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Google Play Store redesign rolling out with bottom navigation bar

The new design is showing up for users with version 15.1.24.

Looks as though Google has decided to start rolling this out once again. The refreshed UI is now appearing on my BlackBerry KEY2 and Reddit users are reporting a wider Android device rollout. This update was added on August 16, 2019.

The new Material Theme Play Store redesign is now rolling out with version 15.1.24. The refreshed design updates the Play Store with a clean whitewashed theme and drops the green. Android Central covered this back in April when the new design was discovered from an APK teardown.

Besides dropping all the green, it has also moved the navigation bar from the top to the bottom and removed the music category. No worries though, you can still browse music by opening it from the hamburger menu.

Some other immediate changes you'll notice include more rounded corners, a new font, and the new flat design that no longer uses a card interface, lines, or drop shadows.

The app pages have also gotten a major facelift, with the ratings and stats pushed to the top and an install button that now runs the entire horizontal length of the page. Not only that but when you install an app the old download bar has been revamped into a circle that goes around the app's icon.

Overall, the new design provides users with a cleaner and more cohesive look which brings it up to date with Material Theme standards. If you've been following Google's other apps, you'll know we've seen similar facelifts for Gmail, Google Drive, Google Voice, and a few others.

If you're not yet seeing the new design, make sure you have version 15.1.24 of the app or download it from APKMirror. If you have the latest version of the Play Store and you still don't see it, try clearing the cache in the app settings.

Not only has the Play Store gotten a big UI refresh, but Google has also been making changes behind the scenes. On May 30, Android Central reported on big updates to Play Store policies regarding sexual content, hate speech, loot boxes, and the sale of marijuana.

New policies from Google will make apps safer for your children

BBM Consumer is gone but there's still BBMe!

If you're looking around the internet today, no doubt you'll see plenty of articles bidding farewell to BlackBerry Messenger due to Emtek shutting down their BBM consumer operations. As expected, BBM users were logged out of the app today and were left with a goodbye message.

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BlackBerry KEY2 LE now available for Verizon Enterprise and Small Business customers

Although the BlackBerry KEY2 LE was already certified to work with Verizon through their BYOD options, at CES, it was announced the carrier would be officially adding their device to their lineup for Verizon Enterprise and Small Business customers, and now they've done so.

BlackBerry Cylance, NordVPN, and LastPass team up to offer security bundle!

BlackBerry CEO John Chen recently fired off a tweet asking folks if they knew about BlackBerry Cylance's home computer Antivirus offering, but one thing missing from that tweet was mention of a pretty sweet security bundle BlackBerry Cylance is currently offering that features Cylance, NordVPN, and LastPass.

Latest Hub+ Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes beta releases now available!

New BlackBerry Hub+ Suite beta releases have now arrived through the Google Play Store for those signed up for beta testing. The changes this time around are pretty significant for Hub+ Inbox and Hub+ Services as they address some more significant bugs including flickering and disappearing text when composing emails and notes, and how drafts are handled.

Hub+ Inbox

  • Fixed flickering and disappearing text when composing email with Chrome 74 or WebView 74
  • Improved compatibility with Chrome Beta 75 and WebView Beta 75
  • Deleting email through the notification tray now works on Android Q
  • Improvements when using Samsung DeX

BlackBerry Hub+ Services

  • Drafts are now completely deleted when sent, not just moved to Deleted items folder
  • Drafts can now be saved on new created IBM Traveler accounts

Calendar

  • Improvements when using Samsung DeX

Contacts

  • Improved SIM contacts support on Samsung devices running Android 9
  • Improvements when using Samsung DeX

Tasks

  • Improved compatibility with Chrome Beta 75 and WebView Beta 75

Notes

  • Fixed disappearing note content when switching apps
  • Improved compatibility with Chrome Beta 75 and WebView Beta 75

The updates are live right now, so load the Google Play Store and get them downloaded if you haven't already. Of course, as they are beta releases, there may be additional bugs found within, make sure you offer up your feedback in the BlackBerry Center Code or the CrackBerry Forums.

BlackBerry KEY2 and KEY2 LE now available in the Czech Republic

In addition to the Philippines being added as a new market for the BlackBerry KEY2 and BlackBerry KEY2 LE, BlackBerry Mobile has now officially launched both devices in the Czech Republic across a wide array of retailers. All color options, including the limited edition red KEY2 and Atomic KEY2 LE, are up for grabs and both Dual-SIM and Single-SIM variants are available.

AT&T pushes ABV803 software update for the BlackBerry KEYone

AT&T is back with another update for those of out there who purchased your BlackBerry KEYone from the carrier. Sticking to their current update pattern, they have now pushed out build ABV803 over the air.

BlackBerry KEY2 and KEY2 LE now available in the Philippines

The BlackBerry KEY2 and BlackBerry KEY2 LE continue to be introduced in new markets, and now the Philippines has been added to the list. Announced at a recent launch event, both the KEY2 and KEY2 LE are available through Shopee from MemoXpress and BlackBerry.

Seven slick messaging apps to keep you connected on your BlackBerry!

Keeping in touch is important! You'd think with all the gadgets, connections, and devices we've got kicking around, it'd be a little easier. Yet somehow, it isn't.

Even deciding on the right chat app can be a herculean feat in and of itself, never mind sifting through all the notifications we're bombarded with on a daily basis. I'll help clear the air a bit.

Whether you want to keep in touch with loved ones or collaborate with colleagues, here are seven great cross-platform messaging apps you can use to keep in touch - both on your BlackBerry and elsewhere.

Signal Private Messenger

A supercharged secure messaging app available on Android, Windows, and Linux, Signal's tagline is "privacy that fits in your pocket." It's designed with user privacy front and center, with the ability to send group, text, voice, video, and picture messages without stepping outside the app's encryption.

There are also no long-distance charges in the app, which supports file sharing and timed message deletion. Best of all, Signal's totally free, and the fact that it's an open-source project means there's a ton of room for growth.

Fast, simple, secure

Signal Private Messenger

Signal allows you to send high-quality group, text, voice, video, document, and picture messages and make crystal-clear voice and video calls. There are no ads or tracking and communications are end-to-end encrypted.

Free at Google Play

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is one of the most popular IM apps in the world with an estimated 1.3 billion users, and for good reason. It's free. It's fast. It's got voice and video calling. There's even a version of WhatsApp designed with small business owners in mind, which can be augmented by a bunch of paid tools.

WhatsApp chats are encrypted end-to-end to protect your privacy, and you don't have to worry about ads getting in your way. To top it all off, the app works beautifully on all Android-based BlackBerry devices such as the KEY2. You can even set up two separate WhatsApp accounts on the same device with Dual Apps and Dual SIM!

Simple, Reliable messaging

WhatsApp Messenger

Being one of the most popular messaging apps, WhatsApp is packed with features. You can share messages, photos, video, documents and chat in groups that support up to 256 people at once. WhatsApp voice and video calls use your phone's Internet connection, so you never have to worry about minutes!

Free at Google Play

Slack

Slack is a whole lot more than just a messaging app. It's a platform for collaboration, with built-in file sharing, search, shared channels, reminders, RSS feeds, and the ability to integrate with a wide range of other apps like Google Drive, DropBox, and Salesforce. It's sort of a modern take on old-school IRC chats.

The free version of Slack is perfect for keeping in touch with friends and family, while the paid version is a powerful tool that's sure to make any workplace more connected and efficient. Like the other entries on this list, Slack also provides full voice and video chat. And it's all totally secure, too.

Teamwork in Slack

Slack

Teamwork happens in Slack. That's one of their slogans and it rings true. Slack can handle all your messaging, tools and files in one spot and makes team collaboration a breeze. If you're not using Slack, you're missing out!

Free at Google Play

Discord - Chat for Gamers

Discord sits at a weird intersect between a chat app and a social network - and it's incredible because of it. Anyone can create their own fully-functional server free of charge, with multiple voice channels, text channels, and user roles.

A thriving development community has created a ton of chat-bots that can do everything from play music to serve up cool facts about cats, and it supports group voice and video chat as well as screen sharing and file transfers.

If games are your thing, Discord's got a fast-growing library of PC titles to choose from. It can also be installed as either a mobile or a desktop app, both of which use the same account - switching between the two is seamless. The app's free by default, but there's a premium version that nets you access to stuff like custom emotes, free games, and increased size limitations for file sharing.

All-in-one voice and text chat

Discord - Chat for Gamers

Although Discord is aimed at gamers, it's also just a great messaging platform that offers all-in-one voice and text chat across Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux.

Free at Google Play

Telegram

A rising star in the IM space, Telegram's claim to fame is privacy and security. All messages sent through this cloud-based app are fully encrypted and can be set to self-destruct. It also allows you to send large files, set up secret chats, and

Security isn't the only thing Telegram does well, though. It's lightweight, it's fast, and it runs like a dream on pretty much every device. Best of all, it's totally free - the developers have gone on record as saying it's not intended to generate revenue, so you'll never have to worry about ads or subscription fees!

Telegram is being actively and aggressively developed, with new features being added on a regular basis - it's also got an open API, which means there's a whole world of possibilities for new add-ons and integrations!

Pure instant messaging

Telegram

With a focus on speed and security, Telegram offers all you would expect from a messaging app. You can send media and files without any limits on their type and size. Groups support up to 200,000 members and integrations such as Channels, Bots, stickers and more help keep Telegram fun to use. Plus, it's free and no ads!

Free at Google Play

Skype - free IM & video calls

With file sharing, screen sharing, SMS, and group voice and video, Skype is a powerful messaging app that's fully functional on both desktop and mobile.

If you plan to use it for business, it integrates effortlessly with Microsoft Exchange, meaning you can easily connect it to your Microsoft Outlook account. It also lets you set up your own low-cost Skype Number, with an area code situated just about anywhere in the world.

Businesses can have a Skype number for international clients. Everyone else, meanwhile, can have a phone number they can use to call friends and family abroad.

The next generation of Skype

Skype - free IM & video calls

Skype has been around for years and is a well-established offering but don't let that fool you into thinking it's not modern. Skype is powerful and offers file sharing, screen sharing, SMS, and group voice and video calls and so much more!

Free at Google Play

BBM Enterprise

Last, but certainly not least, there's BBMe (BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise). Recently made available to consumers by BlackBerry Limited, it's a powerful, security-focused enterprise messaging platform that offers secure text, voice, video, and group chat.

Right out of the box, it offers a ton of great privacy features like authentication via PIN, timed messages, retractable messages, and private chats. It's also usable cross-platform - you can access your BBMe messages across multiple devices, including your desktop PC.

Secure instant messaging

BBM Enterprise

BBM Enterprise is a highly-secure messaging platform you can use for all your group chats, voice, and video calls. Advanced features include the ability to edit, retract, or set an expiration time on a single message.

Free at Google Play (For one year)

Which chat app is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Five of the best Android travel apps for BlackBerry fans!

The BlackBerry Travel app was pretty phenomenal. I'm sure there's plenty of you in the audience who would agree with that statement. Automatic, to-the-minute flight information, seamless itinerary sharing, currency conversion, hotel bookings, and car rentals...it was pretty much a one-stop shop for everything.

BlackBerry Travel was based on another app, WorldMate, and coded by the developer of that app. And for a while, that app served as a good alternative for BlackBerry Travel on Android and iOS, albeit one requiring a subscription. Unfortunately, as of September 2017, WorldMate has gone the way of BlackBerry Travel - it's no longer available.

That's the bad news. The good news is that there are actually a ton of awesome alternatives to BlackBerry Travel on Android, many of which offer the same functionality as that app. Let's go over a few of the best!

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Rogers and Telus release ABV659 software update for the BlackBerry KEY2

While the May Android security update for the BlackBerry KEY2 has been available across variants in the UK, China, and Hong Kong for a week or so, folks who have purchased their KEY2 from Rogers or Telus are now also seeing the update as available for download.

Latest BlackBerry Keyboard app fixes move from beta to official

Over the past few weeks, BlackBerry has sent off several beta builds of the keyboard app with numerous fixes, and improvements added. Now, all of those fixes and improvements have been wrapped up and put into the latest official build being sent out through the Google Play Store.

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Forrester's Total Economic Impact study shows BlackBerry Cylance delivers 99% ROI in three years

Organizations looking to implement BlackBerry Cylance's AI security solutions are surely going to be interested in their return on investment and now thanks to a new study from Forrester, commissioned by BlackBerry, there are some hard numbers to refer to. Through their Total Economic Impact study, Forrester found that BlackBerry Cylance delivered a 99% return on investment.

Amazon has the BlackBerry KEY2 in black on sale for $609!

If you prefer your BlackBerry smartphones to come in black and have yet to get your hands on a BlackBerry KEY2, you might want to hit up Amazon where they currently have the unlocked black KEY2 on sale for $609, in stock and ready to ship to you with free delivery tomorrow if you're fast!

Google Calendar and Google Keep dark mode now rolling out

Google has been hard at work building out support for dark mode across apps such as YouTube, Contacts, Messages, and Android as a whole, and finally, that work has extended to the Google Calendar and Google Keep apps according to updates noted on the G Suite blog.

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Software update ABV312 now available for the BlackBerry Motion

BlackBerry Motion owners looking to get on the latest software update can now start checking for updates. The newest software update noted as ABV312 has all the Android security patches from May and has now started going out over the air to unlocked and carrier variants.

BlackBerry Keyboard beta update improves punctuation input, Japanese and Hindi languages

The BlackBerry Keyboard app has had several beta releases over the past few weeks, and today, BlackBerry has decided to roll out another one with a handful of improvements and one seemingly odd feature removal.

BlackBerry 'Monet' codename now starting to appear in config files

For those of you looking for any signs of a new BlackBerry being on its way, the first thing to usually pop up is a codename. Sometimes those codenames go nowhere, and sometimes they lead to a new device eventually being released.

A new codename and model number have now started appearing in config files and this time around we're looking at the name 'Monet' with the model number BBJ100 attached to it. Based on the available info, whatever it is, could be coming in multiple variants such as single-SIM and Dual-SIM options but outside of that, nothing seems locked down as of yet.

As always with the codenames and model numbers, it's all open to speculation until some more solid information comes through but for now, let me know in the comments what you think it is or what you hope it might be or swing by the CrackBerry Forums to discuss it some more where there's also talk of a new Verizon device variant.

Discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums

Thanks, Thurask!

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North American smartphone demand hits five-year low

According to a new report from Canalys, smartphone demand in the North American market has now hit a five-year low dropping from 44.4M shipments in Q1 2018 to 36.4M shipments in Q1 2019 with longer device lifecycles and devices not offering enough differentiation noted as just some of the reasons for the decline in overall shipments.

Telegram 5.6 adds a new design on Android and ability to archive chats!

Telegram has now started to roll out a rather large update for everyone through the Google Play Store. Aside from some solid design changes throughout the app to improve usability, Telegram has also added the ability to archive chats, perform bulk actions, and more!

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