Learn Chinese for the BlackBerry PlayBook

I’ve always been fascinated with certain languages, more so no that I’m older. Learning in school was boring and trying learn as an adult is a bit challenging, though I don’t think it needs to be. In the past I’ve picked up some of those books with CDs, those can be quite fun as takes you away from the boring, mundane business of learning grammar rules that you get taught in schools. Looking back at how I learned to understand and speak my parents native language (tagalog), I never had to write things down or learn grammar rules. Simply by listening to them have conversations or even speak to me, I would slowly pick up what certain words meant. At the beginning I didn’t necessarily know what the whole sentence meant word for word but I did understand what they were telling me. And I eventually learnt how to answer them back in tagalog as opposed to english. That takes me to the Learn series from S4BB. A few months ago I took a look at Learn French, this time I’ve been learning Chinese. Keep reading to take a closer look at the app.

The Review

Developer: S4BB
Version (at time of review): 2.3.3
File Size: 1093 KB
OS Requirements: Smartphone OS 4.6.0 and above / Tablet OS 2.0.0
Cost: $4.99 Website: http://www.s4bb.com

When you first download the app, there are now lessons loaded. You have to download these are you go along through the lessons or you can download them in bulk. The best way to that would be to sideload the lessons from a PC or Mac. Within the app you can email yourself the files to download. Once you have these loaded onto your BlackBerry, then the learning can begin.

Transfering Learn Chinese files to you BlackBerry

There are different learning levels - Newbie, Elementary, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced, with lessons naturally covering a lot more as you progress through. Lesson times range from 10-15mins each. Lessons are planned out by starting with the dialogue spoken three times so you get a feel for what it should sound like. Then Ken and Jenny (your tutors) will break it down sentence by sentence, then word for word and you’ll find yourself saying things out loud as you start the speak the language. The lessons cover real world conversations and scenarios. So if you want to learn basic Chinese to allow you to make orders at the restaurant or ask for directions while you’re on holiday, or just want to learn the language, it’s all covered. 

Learn Chinese Levels

Compared to the Learn French version I reviewed a while back, Learn Chinese has a whole lot more lessons, with about 150 Newbie lessons alone and almost 500 lessons altogether. I find them very engaging, as well as just the right length so as not to get bored. I like the fact that you can pick and choose the lessons you want to learn, you don’t have to necessarily do them in order. There is certainly a lot of lessons to keep you busy learning Chinese in the long run. 

Learn Chinese Newbie Lessons

Within the app there is a link that directs you to more lessons, as well as being able to get your hands on transcripts and vocabulary, if you really wanted to take things further. For me, the lessons within the app are suffice enough -- at least for now. My only gripe with the app is that there is no way to rewind the lessons. The only media options you have are play, pause and restart. It really needs to have a rewind option. There are times when I just want to go back a bit in the lesson but can’t so I’ve just got to continue or start over -- it can get annoying at times. However, overall, I have been enjoying the app and is something I do recommend if you want to give learning Chinese a go. Learn Chinese is available in App World for both your BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook for $4.99. If you fancy your chances though you can win one of fifty copies from S4BB. Check out the contest details below.

Learn Chinese Other Materials

Learn Chinese
by S4BB


  • The lessons are engaging and cover real world conversations. Lessons are bite-sized so you don't get bored.


  • There is no way to rewind through the lessons.

The Bottom Line

A great way to learn Chinese, with almost 500 lessons starting from newbie to advanced, it makes learning the language, simple and fun. There are no grammar rules to learn and you can start speaking from the first lesson. Download Learn Chinese for your BlackBerry smartphone Learn Chinese web link

Contest: The developer of Learn Chinese, S4BB, has sent us 50 free copies to pass on to you guys! To enter, leave a single comment below. The contest ends Sunday at midnight PST. Good luck!