As Blackberry users, we’re pretty used to being denigrated by users of ‘more robust’ ecosytems… they delightly crow: you BlackBerrians are victims of the dreaded ‘app gap’. Oh no, you don’t have the latest ‘must have’ mobile app available for download, even if you don’t really need it or even open it again after first download. It’s the fact that you could if you wanted to.
Never mind that we can usually end run around through the browser, load Android apps or sideload if we really have to have something. Yes, there are limitations, but in the 3 years of my BB10 use (April 2013 for my BlackBerry Z10 to January 2015 for Passport to today.) there have only been a couple of times I’ve been unable to get an app to run, and it was never something I needed, just something I wanted to try.
However, there are 2 apps I always use at my work, the TimeClockPlus app for clocking into and out of jobs on the road and our ERP software mobile app. The latter one is a new offering from the ERP provider which I have been working with the programmers a bit in testing features with. It is only available for one platform: Android. It loads and runs fine on my Z10 and Passport (sorry Playbook… no luck). There are no plans for development on any other mobile platform, as stated by the company, which is fine by me, as I don’t have anyone else asking for mobile access to our inventory, rental and contract software. It runs great on the Passport, and there are new features on every new version rollout. I find it extremely useful.
The first app, TimeClockPlus, is used by all our shop employees, service techs and some office staff. They’ve had Apple and Android support since 2009 and supported BlackBerry up to OS 7.1. Fortunately, the Android version works perfectly on BB10 devices, and because of it, I didn’t need a BlackBerry specific version. However, I’m in charge of getting everyone’s TimeClockPlus app running on whatever phone they choose, and an interesting development has occurred in the last year. When iOS 8 was released, users upgraded (some unwittingly, as they had the auto update pushed out) the TimeClockPlus app was broken. Nobody could do mobile clock in-out on their upgraded iPhones. I called the tech support and the people were great… they knew about the problem and were sending me a test patch to get the users working again as the Apple App store was taking their time getting the updated app approved for download. Now the same thing has happened again with iOS 9.3… users have the app broken again. This time, however, tech support says they have no plans for an iOS upgrade… but told me their Android app is current and works.
So, I’ve told our employees that if they upgrade to iOS 9.3, the mobile app is gone. They can still clock in through our network, but not on an upgraded iPhone. Android and Blackberry have no problems, even an old 9800 Bold still connects fine to my TimeClockPlus SQL server. Sucks to be an upgraded Apple user…
So the two major pieces of software we use don’t support iOS… Cupertino: you have an app gap.