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BB_Lifestyle_passport

It’s no secret, we’re addicted to our smartphones. We tweet, message, post, email, chat, call, and store our lives on these devices. With all this data, comes the need for even more devices including: tablets, laptops, desktops, hybrids, and more. Luckily, through the power of the cloud, and other internet-based services, our data carries over rather seamlessly across all of our devices. If you use an Apple device, you’re in the Apple ecosystem, to ensure your workflow isn’t interrupted as you go from iPhone, to iPad, to iMac, and back again. This setup is relatively the same across Android, and Windows Phone in their respective ecosystems, and you can always use cross-platform third-party apps when jumping from ecosystem to ecosystem. This passive transfer of data and account information is not only helpful, but it’s also productive, and who else is better at productivity than BlackBerry.

If you’re a BlackBerry user, or have been following the company for the past while, you know that BlackBerry is not currently in the tablet, or wearable market. Unlike their competitors in the mobile space, BlackBerry has focused their mobile devices towards the BlackBerry smartphone and its variety of hardware variants. How then, can BlackBerry fit into the modern mobile landscape? If you want a tablet, wearable, or any other device you’ll be leaving the ecosystem. Luckily, this is not the case.

Let’s take a look at how my BlackBerry Passport plugs into my mobile lifestyle…

Passport_Topple

First up is email, contacts, and calendar. Unlike a lot of people who store their contacts locally, or on their SIM, I leave it all to Microsoft. I store all my contacts on my Microsoft Account, and my main email accounts are all on outlook.com. Just by logging into my Microsoft Account on my Passport, I’m ready to contact people through SMS, email, or a phone call. On top of that, I have all my calendars with me wherever I go, so I can see what I have coming up and can easily add appointments as I see fit. As an added bonus, managing my Microsoft account in this way allows me to log into other devices and have similar results in a matter of seconds. Every one of my compatible devices sync right away, so I’m not left with pieces of data missing, or having contact information suddenly out of reach.

Second is file management. I’m an Office 365 subscriber, which comes with 1TB of OneDrive space and I certainly take advantage of this. I have OneDrive plugged into all of my computers, tablets, my Xbox One, and my Passport. Thanks to the ‘Connect to OneDrive’ app, my OneDrive files plug directly into the BlackBerry 10 File Manager. This allows me to access all my files that I’ve saved to OneDrive, and move them in and out of the cloud as I see fit. In addition, I also backup any photos I take on my Passport automatically to OneDrive, when Wi-Fi is available. This ‘universal file storage’ allows me to not only access my data while on the go, but it also allows my work to flow from my BlackBerry, to any other device I have, and vice versa.

With file management comes organization. I utilize a few apps to keep me organized throughout my day including: Remember, Asana, and OneNote. Remember is the only native BB10 application out of the bunch, and it just so happens to be my most used. I use it, primarily, to jot down ideas for personal and professional projects. The best part is, is that I sync these to my Microsoft calendars so I can view and make changes to these ideas on other devices. OneNote is a Microsoft application that I use for the same purposes as Remember, however, I find Remember’s interface to be a lot smoother and easier to use, so OneNote gets very minimal use.  Asana is a task management platform that I use to organize large projects at work, and to communicate with my team members. For an Android app, it runs pretty well on my Passport, I just wish it didn’t need Google Play Services.

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The last thing on the list is social media, something that many people think BlackBerry 10 lacks. The main social networks I use are Twitter and Instagram, however, I keep Facebook around for occasional use. BlackBerry 10 offers their own unique Facebook and Twitter experiences through some native apps developed by BlackBerry themselves. Despite the negative feedback that these have received, I use both of them and don’t really have many complaints. This is a different story, however, when it comes to Instagram. There are a few native third-party solutions that are available in BlackBerry World, however, I tend to use the actual Instagram app (Android version) to keep up with the latest app features and APIs. Overall, social media on my Passport gets the job done, however, I would like to see a few more social networks, especially Instagram, see an official launch on the platform.

Since we’re talking about productivity, it would be a terrible shame to not mention BlackBerry Blend. While Blend doesn’t exactly run completely on your BlackBerry device, it is an amazing app that works across almost every mobile platform. By simply installing and setting up the BlackBerry Blend app on your PC or tablet, you’ll be able to access your BlackBerry wirelessly through Wi-Fi, or the mobile network. This includes your various calendars, files, and messages. This is a great application for keeping your workflow on your device of choice, without needing to pick up your BlackBerry every time there’s a new message. It can also be used as an email client alternative, if you’d rather not have a local email client on your various devices, essentially making your BlackBerry your ‘communication hub’.

Through the power of the cloud and various internet services, it’s easy to make the most out of any device and its respective ecosystem. The great thing is, is that all the apps and services I mentioned, minus Office 365, are absolutely free. If you haven’t started organizing your mobile life, this is a great time to start. Just because BlackBerry doesn’t have a full ecosystem with multiple hardware device types, doesn’t mean you’re BlackBerry device has to be left out in the cold.

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Matt Lawrence

Author Matt Lawrence

Graduate of a Computer Engineering Technology program, and overall geek. I've always had an interest in writing and video production, revolving around technology. I currently own and operate my own web development & design business, Digital Dynasty Design, and submit content here on BerryFlow. If you want to talk tech, comment on my articles, or use my Twitter - @mlproductions01

More posts by Matt Lawrence
  • Thank you for writing this! Enjoyed reading this and would love to see more articles expanding on this evolution of mobile communication, Matt:)

    • Matt L

      Thanks bud!

  • Jon raymonds

    Nice

  • Don

    Using gmail to sync contacts and calendars also works great. 1Mobile. Com app I use to download all the android apps, they all run Great.
    BlackBerry is truly the only phone to have as it is great software that runs everywhere.

  • Agung Prastyo

    BlackBerry needs more marketing. Lack of popularity may have made a lot of people do not realize what functions are available on Blackberry 10.

  • Christian

    I liked your article. My phone works also very nicely with Outlook. The functionality you mentioned are also well selected. As an aside I have a casatune music system and the interface is just fine offering 1 channels for each of my 5 zones. Anyway nice chat!

  • Busflyer

    Hey Matt, great write-up! I’ve wanted to utilise the Microsoft Exchange contacts feature too but I haven’t really got to it yet. All my contacts are saved locally on my Passport. Does it mean I have to manually save all my contacts onto MS Exchange to take advantage of this feature? Or is there a way I can sync my contact information automatically?

    • Matt L

      On email contacts (this doesn’t appear to work for any social media ones), you can select them and press the ‘copy to’ option, and select another account that you have synced to the phone. You can select multiple contacts as well.

      I have never tried this feature myself, so I can’t comment on how well it works, but hopefully it will work for you.

  • Syed Shaishad

    This is good that BlackBerry works great

  • Merritt Cluff

    Very nice article. We need to compare ideas like this. In fact BlackBerry should do much more thinking and optimising in some of these areas. I have the sense it is not. This is where Apple does well. I also use Onedrive as you do since I subscribe to Office 365. But for me it’s not so smooth. Lately I have been very dissatisfied with Office. I also find accessing files on Onedrive from my Passport takes long. My Internet upload speed also needs some work. What do you do for music?

    • Matt L

      Hopefully the newly released Office 2016 fixes your Office issues. I also notice that OneDrive access take a little while to load on the Passport, however, I have a lot of files and slower internet, so it is to be expected.

      In terms of music, I’m not a huge music listener, but I use Spotify. Otherwise, I listen to podcasts via the Podcast Addict app.

  • Kelvin Peña Raymond

    Great article, BlackBerry should gear their marketing towards making people aware of what they can do with the phones and ecosystem.

    • Matt L

      Thanks! I agree, BlackBerry needs more marketing. Their lack of popularity has probably made a lot of people unaware of what functionality is available on Blackberry 10.

  • Erhard S

    Well, I wonder how one can give up his privacy while putting all his data in clouds, where he has absolutely no and again no control what happens to his data.
    My life experience tells me that nothing and again nothing at all is for free in our world.
    Good luck to you. Do hope that you never will be unplugged.

    • Matt L

      Once synced, the devices cache/save the contact data and whatnot.

      I also don’t put anything super sensitive on the cloud, however, even sensitive accounts that need to be in the cloud (like a bank, for example), seem to inevitably get hacked.

  • Stu Linden

    I love this article, great work Matt!!!

    by the way , have you used the classic by blackberry?

    • Matt L

      Thanks Stu! I haven’t used the Classic, I opted for the Passport at my time of purchase. I had been using a Q10, wanted to try something bigger.

  • Frank DeLaRosa

    Wow, I never thought about using Outlook to store all my contacts. Not a bad idea.

    • Matt L

      It’s very helpful, and the BlackBerry 10 contacts app makes adding contacts to the outlook account of my choice, a breeze.

    • Copernic

      The only thing to avoid is using Whatsapp Android version. It creates a mess with your Outlook contact especially if you tick the option merge automatically in your BB10 device.
      What is missing in BB10 calendar with outlook is the category. Could be a real good feature.