In my last post I blogged about Android compatibility. It has continued to get better. Well Blackberry has released a beta version of the next release of the OS for the Z10. I found it on Crackberry thank to my Blackberry enthusiast buddy Jeff. The OS on the whole is an incremental improvement on the OS with the exception of Android where it is truly revolutionary.
In the past you had to get a hold of an Android APK (that hadn’t been ported to Blackberry App world) and then convert it to a bar, then side load it into your phone using your PC. Some of the apps I worked on would fail to side load. In this release of the OS it can directly load APKs directly on the phone itself. So I used File Expert on my Android tablet to get a hold of the APKs. These can then directly be put onto the BlackBerry. Then you can use any file explorer click on the APK and install the program. It’s a whole lot easier. Each and every one of my side load issues disappeared. So the only remaining issues are inherent compatibility issues. The number is way down. This is a HUGE step forward. The only ones that didn’t work now are:
com.alk.copilot.mapviewer_v22.214.171.1248.146 (Starts and then dies says it can’t get to the net to phone home)
com.android.chrome_v1.159.9092.0 (Starts and then crashes)
com.kebab.Llama_v126.96.36.199 (Works but can’t get the cell tower location so is mostly useless)
org.M.alcodroid_adfree_v2.13.21300 (Dies with a licensing error)
com.gameresort.stupidzombies_v188.8.131.52 (starts and then hangs)
net.defensezone2_v184.108.40.206 (starts but can’t get past the initial language screen)
mainwood.android.rushhourfree_v1.3.4 (starts but does not play well)
Here’s a list of all the Android marketplaces out there that you can get APKs from (in one way or another).
As an interesting side note, while you can install APKs directly on the device without side loading (and without a PC), you can’t do that with BARs. you still need a PC and side loading. Odd.
So what else is new in 10.2.1? They have increased the number of items you can have in the Quick Settings and allowed the user to control what and where they show up in the list. A nice improvement. A flashlight is now available in the quick settings menu. Nice! They have also included a nice Device monitor (that can be added to the Quick settings menu) that allows you see lots of stuff like, memory (you can see who is using memory and how much), processor (you can see who is using the processor and kill apps), battery status (including a graph of the battery status) and lastly a storage graph to see where your phone storage is being used. A nice little app.
You can now have groups of contacts that you can in turn use to send an email or text message to. To me this is more like a distribution list but maybe if they do something more with the group it will become useful.
I plugged in a uSD card formatted with ExFat and I got informed from inside Inside Storage and access that there was a Storage Device Driver that “This update will install support for USB and SDXC media cards.” I installed it twice even with reboots inbetween but it seemed like the install never worked. Sad. I miss ExFAT, it supports greater than 4G files (ie movies).
I’m sure there is more but this is what’s jumped out at me in the last couple of days.
Installing the new OS was quite simple. I downloaded the complete installer. I unzipped it, ran it and then had to power off the phone (It never did tell me I had to power it off I guessed). It simply reloaded the OS. I chose to do a full device wipe before I started since this was going to be a different way of loading my Android apps.
I can’t get over how much of an improvement this is!
I’d heard so much leading up to the release of Black Berry 10.2 Operating System for the Z10 I was anxious to get it. The Q10 and Z30 already have it. It finally rolled out and now I get to see what’s new, and what’s not.
Blackberry’s much anticipated Priority hub is here. They have included a filtered view to the standard hub based on people you define (or it figures out) are important. But that’s all it is. A filtered view. Sadly they left out the ability to notify only on the priority hub so that’s still not solved. I so miss the Gmail Priority Inbox to filter out less important stuff. The only other thing you can do with the priority inbox is turn Instant previews on or off for people in the priority inbox.
So to get around this what I do is go into customized settings for the noticfictions for the people that are important and add a custom tone, and vibration for them. A bit of a pain, but at least I can tell when something is important. Then I use an app that I really like called eBuzz Pro. This allows me to then add reminders for missed messages as well as change the color of the notification LED for important people. A bit of a pain to setup but it does work.
Blackberry have made a major improvement by adding an instant preview. When a message comes in a small bar comes down from the top to see your new message, click it and it takes you right to the new message. Very nice! Sorta reminds me of Android
They have added Android 4 app support, but I found only 1 app that didn’t use to work that now does.
What’s not changed:
No change to notification LED, still only red.
Still no keep screen on
Still no USB on the go (could be a hardware limitation)
Still not calendar view
No improvement to the dialer, lookup or favorites view
Here’s a thorough list of what’s new.
So all in all 10.2 is a nice incremental step forward but still work to be done.
What better thing to do on a dull dreary rainy fall morning than play with my gadgets! This blog post is about running Android Apps on BlackBerry 10. I’m on a Z10.
Apps make or break the device. When I first bought the Z10 I was on an Android S3. I love the app rich environment. Sadly BlackBerry have not got quite the same following as Android or the app king IOS. Android Apps since BlackBerry 10 was released have the ability to resign their apps and submit them to AppWorld. Some have, some have not. So it became make or break for me to stay with a Z10 to find alternatives. And alternatives I did indeed find. I still have an Android tablet so I can get my hands on the Android install files called APKs using a tool called File Expert. This does not require root. Once you have the APK you can resign the app yourself to be installed on your BlackBerry on one of three web sites. Mobile 24, GoodEReader, or Apk2Bar. I found no difference in functioanlity between any of these. If an app does not work from one of them it does not work for all of them. Sometimes the conversion process would hang on one web site and work on the other. Once converted you have the BlackBerry installer called a BAR. It is possible to find BARs on the net already converted for you, but I am concerned about if a virus might be inserted into it, so do it myself.
There is also a process for self signing the APK to a BAR but to date I haven’t been able to get that working.
I found two processes to install the BAR file onto your BlackBerry using your PC. I have not found a way to do it without a PC. One is called DDPB and the other is a Chrome Extension. I found no difference between these two processes. If it failed on one, it failed on the other.
I had originally heard that compatibility was a whole lot better on 10.2 Vs 10.2. I haven’t found that at all. For me it has been almost identical. Nothing stopped working on 10.2 that worked on 10.1 (so at least there is that) and 1 app that didn’t work now does.
Recently the unlocked Android runtime hit the net which is rumoured to fix a number of issues with Android apps.
So how is compatibility? First off the numbers then the details if you care:
I tried 51 apps. Of those 32 worked in 10.1, and 1 worked only once upgraded to 10.2. 6 apps that previously broke now work with the Unlocked Runtime installed from the link above. 5 Apps failed to side load. 7 apps are non-functional. So that means 39 of 51 apps work with 10.2 and the unlocked Android runtime or 76%!
Here are the details:
Working on 10.2 didn’t on 10.1
Unlocked Android fixed the issue 6
Side loading errors: 5
opl.textc_v2.9.11c.85 transit now.bar
Not functional 7
com.alk.copilot.mapviewer_v220.127.116.118.146.bar (Starts and then dies says it can’t get to the net to phone home)
com.android.chrome_v1.159.9092.0.bar (Starts and then crashes)
com.kebab.Llama_v18.104.22.168.bar (Works but can’t get the cell tower location so is mostly useless)
org.M.alcodroid_adfree_v2.13.21300.bar (Dies with a licensing error)
com.gameresort.stupidzombies_v22.214.171.124.bar (starts and then hangs)
net.defensezone2_v126.96.36.199.bar (starts but can’t get past the initial language screen)
mainwood.android.rushhourfree_v1.3.4.bar (starts but does not play well)
This is a quick post to let you know the Blackberry 10.2 update is out. I got mine last night after a colleague pointed out it was available! Thanks Jeff! This update promises to fix a number of the limitations I noted in my in depth review of the Z10. I will in a separate post let you know what’s fixed in this release. This post is just about the update process.
You can see the update is available manually by going to settings Software update. This release 10.2.0.424 is a big update. It’s 1019MB! Blackberry force you to do this over WIFI. For some odd reason I could not get the desktop app (Blackberry Link) to see that there was an update available. It kept saying it was up to date. This has to be one of the larger phone OS’s I’ve seen.
For me the download took 1 hour and 5 minutes. I can only imagine how many people are downloading this at the same time. Once downloaded it starts to install. For me this took 25 minutes. Then comes the reboot. Once rebooted the phone sits on a Blackberry text for about 10 minutes before you finally see the typical blackberry boot logo. I almost thought it had hung. Then another 5 minutes for first boot. In all this process to me 1 hour and 45 minutes. So don’t try this unless you have lots of time. As usual the process can not be interrupted (other than the download). And you really ought to have a fully charged battery to start.
Now onto see what’s new!
Jump right to a section if you like:
I have been anxious to try out a BB10 based Z10 since the day it was announced. A friend of a friend enabled getting me one! Thanks Shawn and Lance! In the past the blackberries have been seriously tied to a cell phone carrier (Rogers/AT&T etc) based black berry plan. Even on a 9900 Bold you still needed a blackberry carrier account to make use of the device to do things like email BBM etc. So I was massively interested to see if blackberry had stepped away from this carrier entanglement. They have! The device can 100% be setup on WIFI, on a SIM card without a Blackberry plan. Absolutely no tie in to a BES or BIS account! Even BBM! Something never in the past possible. This is a HUGE step forward. Something I bet a lot of people don’t even know. It’s hard to correct years of being told by carriers you have to buy blackberry plan services. In my mind this is one of the things that drove people to other devices. The carriers charged a premium for blackberry plans.
I will apologize in advance, as my first kick at this platform there is lots to cover off.
I’m coming from an Android Samsung S3 for a point of comparison. Android has come a long way and so the bar has been set for BB10 to reach and compete! And compete they must do to win back customers and be relegated from the bottom of the smart phone pile. One of the things I don’t like about Android is that it is laggy and buggy. So we will see how BB10 compares. Being a Real time operating system, QNX ought to be better at seeming iPhone like instantaneous and smooth.
Physically the device is a nice size for my hand. It’s just big enough that I can reach across the screen without shuffling it in my hand and risking dropping it as I have to do with the S3. It’s 5.1″ Vs 5.4 for the S3. That little bit smaller just fits my hand better. For compairson the Z10 is 2.6×5.1×0.4 inches Vs 2.8×5.4 x0.3 inches for the S3. So physically very similar in size. Weight wise the Z10 is 136G Vs 133 for the S3. Again similar. The screen is bright and crisp, easy to read and responsive to the touch. There are 4 buttons on the device. Vol Up/Dn, Power and a voice control key (that doesn’t seem to be reprogrammable). The power button is difficult to push, almost recessed. I checked a friend of mine’s and hers is much easier to push. Given that this is the only way to turn the device off it’s a little irritating. As a side note you can slide your finger from the bottom up when the screen is off and it wakes up and sometimes even unlocks. The back cover comes off easy enough but it does feel cheap and plasticy. Behind the cover is battery, uSD slot, and micro SIM slot. The uSD card can be removed without having to power off the phone. A good thing because it takes a while for it to boot from cold. Fortunately you rarely need to fully power it off. During a power on by the way there is a Blackberry logo on the screen. If you look closely there is a progress bar going around the logo. Press and hold the logo and you will see the percentage booted. So not obvious.
You can carry a spare battery if you want to and blackberry even have a neat device that holds a spare battery, and can be used to recharge the z10 on the go without actually removing the battery. When you get home the charger plugs into the spare battery and then the z10 so both get recharged while you sleep. A brilliant design. And you can also use this device to charge any uSD based gadget. I wondered how efficient this was, so I ran the battery on the phone down to 20%. In 45 mins the battery on the phone was at 66% (and the spare battery pack dead) so a very quick charge. Now considering the battery in the battery pack is a standard Z10 battery it means the battery pack is only about 50% efficient Vs taking the battery out of the Z10 and swapping it with a spare. So convenience comes at a price.
The device has a micro USB jack, a micro HDMI connector and a standard 3.5″ audio plug. There is no support for USB OTG so you can’t plug in USB devices such as USB flash drives, keyboard/mice etc.
In the box was a mini travel charger, a micro USB cable (for the charger as well as to hook up to your computer) and a wired headset. They do not include a carrying case, or sleeve of any kind.
Out of the box the OS was at 10.1.0.237. 10.1.0.481 was ready for download but took a long time to come down (almost an hour I think).
One of the first things you will need to consider is do you want to setup a new Blackberry account or use an existing one. This is a pretty key decision because to change the blackberry account the device is tied to requires a FULL wipe of the device. If you use an existing account then you can have your BBM contacts come over to your new device, but BBM will stop working on the old device. To change your blackberry account requires a device wipe. And a device wipe takes a while (over 15 minutes and then a start from scratch). Don’t forget while it’s doing this you can’t take any calls, receive texts nada. And of course you lose everything. All your settings all your setup. Everything. Your Blackberry world purchases are also tied to your blackberry account. So think this one through. Fortunately I discovered you can change the email address on the blackberry id, so at least there is that!
Right off the bat it seems the Z10 does not support exFAT (
I hear this is added in 10.2 same in 10.2) which would support larger than 4G files (movies for example). Pooh. In fact I formatted a uSD card on a PC as FAT32 and even then it didn’t like it. In the end I gave up and formatted the card on the Z10. I copied a bunch of content onto the card and the Z10 took a while (about 1/2 an hour on a 32G card) to see all the content. Oddly the storage manager did not properly show how much of the card was free. Eventually all of the content (music/videos) showed up.
The device does detect rotation of the device, however, like Android, it does not on the home screen (or lock screen or app list). Pooh. This is especially inconvenient when you are trying to unlock it and you have it on it’s side such as a dock, or if your using an HDMI monitor (more about that later). The screen does only do 3 of 4 rotations, no upside down. Out of the box there is no setting to keep the display on all the time. Again something you might want on a dock. There’s also no setting to use the camera flash as a flashlight. There is a free ap for that called FlashLight.
Bluetooth pairing of a keyboard, mouse and headset went perfectly smoothly. In fact headset connection is already far more reliable then it ever was on Android (my S2 and S3 from time to time just would refuse to connect. I’d have to turn Bluetooth on and off to get it to work).
Sadly there is no way to wake up the berry with the keyboard or mouse so your reaching up to the power button, then unlocking it on the screen before you can start typing. Especially limiting when attached to an external monitor and your not close to it ie the couch Something I am sure most people will never even notice. And absolutely no way to navigate around the user interface of BB10 on the keyboard. Everything from home, back, esc, windows keys etc are 100% ignored. So you will have to use the touchscreen of the device to do much of anything. So basically the keyboard would allow you to just type on it.
The calendar app like most of the PIM apps on the Berry is an aggregator. Oddly they have not allowed you to see only the calendar for one app. The contacts app for example does. You might want this if you were booking something for your personal calendar. It gets pretty busy when it munges your work and personal calendars into one view. Oddly the calendar notification default is set to off. Miss a few meetings and then you figure that out It also has a local calendar, which just happens to be the default. Add a few calendar entries and wonder why they aren’t getting on your calendar? DOH, silly. Go into settings, accounts, set defaults. You can also not show the local calendar but no way to delete it altogether. Another anomaly to the other PIM apps.
The dialer has got to the first one in a long time that does not do a contact search when you start typing in numbers. So you are relegated to a text based contact search. And while favorites show up in the contact app, they oddly do not in the dialer. You can create speed dial entries so at least there is that. But all in all this is poorly designed, either that or I am missing something.
Blackberry have included an app called Blackberry Protect which allows you to log on to the Blackberry Protect portal and locate your phone, lock the phone, play a sound, display a message, and even wipe the phone all remotely. A nice feature. But be sure and enable this and set it up, because it is disabled by default. An odd choice. Test it BEFORE you actually need it! By the way, Samsung have a very similar service.
The music player shows a nice thumbnail of each of your artists, Albums, and Genres. You can search your collection. You can create a playlist on the device. You can also delete music right on the device (yay). And they have included a shuffle all feature, something I use a LOT (yay). No advanced features like lyrics, discography etc. And no link to social media. The music does properly stop when you unplug your headset, but when you plug one in it does nothing. It does start/pause playing music if you hit the button on a wired headset (or it done on the one I tried). The middle convenience button if pressed once does a play/pause, if you were listening to something. All in all not a bad music player. Music is one of the main things I do on my device. If this wasn’t done well this would be a show stopper for me. And blackberry multimedia in the past has been VERY substandard. This time around it’s not bad at all. Nicely done BlackBerry!
I’ve always liked the clock on my Bold 9900. Any time you plug it into a charger the clock comes up and stays on. The clock on this one is not as nice, does not come on automatically when you plug it into a charger, and does not stay on. Pooh. There is a clock which you can start from the lock screen (by dragging it down like a night shade) they called it Bedside mode. BSM also turns all notifications off.
Google (as well as others) really are not embracing BB10. There is no Gmail app (so you lose the priority inbox I love so much), no Google maps, no Google Navigation etc. I’m told Blackberry are bringing their own Priroity inbox in 10.2 for all inboxes.
I played with the built in Maps app which includes turn by turn directions. It works fine, but the search engine is not as good as Google maps. There’s also no way to share a location you have found in the maps app, or add it to your contact list. You can create favorites in the app.
There is Google Talk (written by Blackberry) available but not the newer Google Hangouts. And it is not integrated with the rest of your Google accounts so you have to re-enter your userid and password. Not a big deal … It does integrate properly with the Blackberry Hub so that’s a yay! Similarly there is a MS Live instant messenger (again written by BlackBerry).
One of the limitations of Android has been it’s inability to control fonts. Even when Google included the ability to control the font in the OS so many programs did there own thing making this problematic. On BB10 you set the font and can change it any time you want and (almost) everything changes with it. One exception to this would be the onscreen keyboard (and a few apps). Which can be a challenge if you bump the font up large enough to read without glasses and then try and use the on screen keyboard. This is a HUGE step forward and nice for someone like me that is starting to need reading glasses
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) has been freshened now to include Voice and Video chatting (and channels are coming) as well as text instant messaging and is of course free. It will be interesting to see when BlackBerry roll this out to Android etc how/if they monetize it. Reality is one reason why some people have bought BlackBerries in the past was BBM. Not that I get it. Given all the other instant messaging options I don’t really see the attraction of BBM. At least not enough to make it a decision point on which device to choose.
Blackberry Hub and messaging
BlackBerries are first and foremost communication machines. On BB10 they have created something they call the BlackBerry hub. This is a message and calendar aggregator that pulls all your sources into one place. And the hub is readily available by sliding left at any time. So you can quickly deal with any form of message, and then quickly get back to whatever you were doing. Each of the individual sources can easily be selected (text/email/bbm etc) as well making it an efficient way to deal with stuff coming at you from every possible direction. Accounts can be supported from Email/Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook etc including easy setups for Gmail/Hotmail/Yahoo or generic IMAP/POP accounts. So lots of flexibility in how this can interact with the rest of the world. If there was anything missing I like the way a message notification comes on the top of the screen in Android that you can select and go right to the new message. Other than that … Nicely done!
With all these messages coming at you the lack of a priority in box is really missing. So is any way to have different colors on the notification LED (something I’m thrilled to have by the way). I’m also quite surprised at the limited number of notification tones you can choose from. Each source (email, text bbm etc) can all have there own notification tone, but BlackBerry have included so few it’s less than helpful. I’m not sure what the thought process on this was (assuming there was one). The 9900 had a lot more choice. Fortunately BB have included the ability to have ringtone be a music file you provide it, and it can sit anywhere, so fixing this is pretty easy as long as you can find a ringtone you want to use.
Another thing I found limiting was the small number of sound profiles you have. Happily Bluetooth sound is unaffected by these so when the BB connects to your home, or car stereo over Bluetooth there’s no separate Bluetooth volume to mess with (as there is with Android). You basically have Normal, Phone calls Only, Vibrate only, Silent and All Alerts off. And none of these are changeable. You can’t even add your own. Also gone is the auto power off. A feature I used on the 9900 to turn it off during hours when I am not at work or on call. There’s also no way to control when a particular account (say your work account) is on and active. Either have it or not
Next to the right is any background running aps. I hear it can handle up to 8. If there are more than 4 swipe down to see the rest of them. The background apps can easily be closed from there by pressing the x. You can also see widget like functionality as the app runs in the background. Now with 10.1 there are some limitations to the implementation of the OS you need to be aware of. First there is no way to autostart an application on boot. Second once you close an app from this screen it is closed. It is not running in the background. This is important to note from everything from instant messengers, to VOIP etc. So you have to manually start these on boot, remember not to close them and have only 8. Ouch. Not a deal breaker but definitely a limitation. This is suppose to be changing in the future but this is what it is right now.
The last section is pages of apps you have installed. It supports folders or apps too. I have to admit I do miss the information rich world if Android widgets. Navigating is relatively easy between these screens. Just swipe. But if you have pages and pages of apps your swiping through pages of apps until you realize (thanks Jeff) you can just press the exact page or hub you want on the bottom of the screen. It also doesn’t wrap around when you get to the end. So for me the first page of apps includes a number of folders with my most commonly used stuff in them. You can not have more than one icon to individual apps so if you wanted to have an app in more than one folder your out of luck. A number of the screen movements require you to start from the edges of the screen. Be careful if you buy a bumper case or the like for your device. If it sticks up at all it will make it hard to do these edge of screen gestures. Deleting aps and moving them around requires you to just push and hold them until they start to wiggle. Ok this just looks iPhoneish. Even preloaded aps can be uninstalled. For me this is the first time I have seen this! Yay! Carrier bloatware be gone.
From the top of the screen you can swipe down and get quick access to settings, Rotation lock, Bluetooth, WIFI, Alarm and notifications. Click on the icon itself and it toggles it (that took me a bit to figure out) click beside the icon and it takes you to the settings screen for that particular item.
Let’s face it, apps make the device. Don’t have the best apps, or the apps aren’t as feature rich (because they are old) and you can make or break a device. Since a lot of users are coming from one platform or another they will have must have apps to be able to live on the new device. In the mobile world let’s face it, iOS is king. Android is second. Blackberries are way down the list. On the positive side, BB10 can run Android aps. Blackberry have made it relatively easy for Android developers to re-sign their aps and add them to the BlackBerry app store. If your favorite Android app has not yet been added to the app store you can do it yourself. The Android installer is called an APK. The BlackBerry installer is called a BAR. GoodEreader has both APKs and BARs. They even have a web interface to convert APKs to BARs. Once you have the BARs you can manually install them onto your device by following this guide. By the way the guide forgot to mention you have to load BlackBerry link on your PC for this to work. Don’t get your hopes too high, some Android programs work and some do not. I found the same thing the last time I played with this on the playbook. GoodEReader also has a marketplace of it’s own that can make downloading them yourself even easier. Interestingly enough even the GoodEReader marketplace is an Android ap Once an app is downloaded from the GoodEReader marketplace you still need a trip back to your PC to install it.
Of the Android 41 aps I tried 26 of them either do not work or aren’t functional enough to be useable, which is better than the last time I tried this. A couple of notes on the point, BB 10.1 only supports Android 2 (Gingerbread) APIs. 10.2 upgrades this up to Android 4 (IceCream Sandwich). This in itself may help the issue. And second the API does not support Bluetooth. Sadly this is not fixed in 10.2.
Update: Checkout my deep dive on Android app compatibility.
Do remember though, this is a one time install. You will not be informed of any updates to any apps you have side loaded.
You will also need to note that these don’t completely integrate into the core OS. So they don’t add to the share menu as an example.
I also need to point out that is not impossible for a virus or malware to creep into an APK/BAR that you are side loading. Android apps have complete access to the file system of the device and uSD card. So it would not be impossible for an Android app to infect (such as system exploits) the platform and even native BB aps. Now I am saying possible, not probable and not easy. And remember I don’t work for BlackBerry so there could be controls I am unaware of, but this seems to me to be 100% possible. As a paranoia I made sure I exported my own APKs and then I converted them to bars (using GoodEReader) which leaves only GoodEReader as a point where I could get infected.
Apps purchased on the AppWorld can be paid for by charging your cell bill (seems to be the default), your paypal account or your credit card. Nice to have flexibility. Refunds are handled by manually submitted a form to Blackbrry Consumer support. Checkout there refund policy before you buy anything to see if you like it or not. The policy seems pretty harsh to me.
Between apps I manually side loaded, as BB native aps I found most of what I need. Without side loading the picture is a little more bleak. I have lost some functionality but it’s nothing I can’t live without. One of the things I can’t find is a decent Sudoku game. Really?
Blackberry have made it very easy, maybe too easy to emergency dial the phone. I unplugged my Z10 the screen came on and I walked with the device only to discover I had accidentally pocket dialed 911. If you do a Google search on it, it would seem I am not the only one. Ooops. Apparently cops don’t like that. Huh … who knew DOH.
Cloud storage is a handy thing to have. I like to have it backing up pics as well as some data on the device. My favorite SugarSync has not embraced BB10. Fortunately the Android side load of it works just fine! You have to manually point it at the Blackberry camera folder in the uploads area but that’s easy enough.
No SkyDrive or Google cloud either. Blackberry have by default including something called Box loaded. I got an account and tried it. First of all the ap is dumb and didn’t think about the fact the default camera ap can store pics on the uSD card. It ignored them. Second it has no options to add your own folders you might want to sync. Well that was a waste of time. Idiots. Box=crap. It is however well integrated into the BB file manager Here’s the response from Box customer service “Unfortunately, we don’t currently offer the feature you asked about. Our Product team is constantly looking for ways to improve Box based on user feedback, so I’ll be sure to forward your suggestion on to them for consideration.”
DropBox is also included, but there is no auto backup functionality built into the app.
HDMI works as a shadow of the devices display. Not a whole lot to say about it. It just works. You do not need to have power to the phone for HDMI to work. You will run into the issue that the home screen does not rotate with the device. This worked fine for movies as well as displaying pictures. Presentations would also be possible. Since the port is a standard uHDMI cable it’s easy to get one. Interestingly enough the playbook came with one, the Z10 does not. Given this is rarely used probably not a bad choice.
When you first plug the device into a computer that does not already have BlackBerry link loaded it mounts a CD to allow you to download and install it. Handy and easy.
Once plugged in you notice that there are two drives on your PC. One for the internal storage and one for the SD card. If you look closer these are actually file shares, even when plugged into your PC with USB.
Done this way I was getting around 6MB/s in speed.
You can go into settings Storage and access and instead of a file share the SD card now shows as a flash drive. This gave around 11MB/s or about double. Do be aware that the SD card becomes unavailable in this mode as long as it is plugged into the computer. The same uSD card plugged into the card natively get’s about 22 MB/s so sadly this is about half.
You can even turn on file sharing on the network so the BB mounts itself as a file share. To do this go into Settings, Storage and access:
Click on Identification on Network and you can define workgroup and username:
From a command prompt on your PC you can see what shared:
net view \\z10-jgalea
Shared resources at \\z10-jgalea
Share name Type Used as Comment
certs Disk certificates
media Disk media
removable_SDCARD Disk removable_media_SDCARD
I tried a number of times to use this and was completely unsuccessful at getting it to work. From Windows 8 and Server 2008R2.
I eventually discovered that inside settings, Media Sharing there are list of allowed devices. Deny by default was there and I needed to permit the device. Oddly the message it gives back is not about permission denied so it was no help finding the problem. I simply stumbled upon the solution. Once I had that sorted it was a simple command:
net use p: \\z10-jgalea\removable_SDCARD /user:BlackBerry
Or connect to it using the network browser of Windows.
I was able to get 2-3MB/s with this method.
I was able to get AndFTP from Android side loaded and was able to get about 2MB/s off a local FTP server. Comparable to speeds I get on Android although I have seen as high as 3MB/s. Files dropped on the device this way are immediately visible to Native BB apps so this is a viable option too. Convenient, but slow of course.
If your wondering why I spend so much time exploring all this, my phone is also a media device. I use it for listening to music, and watching videos on the Go. So being able to quickly and efficiently get files onto it are essential. This is one of the reasons why I hate iOS devices. I hate iTunes.
Video playback on the device seems very good including support for MP4, DIVX/XVID however MKVs didn’t work.
The Z10 is suppose to properly support DLNA and there are settings for “play on” inside the music, video, pictures apps but I couldn’t get it to find any of the devices on my network (including Windows 8 devices, and Android devices). Those devices however did see the Z10 content (once sharing was enabled and the device permitted). So unfortunately only half of the way there.
Blackberry Link software seems Ok. You can use it to backup/restore your phone, update firmware (oddly I had Link tell me an update was available for my Z10 but the update it wanted to install was the same that was already on the device, and the device itself did not show an update?) manage content (Music/Videos etc), sync contacts etc. It works ok. And the Z10 can even connect to link wirelessly.
By default (once link is loaded) when you plug your BB into your PC you see two drives (one for the internal storage and one for the SD) card passed to your PC. Looking closer what you see is even when plugged into USB these are mounted as network file shares.
Like most new smartphones you can use this to tether in a variety of different ways. Through bluetooth you can connect a device for tethering. To do this you have enable internet tethering (in the network connection, settings menu) and then pair the device. Bluetooth is limited in speed (about 1MB/s) but does save phone power.
You can also tether over USB. This is faster than Bluetooth and offers the added bonus of keeping your phone charged (from your computer) but of course has a cable attached. By the way the minute you start internet tethering BlackBerry link starts complaining about the connection to the Z10 being broken. Even asks if you want to remove it or reload it. Dumb. This could easily confuse a techno peasant
Last up is portable hotspot. It uses WIFI to connect. Its faster but takes more power from the phone. To enable that go into settings, mobile hotspot and set it up. You will need to turn off internet tethering to use mobile hotspot. The two can’t co-exist. Why blackberry didn’t put all three of these under one menu is beyond me. Seems obvious. Whatever, minor nit. I did find as I was bouncing around the various tethering options I found the BB became a little unstable. I had to reboot the phone and the computer to resolve these. I am assuming this is initial setup nonsense.
Web Browsing on the Z10 is a pleasant experience. It uses a browser very similar to Android and iOS. Panning and zooming is super smooth. I do miss the ability to have the bookmarks syncd with my desktop like I have on Android with Chrome.
The LTE speeds on the Z10 are good. It really is nice to have LTE back. My S3 was the international one which was non LTE. All in all the radio on the Z10 seems rock solid.
The onscreen keyboard on the Z10 is quite different. Auto correct works ok, look ahead prediction I find is kind of small and hard to see. The corrections/predictions can be selected by flicking them upward. It takes some getting use to but can be reasonably efficient. So far I would have to say even after a short time I am getting quicker with it, and already liking it better than Androids keyboards, even my beloved Swiftkey! I do miss swype though. I had gotten quite use to it. I still find myself trying it on the Z10 Funny cause at first I didn’t find swype came naturally.
Blackberry have made it easy to turn data off on the device (from settings, Network connections, Mobile network data services) but there is no count of data transferred. I also don’t see a setting that would keep network data on but stop syncing email (for power savings for example).
I had worked out Camera interoperability (taking pictures with a real camera and having them available to upload etc on the go using the phone) on Android. I had a number of options from USB OTG to an Eye-FI card. Sadly none of these will work. The only option left is to remove the uSD card from the camera and insert it into the Z10. This makes me a little nervous because there is no safe remove option on the Z10 and I am concerned this will eventually corrupt the card. After a bunch of messing around including manually setting up the Eye-FI card’s WIFI connection to the phone I was able to get the WIFI card working with a side loaded Android app! Woohoo!
From a VOIP point of view there are numerous choices all that seem to work well on initial testing. Sip.FM I have working for both incoming and outgoing with my VOIP provider Anveo.com. Skype out works well as well although has been a bit flakey. Lastly there is always BBM Voice or video (to other BBM users).
Accessories can make a gadget more fun! I bought two official Blackberry cases from Amazon:
One is a pouch for protection in the pocket. The other is a swivel belt clip. I have to say I don’t like either. The pouch is so tight it’s tough to get it out of. And it feels like your going to scratch the screen. The other is the swivel belt. This one is clumsy to get the device in and out of and I just feel like I am going to drop it. And the flap feels like it’s going to scratch the screen. Which I know it won’t. Both devices have built in magnets that allow the device to auto lock/unlock. I also found a car holder on Amazon for it.
I’ve also see a few docks for the device (I haven’t bought one as yet). The docks are problematic. The jacks for the device are on the side. So the docks end up laying the device on it’s side. Problem is there are any number of parts of BB10 that do not rotate with the device and then you get side screens like this one. This includes the lock/unlock screen. Home screen, apps screen etc. You find yourself titling your head while you navigate. Once in programs the rotate works fine. But then the device locks on you (since there is no stay awake setting) and your back tilting your head again
Battery life is like any device. Active power really varies with how much you use it. You can smoke the battery on this device pretty quickly. Watching movies take there toll, and games can always be hard on a battery. 10-14 hours of battery life seems about what it gets on average. I would consider this on par with my S2/S3. For comparison checkout my article on my S2.
Standby battery life is much easier to measure. I leave the device idle doing as little to nothing as possible.
On a LTE (based on just under 11 hours of data) I project a standby battery life of 44 hours. This is about on par with my S2 at 46 hours. I tried the same test with WIFI on but not connected to anything and the data was within the error of the data, so it makes in little to no difference to leave WIFI on all the time.
Dial this down to 4G and this number goes up to 68 hours of standby life or a savings of 35% (compared to LTE) Vs 69 on my S2.
Turn on WIFI (so it doesn’t use the cell network for data) and you get 75 hours of standby life or a savings of 41% vs 112 on my S2.
Turn off data and leave the phone on LTE and you get a standby time of 130 hours of projected standby time or a savings of 66% vs 122 on my S2. Of course cutting off data also means the programs have little to nothing to do!
Lastly I dialed the network down to 2G (which is dead slow by the way) and get a puzzling 64 hours of projected standby time Vs 115 on my S2. This number is odd but I left the phone for over 16 hours so the data point is good. But it basically tells you there is no point ratcheting the data speed below 4G.
For your reference network speeds:
GSM also called Edge or 2G theoretical 220 Kb/s actual around 56-100K
4G/3G also called UTMS theoretical 21 Mb/s actual 3-7 Mb/s from what I have seen/heard
LTE theoretical 75 Mb/s actual 21-55 from what I have heard/seen
So comparing these two devices what you is very similar battery life on standby. What you also see is if you compare dialing down from LTE to 4G the savings are relatively the same on these two devices. As is the savings when you turn off data. The WIFI standby battery life for the berry isn’t as good as the S2, not sure why.
Of course once the battery is dead it comes time to recharge the battery. Reminiscent of an iPhone of you let the battery die down to the point where it turns off the phone you will have to wait about 10-15 minutes once you plug it in to use the phone again. And when it comes back on it’s set in the same mode as it was when it powered off. So you get home after a long day, your battery is completely dead. You plug it in and have to wait 15 minutes before you get to go to bed otherwise it will power itself on, be in sound mode and wake you up after you’ve fallen asleep when an email comes in. Or god forbid if you have an emergency, well surely you can wait 15 minutes for your phone to get enough juice to even turn on? I don’t get this one at all.
A total recharge from completely dead off the stock charger (750ma) comes in at 3 hours. I tried a higher current charger (my Samsung tablet 2A charger) and brought the time down a little to 2.6 hours. There is a BlackBerry premium charger that BlackBerry say “Charge your BlackBerry smartphone up to twice as fast with the BlackBerry® Premium Charger” I bought one and it brought charging down a little to 2.6 (same as the Samsung). A far cry from the advertised twice as fast. Don’t bother buying one. It isn’t worth it. Off USB (your computer) it would take 4 hours and 22 mins to charge from completely dead.
The overall feel of this device is smooth and elegant. Particularly with native apps. The Z10 is smoother than either the S2/S3, but not quite as immediate as the Nexus 4 or an iphone. The device is solid and reliable on the cell network and bluetooth. I would put the overall reliability on the Z10 above my S2 and S3.
Add in Android apps and this device is a solid contender. I really do like this device and am suitably impressed. Originally I thought I would get the device write the review and sell it. I think now I will sell my S3 and stick on the Z10. I’d love to play with a Q10/Q5. BB10 really is an even better platform for Android than Android!
So what have I given up on the Z10? Bluetooth heart rate support. Sudoku! And XBMC (Which I rarely if ever used especially since I bought my Windows tablet).
What have I gained? Stability, reliability and overall better performance. Oddly even compared to my Quad core S3 I9300 the Z10 is smoother faster and just doesn’t have these irritating pauses I have always found on Android. This coming from someone that could easily be called an Android FanBoy!
My app mix ends up being a blend of stuff from AppWorld as well as apps I have side loaded.
Messaging – BBM (built in) Google Talk, Windows Live and Skype Preview (still a little buggy, seems like an android port).
Social Media – LinkedIn in, Facebook and Foursquare all native apps. I’ve side loaded Yelp, Meetup and Living Social
Weather – The Weather Network has rewritten the app for BB10.
Games – Odesys: Spider Solitare, Solitare and Freecell (all native apps, no idea why they didn’t just make this one app and select which you wanna play) and I have side loaded Original Yacht, Jewels, and Word Scramble free.
Transit – Go Mobile (from Go Transit) will not run so I have moved to the web based GoTracker.com and added Bookmarks for my stations. Rocket Man handles TTC and I have side loaded Mississauga Bus schedule
News – CNN, Bloomberg, CBC News all have native BB apps
SIP.FM – Native VOIP client. Works well and is well integrated into the BB contacts
BX Battery info , Sound hound (Sadly no Shazam for BB10), Kindle (ebook reader), 2X (RDP client), RunGPS (GPS based exercise tracking, sadly no Heart rate monitor support),
Others – Side loaded: Alcodroid free, AndFTP free, TorrentFU, Radio Thermostat, SpeedTest, Kiijii, and Ski Report
Here are the converted bars I got working.
Special thanks go out to Jeff Bouganim my train buddy. He has been instrumental in helping me figure out the ins and out of the Z10 much faster than I would have on my own!
My friend Lance bought an Ouya and pried it out of his wife’s hands long enough to let me review it. Thanks Lance. Sorry for the marital strife
The Ouya is a Kickstarter (crowd funded) box that is aimed at playing games. It is a heavily skinned android. It’s so heavily skinned that the fact it is Android is pretty much irrelevant. It has it’s own market place and only allows programs in that are properly supported and working on the Ouya.
Let’s start with physicals. The device is an uber small box that is very nicely designed. It is so small it could fit anywhere. While there is a fan in it the device is pretty much silent. When you look at the way the fan is located in the case it sure seems like an after thought. The fan will spend most of the time fighting itself because there is no clear path for the air to come in, pick up heat and go out.
The cube has a U shape to the bottom of it and looks nice. It’s so small it will easily be missed. There’s no infra red so basically this device can be hidden too. There is only one button and one light on the unit and they are on the top. This is it’s power button. On the back are a wired Ethernet port (necessary if this is going to stream hi def movies), a full size HDMI port, a USB host as well as a micro USB OTG port. Lastly a barrel shaped power port. The power adapter is quite small. and delivers 12V 1.5A so 18 watts. The device does get warm when pushed but not outrageously warm. My WDLX get’s warmer. I’m not sure why they opted for a micro USB OTG port rather than a second USB port. But a micro USB OTG cable is cheap enough so who cares.
Powering this thing on is uber fast. From powered off to up is a mere 35 seconds with the first chirp out of it coming at 30 seconds. Impressive and helps to reward you to power it off when not in use. There doesn’t seem to be any power management within the Ouya (or not by default) but it does put the screen to sleep.
When it first comes up (and you can only power it on by pressing the button on the top of the unit, an oversight IMHO) you are greeted by a menu that allows you to choose from Play/Discover/Make or Manage. As I mentioned heavily skinned. They included a power off on the menu but forgot to include a reboot. So if you need to reboot it you have to power if off, get off the couch and power it back on. Another clumsy over sight that can easily be fixed in software.
You can quickly see the focus of this device is games. According to Lance to even start this puppy up you need to give it a credit card. The Ouya marketplace only allows you to pay for things by credit card. No Paypal option. Only approved and working programs are allowed in the Ouya marketplace. Some Android games have been rewrritten for the Ouya to support unique hardware like the game controller. Games like Stupid Zombies etc.
The number one problem with playing games on PCs and Android is the lack of a game controller. The Ouya comes with one. And a pretty good one too. It comes with not one, not two but three different ways of controlling it (two joysticks and one D-pad). Not to mention a myriad of buttons. And this comes the first rub. The buttons are completely inconsistent amongst aps. So I find myself pressing a bunch of buttons until one does something. It’s maddening. I suppose given enough time you can get use to it. Given enough time I might get use to the dentist chair but this isn’t something I’m working towards. There’s even a virtual mouse on the controller. The controller is bluetooth and you can add additional ones at a price $49 a pop. The controllers are well built and solid.
XBMC has been working and have now released a formal XBMC for the Ouya in the marketplace. XBMC works quite well on this device and movie playback even from network shares (using the wired Ethernet) worked well. Surprisingly well in fact. Initially scanning directories for content, as well as loading the database of already scanning content does require some patience as it is slow. Probably the slowest I’ve see to date.
And now we are onto the next rub. Your using a game controller to control movies. I tried my Windows Media center remote … no joy. And so far I don’t see another option. Controlling movies with a game controller is clumsy at best.
There’s a web browser (Chrome) you can add in, and paging up and down works well and is smooth but you really need a mouse and keyboard to make this even remotely useful.
So in the end, you have to decide if what you really want is just a game console? If so this is an inexpensive, flexible one. If your looking for a media player as well, until the remote control options improve I’d look elsewhere.
There was an old song from the 80′s from Thomas Dobly … at one point it says something like as a world renowned scientist I was surprised when she blinded me with science … Well as an IT professional I had an experience I felt I just had to share.
I was working away on my Samsung Windows Tablet when up pops a message saying FlashUtil_ActiveX is being asked to run (from a web site) and is not signed, did I want to run it. It came up over and over again. Doing some digging it looked to me like my system had contracted a virus and got it’s way right through Windows 8 defender. In spite of being patched. Grrr. I must say in all my years of computing I’ve only occasionally (about 3 times) personally encountered viruses. I’ve had lots of them blocked. One of the things that always troubled me was that I was unable to get my tablet backed up. I haven’t been able to find a way to boot from a USB device (CDROM or flash drive) and create a backup of it. The UEFI bios only allows properly signed and approved OS’s to boot. So tools like BartPE, WinPE etc won’t boot and are 100% ignored. And even those that are approved aren’t obvious for how to get them to boot. One of the troubling things I ended up learning was that it’s not going to be easy (if it’s possible at all) to install a different OS (say Linux) on this tablet. To boot from an approved USB device such as a Win 8 recovery drive you have to get into the UEFI settings by pressing and holding F2 at boot time. Now if you don’t have the keyboard option you will need a USB keyboard. Then go into security settings and disable Secure boot. If the USB device you are trying to boot from is properly supported then it will then show up on the exit screen under Boot override (if it was plugged in at power on). Then you can boot from a USB device. I was able to get it to boot to a Windows 8 recovery disk as well as a Win 8.1 preview disk. Confusing and limiting.
So after reading about this virus (a trojan it seems) I decided I needed to fix my tablet.
It turns out Windows 8 has built in some options (just search on recovery) to help you rebuild your PC. So the first and least destructive of the options is called refresh. It keeps your files, refreshes windows, removes desktop installed aps, but keeps Metro aps. Sounds like a reasonable course of action. So I had previously known about Windows Resource Protection which attempts to monitor and protect Windows itself (although in this case it clearly failed). So they provide a tool call sfc (system file checker) which scans your system, looks at system files and tells you if any are corrupt. It can also do some cleaning. But do reading and try and find out what to do it if fails? For me after a refresh sfc failed with hundreds of files reporting as being corrupted. I read a number of articles about what to do next none of which helped me. So I was left assuming the system was still compromised.
So next up in Windows recovery options is reinstall. This is suppose to put the PC back to factory defaults. Well I did this and a bunch of the preinstalled aps were gone, so while it did a reinstall it wasn’t back to factory original. Grr. sfc now passes. So I start reinstalling everything. No small task. Every now and then running an SFC, and low and behold boom, sfc starts failing again. So I think, hmm it’s been reinfected. Grrr. So I think ok, I will try and create system restore points I can revert to in the process. Reinstall again … sfc fails again, revert back and sfc still fails grrr. Reinstall again, sfc passes, start the rebuild process etc. I’m about to give up so I call Samsung and ask for a recovery image to get my PC back to factory original. Nope doesn’t exist. Ship it back to us and wait up to 21 business days and we will get it back to you? WTF. No cost fortunately but still that’s a HUGE amount of time to be without my main machine.
I also decide to pro-actively check my set top PC (also running Win 8) and sure enough it fails SFC. I start to rebuild it.
So I start to do some more reading and what do I find out? Well it turns out a Microsoft fix has resulted in sfc reporting failures. So it turns out the week I have been spending rebuilding was unnecessary. Sure I had to refresh once to get rid of the virus, and sure I’m not thrilled about defender totally allowing this virus through (yes I was patched and up to date) but this was one HUGE waste of time.
I did use the time to start looking into some Anti Virus options. I found Av-Test that allows you to compare how good anti virus programs are (albeit in an artificial environment).
Hope this helps you learn from my fiasco … grrrrrrrrrrrr.
One of the things missing from a number of bluetooth headsets is the ability of it to tell the phone (and the phone to display) the status of the battery on the headset. This ap is a simple solution to that problem. What it does is simply count how long the headset is connected. It then displays the amount of battery life left based on what you tell it is the battery life of the headset. That’s about it. Simple and effective. Checkout the ap on the playstore.
3CX has a number of apps in the market place so I did some exploring. I was looking for a remote control ap that would allow me to text message from my phone using my computer.
3CX Mobile device manager is an ap that has a back end web based portal that allows management services to a remote device or devices. You can lock it, wipe it, locate it, push aps to it. The ap takes over as an administrator to the device so if you decide to uninstall it it’s a little complicated. While I found the feature list impressive especially for small businesses with a number of devices to manage I found it not something I need.
3CX Remote Android Desktop is more along the lines of what I was looking for. I end up with the need to text message (SMS) folks and having to endure an onscreen keyboard when I am sitting behind a computer is frustrating. Aps like Samsung Kies have the limitation that they don’t allow you to use the features when tethered. And Kies offer lots of promise but doesn’t live up to it’s potential. I wish Samsung would focus on Kies and get it right and more convenient. This ap has no such limitation. Once the server is started on the phone you hit the web site with any browser. From there you can completely remotely control your phone if it’s rooted. Even if it’s not rooted you can do file management (including the ability to copy files on and off the phone), send SMS texts, use the camera, and see lots of info about the phone including it’s location. This ap works very well. If there is any limitation it’s that it only works while your on WIFI. But that limitation comes from the fact that the cell phone provider seems to block it. So not the fault of the ap. The layout of the SMS ap is threaded and easy to see and work with. Integration with the contact manager is good allowing you to type new messages to contacts. If there’s a thumbnail with the contact that shows up too. Desktop notifications nicely show you when a message has come in as well as if the phone is ringing. So all in all quite nice. https (encrypted) is not supported.
Lastly is Droid desktop. Now why they have two so similar products is beyond me. They are a little different in functionality. This one offers the ability to remotely control your phone (if you have root), ability to text message, file management, access to your pictures (took a while to come up), access to your camera (but your phone needs to on and unlocked, Remote Access Desktop does not have that limitation), and also adds a WIFI keyboard. The WIFI keyboard requires you to select it as your input device and then you can type happily on your PC keyboard into Any Android ap! The unique feature this ap has over Remote access desktop is what it calls bridge mode. In bridge mode you get around the blocking your cell provider can put in place. You hit a web site enter your email address and password and you have access to your phones functions even while on the cell network Vs the WIFI limitation of Remote Android Desktop. I prefer the layout of the messaging of Reote Android desktop, the layout just seems clearer.
Here’s the bridge mode logon (if you enable it). As I am sure you can imagine since it is going through the cell network rather than a local LAN or USB connection it is noticeably slower. Even to notice new messages.
https (encrypted) is supported.
I’ve tried a number of other aps to allow you to use your PC to send text messages from your phone, these two work the best.
What I would REALLY like is if they combined these two products into one and gave the best of both!
I recently lost my all time favorite stereo Bluetooth headset a Samsung HS3000. So I was looking for an inexpensive replacement and saw this one an iKross BT19 on Amazon for $22 plus shipping so I decided to give it a whirl. They advertise it as usable also audio receiver for your home stereo. Let`s start with physicals. The device is small and light. On the front are large buttons for volume up and down, next and previous song. There`s what they call a multi function button that acts as power on, power off, play and pause as well as bringing up the voice activation on the phone. The device has a standard 3.5mm audio jack allowing you to use any headphones. The device came with a pair of in ear headphones, but for whatever reason they never fit well in my ear. The option to use my own standard headset is a must for me. The charge port is a standard microUSB which I applaud. It came with a standard USB to microUSB cable to allow you to charge it on any computer. It did not come with an AC adapter. It also came with a 3.5mm audio cable to allow you to plug it into a car or home stereo. All in all it comes with a reasonable amount of stuff to allow you to be able to use it.
The buttons have a nice back lighting and flash while connected. The center light stays on solid while being charged, and then the outer lights stay on when fully charged. The front of the device has a high quality shiny finish but I wonder how durable it might be. Seems like it MIGHT be a scratch magnet.
The placement of the power button is well done in that it won`t be accidentally pushed. When it does power on it beeps nicely to inidicate it`s power on. It also beeps nicely when it powers off.
Pairing the phone was simple and easy on my Samsung S3. Pressing and holding the MFP put it in pairing mode.
They advertise this as a possible audio gateway for the home. This would require two things. First of all it needs to work while it is being charged which it does. And second, it needs to stay on and not power off when not connected. This one is a miss. If it is not connected for a period of time (5-10 minutes) it powers off. So if you want to use it in the home you have to manually power it on. Too bad.
Once connected it works well and has good volume and quality.
When the battery is getting low the device beeps to let you know, but unfortunately continues beeping so frequently it is unusable once it gets to this state. It charges back up quickly. The spec says 4.5 hours of use and I got close to 5.25 hours.
I have experienced an issue with streaming music to bluetooth headsets before. Imagine someone putting there hand on a turn table while a record is spinning. The pitch of the music would vary. I have had some head sets do this. In discussing this with friends it seems this might be caused by bluetooth data loss. On the Smasung HS3000 I never had this happen. On my Jabra 320 it was awful. It happened so much that at times it would make me nauseas. I experienced it a bit with this one. Oddly most noticeable as the battery was dieing. I also found it didn’t want to power back up when the battery was dead, even when plugged into an AC adapter, again an obstacle if your trying to use this as a home audio gateway.
So in the end this is a pretty good product for the price.
- BB 10.2.1.1055 On Z10
- What’s new in Blackberry 10.2
- Android compatibility on BlackBerry 10, a deep dive
- Blackberry OS 10.2 update process
- Blackberry Z10 review
- Ouya (mini) review
- How to waste a WHOLE bunch of time and have no fun in the process with Windows 8
- Bluetooth headset battery
- iKross BT19 stereo bluetooth adapter
- Current widget ap
- Travelling with gadgets blog