our review as well as take a gander at the lush photo gallery.

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition Now Available in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a global leader in secure mobile communications, today announced the beginning of sales of the BlackBerry® Passport Silver Edition in Hong Kong. From today (September 2nd, 2015), customers in Hong Kong are able to purchase the new BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition, a premium device built for business professionals who want a smartphone with the mobile tools they need to get things done – without sacrificing style or portability.

The BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition is in a class all its own, featuring a stunning silver finish with refined, curved corners, large square touch screen display and reinforced stainless steel frame for extra strength and durability. An essential business tool, the device delivers the same productivity enjoyed by other BlackBerry Passport products, as well as an updated QWERTY touch-enabled keyboard, battery power that lasts more than a full day of mixed use, and BlackBerry® 10 OS 10.3.2.

"The new BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition combines cutting-edge technology with purposeful, globally recognized design," said Gallant Leon, Managing Director, North Asia at BlackBerry. "It brings together BlackBerry's latest OS platform, enhanced productivity features, and a refined industrial design based on customer and user feedback to deliver an unmatched experience for professionals who value precision and focus."

Thoughtful Design for the Mobile Professional Inspired by actual passports, the universal symbol of mobility, the size and form factor of BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition is portable enough to easily tuck into pockets and use wherever you go. Key features of the device include:

  • Large High-Resolution Square Screen –The BlackBerry Passport includes a 4.5" square screen, 1440x1440 pixel (453 dpi) HD display and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 for added strength.
  • Innovative BlackBerry® Keyboard – The BlackBerry Passport's revolutionary keyboard brings innovation to input with a responsive touch surface like a trackpad that lets you perform many touch functions directly on the keyboard. Scroll web pages, flick to type or slide along the keys to move the cursor, leaving the full screen space for viewing.
  • BlackBerry® 10 OS 10.3.2 – The BlackBerry Passport comes preloaded with the new BlackBerry 10.3.2 operating system, including features such as BlackBerry Assistant and Amazon Appstore.
  • Best-in-Class Battery Life – The 3450 mAh battery is the largest among the top selling smartphones and phablets and, when tested against a very active user, provides up to 30 hours of mixed use – BlackBerry's best battery power to date.*
  • Dual app storefronts preloaded for access to a huge selection of apps for work and play:
    • BlackBerry World – BlackBerry World offers essential business and productivity apps for professionals looking to drive efficient communications and collaboration including Box, Evernote, Cisco WebEx Meetings and Documents to Go.
    • Amazon Appstore – Discover and download popular Android apps and games through the Amazon Appstore including Candy Crush Saga, Pinterest, SoundCloud, Kindle and Amazon Shopping.
  • BlackBerry Assistant – The BlackBerry Assistant is BlackBerry's first digital assistant and can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond based on how the user interacts with it – if you type, it responds silently, if you speak, it speaks back and if you activate over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.
  • BlackBerry Blend – BlackBerry Blend 1.2 brings a new refreshed UI and additional functionality and is now available for all BlackBerry 10 smartphones. BlackBerry Blend brings messaging and content on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer or tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM™ and text messages, and access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real time on whatever device you are on, powered by your BlackBerry. BlackBerry Blend works across multiple operating systems including Mac, Windows®, iOS and Android™. **
  • Premium Components – The device is built for the most demanding user with durable materials mixed with top-of-the-line technology, including a Quad Core 2.2 GHZ Processor, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP OIS rear camera and 32 GB memory expandable with a Micro SD card up to 128 GB.
  • BlackBerry® Natural Sound – BlackBerry Passport comes with powerful speakers and a quad microphone system that delivers a high-quality listening experience. BlackBerry Natural Sound Technology is built in to adapt Wi-Fi and cellular call sound depending upon phone position and background noise, automatically adjusting volume so you don't have to.

Pricing and Availability The BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition is available from today (September 2nd, 2015), through Broadway Photo Supply Ltd, Fortress, Hong Kong Suning, Chung Yuen Electrical Co., Ltd and other authorized retailers; and through operator partners 3 Hong Kong and SmarTone Mobile Communications Limited, at a recommended retail price of HK$5,388.

About BlackBerry BlackBerry is securing a connected world, delivering innovative solutions across the entire mobile ecosystem and beyond. We secure the world's most sensitive data across all end points – from cars to smartphones – making the mobile-first enterprise vision a reality. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry operates offices in North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The Company trades under the ticker symbols "BB" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and "BBRY" on the NASDAQ. For more information, visit www.BlackBerry.com .


Have your phone read out your messages with text to speech app Read Out

The name of the app probably gives away what it does - it reads out text for you. If comes from a developer we're familiar with - Sven Ziegler - who has been busy coding apps lately. Updating his existing ones whilst also bringing new ones to the table. Read Out came about as something to be integrated with ReadItNow!, where you could have articles read out to you. The developer then decided to release a full blown app to it could be used with other apps.


Vendor Stats is a useful app for developers to track app metrics

This isn't an app that will be for the masses but it's a great app nonetheless. This is an app created by a developer for developers. It just made its way to BlackBerry World in the past 24 hours and is already a hit with developers. The idea for the app came about due to the fact that the Vendor Portal isn't very accessible via the mobile browser, so what better way to check app metrics than through an app?


Talk2Watch Pro updated with new features and fixes to music controls

For those who use a Pebble or Pebble Time with their BlackBerry 10 smartphone will probably be using Talk2Watch Pro to get functionality out of the watch. With a dedicated and active developer, it really is the recommended app. The developer has been busy working on some updates and fixes and a new update has just been pushed. It brings fixes to the music controls where the play/pause button wasn't quite working as well as some nice new additions.


ReadItNow! gains better article sorting, hiding of share options and more!

It's nice to see developers working hard on their apps, to constantly improve them for users. One such developer has been busy lately - Sven Ziegler. We've seen his third party Pocket client - ReadItNow! - see an update almost every month in the past few months and he just keeps going. Today, he has released another update which brings more new features and tweaks.


Back to school apps to keep you on your 'A' game

For students, it's that time of year again - time to hit the books and get studying. As usual we have a round up of apps to help you along your way, to help increase productivity, keep you on track with your schedule or take notes. I'm continuing my studies this year and these are some of the apps that are a staple on my BlackBerry smartphone that keep me on track throughout the year.


CascaRun Pro updated with a new audio coach and more visual stats

For anyone using sports tracker apps, CascaRun Pro has always been a popular choice due to it being native and simple to use. It became my go to sports tracker app in recent months. And today, we see an update that brings a nice bunch of new features as well as your usual bug fixes and improvements. One of the newest features added is an audio coach that includes goals and speeds and I'm looking forward to try this out on my next run.


UploadToFlickr now lets you upload a whole folder to your account

As with many online services, BlackBerry 10 users need to rely on native developers to bring third party apps to the platform and they do a pretty good job with them too. If you're a Flickr user, you'll know there is no native option. Last year (2014) we reviewed an app that allows you to upload photos to your account. The app hasn't seen much update activity since then but it has seen an update recently that brings a couple of new features.


1000 free copies of QuickPost available to download

I'm subscribed to a handful of social media sites and if you are too, you've probably already downloaded QuickPost - the app that let's you Type once, post everywhere. I've been a fan since the very beginning and it has come a long very nicely with the addition of iGrann and Inst10 support back in April. The developer has been busy behind the scene, cooking up an update to the app and in preparation for that there are 1000 free copies of QuickPost available to download.


Third party Instagram app Inst10 sees an update through BlackBerry Beta Zone

It has been a while since we have seen an update to Inst10 - a third party Instagram client - however, an update has now been pushed, though it is through BlackBerry Beta Zone. If you were hoping for the ability to upload videos in this update, this is not yet available, sadly but it does bring tweaks to bring better speed and performance, as well as better photo upload quality - things we would all welcome.


ThirdEye lets you add photo filters and effects in real time

There are quite a few photo editors out there for you to pimp out your photos after you take and before you share them. We've got another photo app for you today, newly released, after seeing a stint in BlackBerry Beta Zone. This app, however, is more of a realtime photo editor where you can apply the filter as and when you're going to take a photo. The app is called ThirdEye.


Marine Assistant brings AIS vessel tracking right to your BlackBerry 10 smartphone

Marine Assistant is a vessel tracking app. We first wrote about it in one of our weekly app round ups last year (2014) and it has seen many updates since then. The latest update is now at v8.0, and it brings about a handful of new features, as one would expect. Obviously not an app you would use daily but something that can come in handy at times. Of course, if you have an interest in things maritime or work in the field, this app would appeal to you more.


BlackBerry Classic owners really love using the trackpad

We recently ran a poll asking whether Classic owners made use of the trackpad which is one of the main features of the BlackBerry Classic. I was curious to know what others thought as I had received various responses from within my BBM contacts, and most of them said they didn't use it all that much. After looking at the results and going through all the comments, it's quite a mixed bag of results.

Just over half of those who responded use the trackpad on their Classic all the time, while another 20% just use if for text selection. And a fair amount of users hardly use it or forget that it's there - a response I would usually get from other users.


Get yourself into shape with these health and fitness apps

For the past few years we've trawled through BlackBerry World and rounded up a handful of fitness apps for you (here and here). And so we've browsed again for 2015. We're slap bang in the middle of summer - even though the stormy weather I can hear outside my window as I write begs to differ. You might already be in full swing of your summer workout activities but for those still looking maybe these apps are just what you're looking for.

I've tried to avoid choosing apps we've had in any of our previous fitness round ups and of course, we welcome any suggestions you may have. Just searching the word fitness in BlackBerry World presents you with many apps, so I've tried picking out the ones that give you the best function or feature, as well as mixing them up in what they have to offer. Continue on to discover five fitness apps for BlackBerry 10.


Helium is a handy lightweight text editor for editing on the go

If you work with text files daily perhaps you'd like to take a look at Helium - which stands for Highlight Editor with LIght-weight rUntime environMent. So, basically it is a text editor with support for many file types. It has gone through many tweaks and changes in the time I've been preparing for this article, so it's an app that has very good support.

You can create files right from within the app, and you can also open existing files. Just navigate to the file from within File Manager, tap it and it opens up in Helium. From there you can start editing straight away. When in edit mode, it uses different colored text to highlight different parts of code, as you would get with many desktop text editors, so that's always handy at a glance. You can then Run the file to see a preview of it.


PocketSafe aims to stop your BlackBerry smartphone from pocket dialling - free copies available

PocketSafe comes from the developer CellNinja, who has brought us many great apps in the past, Silent Keys - International Keyboard, ProtectMe, Volt, Hub2Watch and more. Many of which we have reviewed or written about. The idea behind the app, as the name suggests, is to prevent things occurring when you're phone is in your pocket, such as pocket dialling or nonsense messages, etc.


Password manager app Symple ID now has headless support so you can tap to sign in even faster

We first posted about an app called Symple ID back in April 2014 calling for support for a Kickstarter that was bring the app to the BlackBerry platform. The Kickstarter received its funding and we reviewed the app in August 2014. There have been a few updates in here but recently it saw a nice update that brings a headless element to it.


Talking Alarm wakes you up with a weather update, events for the day and more

For most, an alarm with a tone to wake you up in the morning will probably be enough but if you're looking for something different, Talking Alarm may be for you. It does what it says on the tin -- talks to you. It's really that simple. There are a few options to choose from such as the having the alarm include the local weather forecast and an RSS feed of your choosing.

You can choose from a male or female voice to talk to you. To set up your alarm, just tap the Set Alarm icon along the bottom, then start filling in what you want. You can set it to recur on specific, just tap the Recurrence toggle more options will show, select Custom to choose specific days. After that is the Talk Only toggle. If all you want the alarm to do is talk and dictate the weather, calendar events and RSS feed, then toggle this on, otherwise, you can set a ringtone. You don't have to have the app speak the weather, calendar events and RSS feed, you can choose which one you want by toggling them on. There is also a space for you to add a note. If you do add a note, this will also be read out.

You can set multiple alarms, just tap Set Alarm each time you want to set one. You can then see your list of alarms by selecting View Alarms along the bottom. One thing to note is that if you plan to add the weather and RSS feed to the alarm, you have to set these up in the app Settings before creating your alarm. To get to the app settings swipe down from the top and tap Settings. You need to Set Location if you want to add the weather. And you need too add the RSS feed URL in the Set RSS feeds' Source field. There are other options you can set in there too like whether you want a male or female voice as your alarm.

Along the bottom you'll find a total of four options. The other two are Home and News. Home is pretty much the display clock. It shows the time, weather, calendar events and the time and day of the next alarm. News shows you your RSS feed so you can quickly read through it. On this page, there are media buttons that allows you replay your alarm for the day.

It's not a bad app and does the job it says it does. I've found it to be hit and miss with RSS feeds though. The CrackBerry RSS feed works fine, however the BlackBerry Blog RSS feed doesn't. The developer is aware of this and has been looking for a fix. Talking Alarm uses the media volume for playback, so you have to make sure you have the volume set up high, otherwise it you won't hear it. The calendar can sometimes include entries for the next day, not always useful, as I wake up a bit confused with schedule or what day it is. Talking Alarm is headless, so at the very least you don't need to have it open once your have set up your alarm(s).

The Good

  • Headless
  • Choose of male or female voice
  • Has the option to add weather, calendar events and RSS feed

The Bad

  • Uses media volume so you need to make sure your volume is turned up to hear it
  • Will sometimes include calendar appointments for the following day

The bottom line

Like other apps, that are new...ish, tweaks and refinements would help to make it even better, especially with the RSS feeds but if you're not going to add one, the alarm works pretty well. And the developer is open to feedback anyway. It's something different to wake up to each morning (or when I need it). You have to play about with different RSS feeds, if you want to use the feature. Talking Alarm on the whole is a pretty decent app that I have found myself using it as my regular alarm. It could probably be cleaned up a bit in terms of making sure everything is seamless but it just the job it sets out to do.

Talking Alarm is available for all BlackBerry 10 smartphones and costs $1.99.

Learn more / Download Talking Alarm


CrackBerry Asks: Do you regularly use the trackpad on your BlackBerry Classic?

We run polls here on CrackBerry quite often and include all BlackBerry users but this time I'm specifically targeting BlackBerry Classic users. Since getting my hands on a white BlackBerry Classic, I decided to stick with it, at least for the summer. I find myself using the trackpad a lot - for scrolling through the Hub, apps on the home screen and more. After using a BlackBerry Passport, since its launch in September 2014, it was refreshing to be able to use a device one handed. Also, with it being summer, less clothing and all, it's hard to put the Passport into summer wear pockets.

However, I've asked many other Classic owners whether or not they use the trackpad, and most of them don't use it much. I've had a one say that they forget it's there, others say they hardly use it which sometimes gets me wondering whether there are others like me who use it frequently or do the majority of Classic owners not utilize the trackpad. If none of the answers below fit, drop a comment letting us know how you use the trackpad on your Classic.

Do you regularly use the trackpad on your BlackBerry Classic

Pages