BlackBerry10 is an amazing OS built from the ground up. It’s not the number of apps available that makes it so incredible, but the important things it can do with out the need for third party apps; due to the robust functionality that is “baked in.” We all know the “app-gap” has been closed anyway. Many BBRY users have their app needs met from BBWorld and those that don’t, have access to 95%+ of the Android app world via the pre-installed Amazon app store or via Snap, but this is the subject of many other UTB posts. What makes BB10 so awesome are the tons of baked-in features we, #TeamBlackBerry take for granted, but are a luxury or outright unavailable on other platforms. This article will focus on the most talked about feature, one that is unique only to BlackBerry10; the HUB. This post is not strictly a “how to,” but will provide some good info for newer BB10 users.
If you are a typical BlackBerry user, you already know that the HUB is like the unified inbox from the BBOS days, but on steroids. For those of you who are new to BB10 or are still suffering the plague of other platforms, the HUB is a one stop shop for all your messaging needs: work email, personal email, SMS, MMS, BBM, and social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. are all found in the HUB. With the HUB, there’s no need to open individual apps to stay up to date or compose messages, status updates, share media, etc.
This post will focus in part, on an often overlooked, but incredibly useful feature of the HUB and BB10; managing attachments. If you are using iOS or Android, you will know it’s a pain to check individual apps for each account, let alone attach files. At the most, one can attach files from the phone memory or SD card, and on iOS, one cannot even attach a file when replying to an email. LOL. (Sorry Sheeple) Most of the functionality discussed here has been available since BB10.0, but this post is based on BB10.3.1.1151, so there may be some differences in earlier OS versions to what is described here.
The picture above depicts the options available when attaching files to an email from your email account. A similar menu is available for SMS and BBM attachments, except that with SMS and BBM, you have the option of attaching your location and voice notes and you do not have the option for HUB attachments. There are a couple things to consider regarding attachments and BB10:
- Essentially, when you’re in an email account, you have the “HUB attachment” option that you do not have from BBM, SMS or other messaging applications like Facebook, etc. Thus, if you are in BBM or SMS and want to share a file of any kind that you know is somewhere in your HUB but has not been saved on your device, SD card, cloud account or PC, you will have to go find it in the HUB attachments view and then share it from there or save it before sharing it via BBM, SMS or other messaging app.
- Anything that has been stored on your device, SD card, cloud storage, or PC, is available via the file manager on your device. So you can always go directly to “file” whenever making an attachment and find anything you’re looking for in any of these sources, via the BB10 file manager.
When attaching files to an email, the OS provides the user with the following options.
Clicking this option will take the user to a unified view of all pictures on the device and media card. If you wish to choose a picture from some other source like a cloud service, you can do so by clicking the menu button on the lower left, which will take you to the file manager view. From here, you are free to choose any storage source: device, SD card, PC, or cloud service like OneDrive, Box and Drop box.
Just like the picture option, selecting the video option will give the user the default view of all videos on the phone memory and SD Card. Selecting the menu button will offer you several other sources of video content as explained above.
Selecting audio will give you the same options described above, only audio files will be shown in the first view.
Selecting contact will allow you to attach contact cards from the phone address book. The BB10 contacts application integrates all accounts (If the user has given the permission to do so) and duplicate contacts are merged into one. The contacts app also pulls information from a contact’s social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and will show you details taken from the contact’s social network profiles and recent status updates from those social networks.
By clicking this option, the email will attach a calendar invite to the email without leaving the compose screen. Date and time can be set according to local times any where in the world and reminders, address, conference call bridge details, etc., can be added right from this screen. BB10 has a genius feature built in called ‘invocation framework.’ In layman’s terms, apps can invoke other apps with out leaving the current app, which leaves the app being invoked still accessible for other things, basically pushing multitasking beyond the 8 active frames + 1 HUB. Amazing isn’t it!?!
Select this option to attach word, excel, PDF, or Zip files (Yes BB10 can Zip and Unzip files without third party apps.), from any where in the phone, SD card, cloud or PC. The PC option is really cool and something iOS users can only salivate over. If you have Link installed on your PC and have your device selected in the Link remote file access (RFA) setting, and your PC is turned on and connected to the web, you can see and share all the files on your PC from your device. How amazing is this!? Remember to go to settings – device connections – use mobile network, if you want to use RFA over your carrier network rather than only via WiFi.
7. Hub attachment:
This is a little gem baked into the OS. Many of the above attachment options are available on competing platforms via third party apps. How trust worthy those third party apps are, is a debate for another day, BUT, the catch is, for iOS or Android users to attach a file, the file has to be downloaded and stored somewhere either to device memory, SD card or cloud storage. With BB10 it doesn’t have to be! Files from another email, or even another email account, can be attached to new/replied/forwarded emails. Genius huh!?!? I personally find this option a God send. It saves tons of time especially during busy days. This is something only a desktop email client like Outlook can do and BB10 does it rather effortlessly.
The HUB isn’t just all about attachments. Adding email accounts on BB10 is as easy as it can get. And the way they sync and perform is amazing. I recently set up IMAP for work email on my Surface Pro3 Outlook client, and since then the search functionality doesn’t work. It’s really a pain to search for old emails or attachments. Luckily I have BB10. I type the long emails on my surface when at my desk and then a draft immediately shows up on my phone. I open the draft on the phone and use the hub attachments option to search for files in my email (Which, BTW, aren’t even saved on my phone or any of my other storage options) and attach them to the draft email and boom!….sent. This ability to attach files from other emails without even storing them on an SD card, phone memory, or the like is pure genius. I doubt any other mobile platform will be able to do this without a significant recoding of their OS.
The customizability of the HUB is another thing that needs to be mentioned. Below is what you see when you select menu – settings from the HUB.
The above list represents many little things that make the entire user experience amazing. I’ve made a list of few things I appreciate:
1. Re-arranging accounts
2. Color coding for easy reference
3. Prompt to delete from phone and/or server
4. Customizable pinch feature for unread or flagged messages, meeting invites, drafts, sent messages and level 1 messages
5. HUB Instant actions (For 10.3 and above)
6. Priority HUB
7. Recent contacts management (For 10.3.1 and above)
The list goes on….
There are 100’s of these little things that we, #TeamBlackBerry, take for granted, which aren’t available on other platforms. They may require the use of potentially unsafe third party apps to achieve, or sometimes are simply unavailable. This post is just the tip of the iceberg. BB10 is an extremely well thought out OS and will only continue to get better from here.
Please do sound off in the comments if I missed some thing! It would be interesting to know in what other ways #TeamBlackBerry takes advantage of the HUB!