Blend Is The Killer App

07571137-photo-blackberry-blend

BlackBerry is on the move, and they are moving fast in a most positive direction. The excellent and intuitive OS that is BB10 now stands at 10.3.0.XXXX after only 19 months since initial release of 10.0.

The handset portfolio is second to none with the likes of Z10, Q10, Q5, Z3, Z30, Porsche series, and now the Passport with the much anticipated Classic on the horizon.

The deal with Amazon for a 3rd party app store, the acquisition of Secusmart and Movirtu to solidify security and dual SIM features. I could go on because there’s LOTS of good news this year, but that’s not why we’re here today.

We are here for a killer app, and it is called BlackBerry Blend.

Blend is the natural extension of what was/is BlackBerry Bridge (for those with a Playbook tablet). But it goes way beyond that noble effort. Picture it as a “window” into your phone. It connects to your handset via either WiFi, or a USB connection.

Blend gives the PC/Mac/iPad/Android Tab user the ability to access and use multiple apps on your phone. Today, you are limited to the Passport, and the P9983. Soon all devices will have access to Blend when OS 10.3.1.XXXX drops. Let’s dive in…

Blend1

As you can see in the above picture, you have access to the Hub, BBM, SMS, Calendar, Contacts, and File manager. This shows my multiple messages today, along with a breakdown of the email accounts I have on my phone, the BBM messages from individuals and groups, and SMS messages as well. The middle shows my next Calendar event. The bottom shows the six things I have access to. Oh, I purposely cut off the bottom of the pictures because it shows the PIN of the handset you are connected to, but on the bottom right, it conveniently shows the current battery level/status of your phone. Cool!

The Hub
The Hub

Clicking on the Hub icon shows you all the email, BBM, and SMS accounts you have on your phone. Clicking on any of them shows that account. The killer here is that you can read and respond to any message, right there! Bear in mind that the Blend app does not use your phone’s “sig” in the reply, that’s blank. But what you are doing is replying from your phone… from your PC! Excellent! I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t have all my phone accounts on my PC, so here you go.

So much fun and efficiency!
So much fun and efficiency!

Like many of you, I get hundreds of BBM group and personal messages per day. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be replying to BBMs with all the emoticons available from my laptop. It is a killer app indeed! I have noticed that web links shown in BBM messages don’t open up a browser on your PC, but what you CAN do is highlight/CRTL-C for copy, and paste into your browser anyway. For some reason, right click/copy does not work.

BlendChan

 

Channels are well represented
Channels are well represented
The Gif Exchange is hilarious!
The Gif Exchange is hilarious!

Speaking of BBM, Channels are well represented within Blend. Like on the phone, you see Channels that are featured, but you also can see “My Channels”, the ones that you subscribe to. Clicking on a Channel like the Gif Exchange pictured above gives you the latest entries all animated simultaneously. It is quite the cool thing to view! Oh, and you get to click on an entry and leave a comment with emoticons too! It’s magical! Oops, sorry about that.

Calendar app
Calendar app

The Calendar portion of Blend Lets you view Daily, Weekly, or Monthly appointments, along with the ability to add and/or modify existing meetings.

Contacts. In this case my Facebook entries
Contacts. In this case my Facebook entries

Contacts are arranged rather nicely as well. You have access to “All, Favorites, Groups, BBM, Email (per account), LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and your SIM stored as well!

Files galore!
Files galore!

The Files option is incredible and powerful. You can manipulate/move/delete/add any file to and from any location on your handset and any location that your PC has access to including local and network drives. This is extremely powerful and convenient. Because your phone has access to your own PC through Link, this is also a file browser/utility for your own drives. As shown, the device, SD card, Cloud accounts, Music, Pictures, and Video are available.

Whew!

I’ve only scratched the surface here, and it is amazing. This is a killer app. I’ve used it for 6 days and it is still surprising me with features and benefits. Having this much access to my Passport from my laptop is fantastic. Having access to my laptop through Link is fabulous whilst on the road.

Like I said, BlackBerry has a winner here. At the minimum you are extending your handset battery life while communicating on the PC/tablet. The maximums are yet to be seen as this is the first iteration of what I see as a secure merging of mobile and desktop. It has already shown me benefits in efficiencies. And it’s fun too!

This is BlackBerry.

This is the future, in your hands now.

Run, do not walk #BacktoBlack

 

Canuckvoip

Dave Matthews here. I'm a phone guy by trade supplying VOIP systems for business and industry. BlackBerry devices, playing PRS guitars in my band, golf, and RC flight are my current passions.

  • Azensun

    Great comprehensive review! I’ve been really eager to try out Blend, and your write up has me prepared!
    To quote one of our fearless leaders,”Gimme my Passport!”

    • Canuckvoip

      Thanks Azensun,
      I hope 10.3.1.XXXX gets released soon so that all of BB nation feels the love of this killer app.

  • Anthony

    I agree. Blend is excellent.

    The only thing it’s missing is BBM Channels replies.

    And pictures aren’t sharp. :O

    • Canuckvoip

      True Anthony,
      You can post on a Channel, but not reply to an existing post… yet.
      And the pictures are a result of being compressed via the upload to the server which distorts your view on a PC. As usual, we will see improvements.

  • Brad

    Channels are amazing on Blend!

    • Canuckvoip

      It’s a veritable cornucopia of awesomeness!

  • rzanger

    I never did get mine to work. Just chalked it up to a windows/hp thing. I will fight that battle another day.

  • Gnomesane

    Nice overview, Canuckvoip. Blend is fantastic right out of the gate, and they obviously are going to update it and add more features and functionality. Besides being a carrot for Enterprise this will help Consumer retention within the BlackBerry platform as well. And it’s nice to see BlackBerry first out of the gate, with Apple Continuity not yet available and nothing really comparable on Android yet. I’ve waited a long time for Bridge like functionality to arrive on BB10, nice to see it in the flesh at last.

  • Gnomesane

    A nice unexpected bonus is that I can connect simultaneously to multiple devices (in my case desktop and tablet in different rooms). I had just assumed one connection at a time, happy to be wrong.

    Oh, and with support for devs to add Blend functionality, I’m hoping for even more. Be nice to see that bottom row of 6 icons grow…

    As you say, killer app, alongside the Hub.

  • Blackjack

    Something I always loved about bridge was keeping everything securely on your phone. This is bridge on steroids.

    This us the machine to machine interface that Thornton hinted at. It makes any machine a “dumb tablet” got your phone. The bigger picture. Computer on your hip, you can take it with you without a cloud.. It doesn’t matter if your screen is square, tall, whatever. You will mostly be accessing it on a larger machine.

  • Blackjack

    This will remove the wall between my phone and my PC. I find I have two different environments as it is. Now they will “blend “.

  • veeru789

    Great post Canuckvoip. I envy you. BTW you forgot to mention Z3 in the line up :p

    I have one doubt. Can I use the phone keyboard if say I want to type on an iPad like we could using bridge.
    Ok second one, can we use the play on feature to project a picture or video without touching the tablet / PC

    • Canuckvoip

      Oops! Added Z3 to the article, thanks Veeru.
      Playon doesn’t project to the PC/tablet. And no, using the phone keyboard as input is a no go as well.

  • bambinoitaliano

    Hahaha I’m home mostly. In the last few days I’ve been checking and responding my emails and BBM from my desk top. I don’t have to use the other mail services anymore. Blend is truly all in one communication centre.

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