In a previous post here on CrackBerry, Kevin asked the Nation what their top 5 improvements to BlackBerry 10 wish list would be. After combing through all of the comments and taking the time to prioritize them all, we've come up with a pretty decent list of the top 25 things. Kevin kicked off the suggestions with five of his own, which a lot of users agreed with, and from there over 1200 people unloaded their list of wants. There were hundreds of ideas submitted. The Top 25 doesn't cover them all, but it does cover a lot.
It was an interesting journey to go through the suggestions and see what the everyone felt was important. There was an extremely wide array of answers presented. Some of them were indeed expected while a few others took us by surprise. And sometimes there was disagreement in the comments about what was a good idea or not. Things like UI design for example tend to spark a debate.
Keep in mind, we only wanted to focus on the actual BlackBerry 10 OS usage and not, for example, how BlackBerry 10 updates are handled. We already know that pretty much everyone would like to see faster OS updates come to BlackBerry 10 devices. This list is about the experience and improvements that could be made to the operating system itself along with added functionality.
So without further ado, we present our list of the top 25 wanted improvements for BlackBerry 10 as laid out by you, the CrackBerry community. We've listed the top 25 starting at number 25 and working our way down to the #1 most wanted thing. You can use the Next Page button (below) to click through one at a time, or the drop down menu to jump to a specific page. Enjoy the show. And let's get it done #TEAMBLACKBERRY!
Increased Folder Support - 25 of 25
Right now the folder options on BlackBerry, for some, are rather limited. You can only place up to 16 apps within a folder and there is no ability to add folders within a folder or anything crazy like that. Compare that to iOS, which removed the folder limit size and now uses pages within folders to allow and infinite number or Android where the sky is the limit with aid of third party launchers, and you can easily see where this desire of an increased limit to enable more comes from. On some carriers, that limit doesn't even cover some of the 'junk apps' and bloat ware they push.
Speaking of folders, users would like more options, such as the ability to bottom or middle align apps within folders, and to potentially make the folders pop up on spot (where your finger tapped the folder) vs. moving to a full screen view.
Improved Voice Control - 24 of 25
Siri has grown from an app to hear bad jokes and be horribly misunderstood by to becoming an everyday tool some folks can't live without. Google Now is so insanely useful, though a bit creepy at times, that Google is launching a ton of wearable devices under the Android Wear branding with it fully integrated. As for BlackBerry Voice Control, well it's just not up to par with the other offerings out there and it's something the community wants to see improved.
Dark Themed Hub - 23 of 25
This one seems a bit of a no-brainer given the fact that other portions of the OS are capable of being skinned or 'themed' if you will. If most of my apps are capable of running a dark theme, then why shouldn't the Hub be capable as well? Of course, like most things in the OS it would obviously need to be an optional setting for those who don't really want it but with 89.21% of CrackBerry readers wanting it, it seems few would disable it.
Improved Landscape Functionality - 22 of 25
There is really no nice way to say this. Landscape functionality in BlackBerry 10 is pretty much borked. Although it exists in some apps, the core apps of the BlackBerry 10 OS simply don't have it or if they do, it involves a work around such as entering the app from the Hub in order to make it work. It all feels very much like an after thought and it desperately needs to be improved. It's in such a bad state that it's safe to say its likely held back more than a few dock accessories from being released or utilized for their full functionality.
PlayBook Style Task Manager - 21 of 25
Remember those old images of the BlackBerry London as it was called way back when? That was one of the experimental designs BlackBerry was playing with and while that particular device never became a reality, it showed off some interesting design ideas. One of those was the BlackBerry PlayBook style task manager or running apps and it looked great. Apple, not BlackBerry, ran with it. We're not sure how it would fit into the BlackBerry flow design language currently on BlackBerry 10, but in any case it's something folks are asking for. Maybe it's another one of those things that could be made optional.
Improved Download Options In Browser - 20 of 25
The BlackBerry Browser has seen an immense overhaul from the BlackBerry OS days. These days it is fast, it renders nicely and there's very little to complain about, but alas, we found a few things that could certainly be improved. Text re-flow is one of those things along with proper download integration.
For example, the "Save Linked File" option that can only be found by long-pressing a link in the web browser needs to work everywhere. If someone BBM's you a direct link to say an MP3 file, it'll only open the media player and play it. It will offer you no option to save the file. It's immensely annoying when that happens and could be addressed rather easily.
Improved Permissions Options - 19 of 25
This one is a tricky one and while I understand folks are asking for it, there needs to be an understanding of how permissions work as well. With the addition of Android apps, a lot of folks want improved permissions options for those apps because they simply feel the apps want too much access. However, even on Android you don't have those options natively. It's an all or nothing scenario. If you don't agree with the permissions on Android, you can't really change them so it shouldn't really be expected that you can do so on Android apps for BlackBerry 10 either.
That said, I think the fact that folks want additional options to permissions is a sign of a larger problem and that's that folks simply do not fully understand app permissions and that needs to be addressed accordingly with better descriptions of what each permission does. Time and time again I've read reviews on BlackBerry World where someone has vehemently refused to use an app because it asks for everyday permissions such as shared file access, all the while not understanding that that permission was to do nothing more than cache image files or the likes on their device.
Long story short, better permission descriptions are needed and improved access to those permissions when applicable needs to be addressed.
Improved Toast Notifications - 18 of 25
Toast notifications or Instant Previews as BlackBerry calls them are a great addition to the BlackBerry 10 OS but there are very few options or settings to control them. It's pretty much you have them on or you have them off and that's about it. Having some further control over which apps they run for or where they appear when enabled is certainly one of more requested features, especially among BBM users who tend to get notifications for people they're already talking to on BBM. There's no need to see that so and so sent you a BBM if you're in a BBM chat with them.
Hub Reset After Exit - 17 of 25
This request is a lingering one from when BlackBerry 10 was initially released and personally, I'm not sure it will ever be 'fixed'. If you're in the BlackBerry Hub then leave the Hub, when you return it will be in the exact same spot as of you left it, it doesn't reset itself to a generic starting point. While it does sometimes make me mad, there's times such as when I'm copying and pasting something from one place to another it feels right and if it was any other way it would be counter intuitive. In any case, it seems most people want it to reset on exit.
Perhaps an option to set a Hub timeout here would work. After five minutes, the hub resets to the default view. This would provide both benefits.
Wireless Printing Integration - 16 of 25
Wireless printers are a dime a dozen these days, though the ink still costs a small fortune, and while Apple has AirPrint and Android has Google Cloud Print there's nothing native to make use of for BlackBerry 10 unless you're looking to use third-party apps. For a company with deep roots in business this seems to be a big oversight for those who wish to use such a feature. Sure, there are plenty of printers out there that have their own personal email addresses that you can email to and print files or otherwise coax it to work but it needs to be fluid and easy, and that means a built-in experience.
Improved VPN Support - 15 of 25
Security is of high importance these days along with anonymity. To help maintain such things a lot of people are turning to VPN services and while BlackBerry 10 supports a lot of the corporate world's VPN protocols, it doesn't have much support for things such as OpenVPN, PPTP, IPSEC/L2TP, leaving a bunch of users out in the dark when it comes to VPN utilization. This needs to be addressed as folks clearly want access to such things. Since we're at it though, it also has some, shall we say, broader uses like the ability to access region restricted content.
Improved Gallery - 14 of 25
Although improvements have been made to the gallery over time, it's still not as fine grain as some folks would like and it's just plain too basic. On top of that, some of the stuff it does have isn't very obvious. Take for example the ability to create folders for images. It's there but if you ask most BlackBerry 10 owners I'm willing to bet they'd say it doesn't exist and you need to use the File Manager app to create a folder.
Pro Tip: Press and hold on a picture till side menu pops up, then choose ‘select more’ then select ‘move’. It will then ask you to create a folder for the images you're trying to move. Not really obvious eh?
Improved Music Player - 13 of 25
If there was one thing I could absolutely say I hate about BlackBerry 10, the music player would be it. Much like the gallery, it's just too basic. Since launch, the music player has improved but it can be better. It needs some love starting with the ability to control music from the lock screen visually, Gracenote integration to download missing album art on the go would go a long way to actually fixing some of BlackBerry Links missing album cover issues and SoundHound integration would be a nice touch. Add in the the ability to edit ringtones natively from within the music app, bring back an equalizer and while you're at it, throw in a visualizer. That's the recipe for a banging music app.
Email Gestures And Attachment Options - 12 of 25
It's no secret that BlackBerry 10 is a gesture based OS but for the life of me I can't figure out why we're only now starting to see gestures in the mail client with the introduction of the Hub gesture. Android has had it for a while now and with iOS 7, Apple has taken on some of the same concepts as Android. Maybe this is already in the works at BlackBerry but either way, it's high on the wanted improvements list.
S/MIME And PGP For All - 11 of 25
S/MIME or Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, if you prefer offers digital signature verification along with message encryption for email and while it is a part of BES 10 services, a lot BlackBerry users would like to see it available on BlackBerry 10 devices without the BES requirement, along with PGP otherwise known as Pretty Good Privacy. As folks are increasingly becoming concerned with privacy and security, it would be nice to see BlackBerry come up with easy ways to implement this for end users who wish to use it. Security shouldn't be hard and expensive.
Ability To Move Assets To SD Card - 10 of 25
For years now, people have been asking for the ability to run apps off the SD Card on BlackBerry smartphones and if history is to be believed, the reason we've not seen it happen is because it has potential security issues. However, in the later days of BlackBerry OS there was a bit of a compromise made that allowed users to offload assets of apps and games to the SD Card thus minimizing the amount of space those things occupied on device.
With BlackBerry 10, this once again appears to have disappeared and any apps or games downloaded are once again stored only on the device memory. When you consider the 16GB internal storage limit and games coming in often between 1-2 GB space rapidly disappears on devices. Meanwhile, a 32GB SD Card for some folks, remains pretty much empty. It's frustrating when that happens.
You know it's a problem when an OS update arrives and you can't download it because there's not enough space on your device. That's not really something people should have to worry about.
Better Camera Options And Features - 9 of 25
When it comes to the cameras on BlackBerry 10 devices they are pretty basic. Sure, there's some settings you can play around with but in general everything is just plain. In leaks, we were led to believe that BlackBerry was working on some additional enhancements but as official updates rolled out those items disappeared from the options. Adding in some panorama options, the ability to create GIF's on the go and maybe even an auto upload feature with some storage and editing options with a service such as Aviary would go a long way.
While we're at it, for an OS that focuses on efficiency, a lot of the basic camera app features like flash settings or flipping to the front camera are hidden behind the menu option. Being efficient in the camera means surfacing those often-used features to the front!
BlackBerry Link Improvements - 8 of 25
The woes of BlackBerry Link. There's very few people who actually like BlackBerry Link, and that's only if they can get it working to know they don't like it. I've not been able to use it on my Mac for months now as it never logs me into my BlackBerry ID and I've tried everything to fix it. For as many issues as BlackBerry Desktop Manager had, it worked most of the time and when it said it was backing up your device you could believe it was backing up your device. With BlackBerry Link, it's a crap shoot on whether or not it's doing anything aside from hogging RAM in your PC.
BlackBerry Protect - 7 of 25
When BlackBerry Protect was introduced on BlackBerry OS devices it was fantastic! It would back up your device with ease and if you switched devices, you could be sure it captured most of what you needed on your device. The BlackBerry 10 version of BlackBerry Protect though doesn't really do much of anything, at least not visually to end users. Sure, it might back up some stuff but it's nowhere as robust as it once was. It seems as though this is being worked on as there are options to restore previous devices but for now, they don't seem to work. Bring BlackBerry Protect back as it once was.
Contacts App Improvements - 6 of 25
Go home contacts app, you're drunk! Seriously though, this one is a big issue for many people including myself. It's pretty much at the point that I just gave up trying to fix my contacts and from comments, I'm sure I'm not the only one. The contacts app needs to be overhauled and fixed correctly. While the idea of how it works is fantastic, it just doesn't really work that way.
Contacts are often duplicated, they go missing and come back whenever they want, images are assigned one minute and not the next, names get switched around, weird data gets added to profiles and more. I could go on but we're not here to hate on anything, we all just want things fixed and the contacts app needs some serious work.
More Customizations and User Presets - 5 of 25
BlackBerry has been steadily adding back more customizations into the OS, and there's are still more to do. That said, while BlackBerry continues to add in more levels of settings (ability to turn off notifications for specific things and customize them, etc.), we think it's important that BlackBerry try to keep BlackBerry 10 as simple as possible for newbies and first time users to pick up.
It needs to be approachable and learnable, and then as you get smarter with it you learn how to customize. To that end, we think there needs to be more presets that users can pick during startup that provide the user with a tailored BlackBerry 10 experience. The Power Communicator setting would turn on toast notifications by default, while the Casual User setting would maybe turn them off, etc.
Example: Kevin's mom freaked out after she updated her Z10 and toast notifications kicked in. She really, really, really doesn't need them. That's a phone that would be set on newbie status permanently, so when BlackBerry continues to push out new advanced feature updates, none of them would disturb her as a basic user.
Fresh Coat Of Paint On The UI - 4 of 25
Leading up to the launch of BlackBerry 10, we were very vocal and felt the graphics in BlackBerry 10 looked dated and clunky. We're in a design era right now where everybody is going clean and lightweight with graphics. Solid colors, light lines. Instead, BlackBerry 10 has a lot of iconography with heavy gradients. Think back to OS 4.6 and it was years ahead of it's time - very minimalist and lightweight. It looked from the future. BlackBerry 10 still looks like it's from the past even though it's the "newest" mobile operating system on the market. A lot of BlackBerry owners own other devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone), so they're getting used to this lightweight look and feel. BlackBerry should be leading the way here, especially with it's gesture-based UI.
This IS NOT to say we want to see BlackBerry 10 look like iOS 7, or that BB10 has to go lightweight, which many users pointed out in the comments that they're not fans of. We simply think there is a lot of room for improvement on the visual execution of BB10, to tighten and brighten and lighten things up. The goal should be to make it the best looking mobile operating system, period.
Tweaking The Homescreen - 3 of 25
We talked about this leading up to the launch of BlackBerry 10 also. It seemed with Active Frames it would make sense to have a homescreen where you could pin or sticky apps you use a lot. I see a lot of people requesting this too. In practice, I haven't found the Active Frames to be that useful (talking about when they are programmed and show an alternate state). I think there is maybe a happy medium here between what Windows Phone does with Live Tiles and what Android does with Widgets and what BB10 does for Active Frames.
We like that the homescreen shows what's open as it makes multitasking fast, but because apps are moving positions a lot, your brain doesn't think to look at them for info. You mainly just open and close apps and jump around. If you could have part of the homescreen be fixed with mini versions of running apps, and then part of the screen showing the open apps, we think this may be a more useful experience.
One brilliant suggestion that came up in the comments was to speed up the ease of jumping between open apps. Right now you have to swipe up to return to the homescreen of Active Frames, upon which you have to tap an app to jump into it. BlackBerry could save time here if they began to show the open apps on the screen (the flowed down from the top) as you begin to swipe up from the bottom, and you could guide your finger to the app you want to jump directly into. Releasing your finger on that app would take you directly into it, without the need to first return to the homescreen. Brilliant. We'd love to see this happen.
APKs in BlackBerry World - 2 of 25
Now, in reality, what the CrackBerry community wants way more than APKs in BlackBerry world is simply more awesome NATIVE BLACKBERRY 10 apps. Failing that, users just want apps however they can get them, as easily as they can get them. And while BlackBerry 10.2.1 brought support for direct APK installs, it never brought an official way to obtain those APK files and that's a problem. Although there's rumors of it already being in the works, BlackBerry just needs to let developers upload APK files directly to BlackBerry World bypassing the now needless process of converting the files to BAR format.
It would also be good to separate out the Android apps within BlackBerry World somehow so people know, but this way only apps that actually work on BlackBerry 10 will be in there as they'll go through standard approval process as well.
Hopefully BlackBerry can throw some money (or free phones) around to get android developers to support this and also upload their apps here after they put them in Google Play. It shouldn't be too hard - BlackBerry needs to make the process drop dead easy for developers.
Google Play / Services Support - 1 of 25
We've been talking about this for far too long now but one way or another, we think BlackBerry needs to make this happen in order to provide a really seamless user experience to owners and we're not alone as this was the top comment out of all the comments. The ability to install APKs is great, but it's extremely annoying when an app like Flappy Birds crashes whenever you hit the leaderboard button simply because it relies on Google Play Games access to record scores. All those apps you can't seem to run on BlackBerry, for the most part, it's because they want Google Play Services access. If they had that access, the compatibility rate of Android apps on BlackBerry 10 would be much higher than it already is.
So there you have it, the top 25 improvements we'd like to see in BlackBerry 10. We know not everyone is going to agree with them all or the ordering of them but that's that way it is with all things in life really. Also, in some places our words were a little harsh but that's not to say BlackBerry 10 isn't an outstanding OS as it is now (we're already working our 110 Things We LOVE about BlackBerry 10 post that will go up next month). It really is and it has grown plenty since the initial release but there is always room for improvement and our intent here to highlight those things that need improvement in an effort to make BlackBerry 10 even better than it already is.
So what do you all think of it? Is it a fair enough list or did we miss out on some huge things that need to improved upon? Let us know in the comments what you think, what we may have missed and what you'd have added to the list.
With contributions by Kevin Michaluk.