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…
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.
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.