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11 Writers - 4425 Words - Ideas that Rock

This collective showcase brings together dozens of contributors from the BlackBerry community as we share our thoughts and prospects on what BlackBerry can do to deliver a better experience to their end users. Through BBM and email, we were able to amass our opinions and collect them here for you.
This confluence—a merger of our different thoughts streamed into one, represents some of the many avenues BlackBerry can still explore as they invest in building their future. With BlackBerry’s unique assets, there are a multitude of ways to execute on these ideas, and plenty of things we still want BlackBerry to deliver on.

Read more ideas BlackBerry users actually want implemented ↡

Better Utilize the Youth Demographic

By Lauren Kortbein
It doesn’t take much to capture a college student’s attention. We’re always looking for something to help us procrastinate on our homework, papers, projects, etc. By offering a fun and interactive event, college students are more likely to not only attend, but also become interested in the new BlackBerry 10 OS.

College students are an extremely effective group to market to; once we’ve been convinced that a product will benefit us in one way or another, we’re basically free marketing. Not only will we buy the product and show it off, we’ll also tell our friends on social media.

We always want the latest and greatest technology, and we’re often the first group to adopt new products. Personally, I’m extremely influenced by my friends, and I know other college students are the same way. I don’t like feeling left out of new technology, and if my friends have something, I often feel the need to have it too.

Because college students are so interested in new technology, a great way to get them involved would be to hold a BlackBerry 10 event on or around college campuses. Since BlackBerry 10 isn’t a well-known platform, this would be a great way to allow students to find out more about it in a laid back environment. The event could be something very similar to the “Power Tour” that BlackBerry recently brought to universities in the UAE.

In order to get students involved and interested in the event, they could have games, displays and of course, food. After talking to a few friends about what it would take to get them interested in attending a BlackBerry event, I learned most non-BlackBerry users are curious about how the new BB10 system operates, but they aren’t willing to go out of their way to find out things about it. Even if they did, the phones are hard to find, since most carriers don’t sell them in stores, and when they do, they often don’t have the phones set up or even ready to test.

At the BlackBerry events that would be held around college campuses, displays could be set up with BlackBerry 10 devices so that people could get a hands-on demonstration of the new OS, to show off the many features of these phones and how the OS interaction works. They could have Z30s hooked up to TVs via HDMI or Miracast with racing games being demonstrated. Q10s would provide a perfect opportunity for people to show off their typing speeds and try to beat their friends.

College students are a demographic that BlackBerry hasn’t really tapped into yet. By getting our attention on a larger scale and showing us that BB10 is an efficient, fun and new OS, BlackBerry is able to gain a fresh, loyal customer base.

Follow @LaurenKortbein she rocks!

BBM Group Ideas

By Geoffrey Lai
One of the biggest selling features of BBM is BBM Groups. It differentiates itself from other competitors by emphasizing the idea of collaboration and the creation of small communities among friends, families or colleagues. However, even with event planning (Calendar) and task list features, BBM Groups have not reached their full potential. They are still lacking crucial features that would make it essential in business collaborative settings. Ideas below are generated to hopefully bring out the true purpose of BBM Groups.

  1. Share Document Files: Currently, only pictures can be shared amongst BBM Group members. There is no way to share documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with others in the group. Even though BBM allows users to send any type of file to an individual contact, this is an inefficient method to disperse documents to multiple contacts. An appropriate scenario would be a group of university students trying to finish a project together where all three types of documents would be used. Once the document is shared, the file would appear in a new section. Group members could then open the files locally or in a “collaborative” mode.
  2. Collaborative Mode for Documents: In relation to point 1, BBM Group should allow group members to open shared documents in DocsToGo within the BBM Group environment. In this mode, any group members could join in the session, update the documents in real-time (similar to GoogleDocs), and save modifications. Alternatively, GoogleDocs could be integrated into BBM Group.
  3. Multi-voice, Multi-Video, Multi-Screen-share: In order to achieve dominance in the world of cross-platform messaging, multi-voice and video chats are an absolute must. Google Hangouts does a fantastic job with live video calls with up to 10 contacts. This feature should be viewed as a standard for all messaging apps going forward. However, to make BBM Groups standout, multi-screen-share should be enabled but this is the assumption that BlackBerry would open up the BlackBerry exclusive feature to other platforms.
  4. Presentation/Webinar mode: The multi-screen share idea could be further expanded. This feature could provide a great avenue for online conferences/meetings/webinars/training—especially when there is a presentation involved. Where this differs from “Collaborative mode” is that the host would be the only one who could control the presentation or the screen but still have the option to pass the control others as desired.
  5. Desktop Access: In order for all the ideas listed above to come to fruition, BBM Groups would require access from a desktop terminal. For instance, users collaborating a spreadsheet shared on BBM would benefit from using a monitor and a keyboard while other group members away from a desktop could still see the modifications in real-time. Multi-voice, video, screen-share would require this as well to combat against Skype or Google Hangouts.
  6. BBM Group Whiteboard: At times, using words might not be the best choice for describing a situation. With a whiteboard, group members could do sketches simultaneously. For example, this would be applicable for sport teams strategizing for the next game or a band of artists doodling and offering drawing advice.
  7. BBM Group Read Notifications: Press and hold onto a message and an option would appear on the side. Clicking on this notification option would display the entire member list with a R or D symbol beside each contact.
  8. Last Read: BBM Group conversations can get rather busy. This leads to users spending unnecessary time scrolling and looking for the last read message. To resolve this nuisance, an additional option should be added in BBM settings where users have the option to start where they left off in BBM Group conversations.
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Champion Your Resurgence

By Chad Mansour
With today’s consumer market share being the gambling game it is, BlackBerry’s reputation is what’s holding it back from real, public success. People are largely unaware of what BlackBerry can offer, and just rely on what people are saying. This keeps the market from engaging with a company that can produce a great product. BlackBerry has developed an intuitive operating software and can carve success.

Yes, the Z10, in many eyes, was not a successful device but in today’s market, what is considered successful? Is it the amount of apps that matters or is it strictly on how the device performs, given a task?

Some can say that BlackBerry lost its touch and what they presented wasn’t attractive. Some say BlackBerry was too late to the game, but those same people are now doing product testing with BlackBerry 10 devices and their original thoughts have changed.

The HUB, gestures and the security of the device are not enough for those who rely on many applications. However, BlackBerry World is full of apps, and with the ability to download Android apps it’s easier than ever to get that apps you’re looking for. Taking the time to know your device and what it is capable of doing is standard for the end user who is all about maximizing capability to get productivity. Now-a-days, people just want something simple to use and have an app that can do it for them, because their perception of device interaction is silo-ed off into single solutions instead of one cohesive end to end offering where apps can work together in real time.

We discuss security, but what does it really mean? If people wanted to be secure, why haven’t they left the competition and gone with something more reliable that will protect them from threats? Perception vs. Reality.

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“BlackBerry showed a slight gain in April, inching up to 1.20% from 1.13% in March.” – BGR

You’re almost halfway there, keep moving! ↡

Showcase Your Talent for Innovation

By Kevin Collazo
BlackBerry has been, and always will be, recognized for their dedication to security, productivity and communication. However, something that far too many people have overlooked is BlackBerry’s unparalleled passion and talent for innovation.

We’ve seen many instances where this holds true. The first two-way pager, mobile emailing, BBM, data compression, data encryption, convenience keys, the ClickWheel / Trackball / TrackPad, the first full gesture-based OS, NaturalSound… the list goes on and on, but one of BlackBerry’s diamonds is still hidden in plain view as nothing more than coal.

Re-Enter: SurePress

Laugh now and get it out of your system. Once you’re done, focus for a few moments and allow this bit of info to sink in.

SurePress technology is one of the most impressive and outstanding innovations ever engineered by BlackBerry, or any company in the touchscreen era. This truly is a brilliant technological breakthrough.

With the iPhone coming forth as the premiere touchscreen device, BlackBerry made it a point to bring the Storm series in as the answer to all of the imminent touchscreen woes. The concept was simple. Touch to highlight a section, and click the screen in (just like you would a physical button) to force the action. The ability to replicate the action of pressing on a physical key and translate that to a touchscreen is a marvel on its own. Typos and unintentional actions were essentially eradicated with SurePress.

So what went wrong?

While the idea of SurePress was spot on, the accompanying hardware and software within the Storm series stifled its appreciation with the masses and traditional qwerty lovers. Neither side, BlackBerry or their users, were ready for the technology. It was well ahead of its time.

What does the future hold for it?

With the ever increasing rate of technological advancements in a plethora of fields, revisiting SurePress, backing it up with stellar QNX software, and utilizing top-of-the-line hardware could truly bring forth a hybrid technology as the perfect transition from the old BlackBerry to the new BlackBerry 10 platform.

This differentiation, and truly unique take on the touchscreen, will not only significantly assist BlackBerry 10 to stand tall in the saturated mobile space, but it would pioneer safer automotive, avionic, naval and medical control systems as well.
It’s time for SurePress 2.0 – the future of touchscreen input.

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Integrate BBM with QNX-Powered Vehicles

By Omar Masri
BBM needs to be inside the modern vehicles we drive today. In fact, it should be a major app for in-vehicle infotainment systems across automakers. BBM can play a key role in the enterprise market, allowing enterprise employees to stay connected on the go while traveling in personal and company owned fleet vehicles.

There’s nothing like making international voice and video calls straight from your car’s infotainment system, for no additional charge. Being able to share a BBM Glympse from your vehicle and mobile device will allow you to quickly and easily share your location with your peers.

Imagine being able to link your mobile’s BBM to your infotainment system for maximum security and extended mobility. Knowing that your messages are safely locked when your device leaves the vehicle, you can let the guy at valet take your QNX-powered car out for the joyride of his life.

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BBM Video in QNX Vehicle

Refine the BB10 OS – Maximize BBM4ALL Experience

By Toby Clench

Updates that have come with each iteration of the BlackBerry 10 OS have always improved the general OS, as well as including new UI interactions and phenomenal features to make the BlackBerry 10 experience the best it can be. Yet still, it’s puzzling that the quick settings – which can be accessed by swiping down on the home screen – is not accessible throughout the whole operating system.

Having the pull down quick settings accessible across the whole OS would further boost the user experience on the platform, as it would simplify the requirements needed to access each individual setting in the settings menu.

Implementing a two finger swipe down

As we have a two finger swipe up to reveal the keyboard, this would be a parallel implementation to access the quick settings. At present, there is no utilization of the two finger swipe down on any BlackBerry 10 devices. In BlackBerry 10.3, this feature is being implemented which is great as I wrote this feedback before the 10.3 teases.

Not only is the operating system very stable, so are the applications found on the platform – especially core apps such as BBM, which leads onto another point.

Drastically Enhance the BBM Experience as a Whole

Both BBM Channels and BBM Voice are superb with BBM Voice offering Natural Sound technology which enables voice calls, over WiFi and the mobile network, to sound flawless. However, core BBM Chats can still be improved.

Arguably, a focal point of BBM is an individual BBM Chat. BBM Chats have been simple and efficient to use for years on end with the ability to quickly send a message to a colleague, friend or family member whilst also having the ability to send an image or file.

One quirk however is that there is no way of knowing whether or not the recipient has read/opened your file or image. Standardized BBM ‘D’ and ‘R’ should definitely be included to allow you to know whether or not the recipient has had a chance to look at your attachment yet.

Being able to view your chats in different categories is great, but it can still take a while to find the exact chat in which you are looking for which is why BlackBerry should implement a search bar: either having it always displayed – or have it appear when you pull down in a chat list – or to have an option in the overflow menu for search. This would definitely simplify richer navigation within BBM.

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Accessorize the BlackBerry Experience

By Ronell Jeremiah


Something BlackBerry should do to help current users, and make BlackBerry 10 Smartphones more attractive to buyers, is increase the selection of accessories for users in unique non-derivative ways.

Creating new partnerships, or even co-developing hardware peripherals, is a great way for BlackBerry to grant their customers added usability. Users want devices to work for them in many different places, and optimizing these accessories can really help add equity to the brand.

Great examples of extended product utility, besides cases would be:

  • Docks (Docking Systems)
  • Multi-Platform Connected Devices like In-Home Security / Media / Entertainment etc.
  • Cradles or mounts for various surfaces and vehicles, like bicycles
  • Wearables Like FitBit, Pebble or Myo
  • Audio FM Transmitters
  • And more

 

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Don’t stop till you get enough! ↡

BBM Channels Helpouts

By Brandon Orr

BBM and Channels are well positioned to become an advanced interaction tool between customers and businesses. We are already seeing the early advantages of the interactive nature of BBM Channels’ chat feature. The chat allows customers to get real-time information and support from companies they follow on BBM Channels. I propose expanding this to video and audio support. This would allow BBM Channels to become not just a tool for businesses but for budding entrepreneurs as well.

Adding video and audio support for Channels interaction would allow people to sell their services through Channels. Imagine learning how to play the guitar or how to use Photoshop from someone halfway across the world through a BBM Channel video chat or audio call. It would allow people to sell their services for a fee that would in turn provide monetization for BlackBerry as well as Channel owners. But the advantages aren’t just on the business side, it extends well into the consumer space as it allows users to pick and choose who they want to pay for certain services. Much like how the chat feature on channels works, owners would be able to setup business hours where users could sign-up and pay for a session.

Considering BBM is already available on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and, soon, Windows Phone, it would be in a tremendously advantageous position to capitalize on the ever-expanding online schooling and services market.

BBM Broadcasts

What’s more is that Channels could also allow owners to publicly broadcast lectures or sessions to multiple followers or even their entire following. Think of a DJ who wants to broadcast their show, or a programmer who wants to give a lecture on Python. It also allows broadcasters the ability to answer questions as they broadcast either through the channel chat or a comment system during broadcasts. BBM Channels can be much more than just a simple newsfeed of content – it can make that jump into the interactive content realm.

People want the ability to share what they’re doing when they’re doing it. Recent video streaming services such as Ustream and Twitch have been growing greatly over the past year as more people look to share their experiences in real-time with friends, family and the world.

What’s more is that this also brings up another method in which BlackBerry can monetize BBM Channels. Much like how Youtube has ads before watching a stream, BBM Channels could incorporate some new and innovative techniques that aren’t quite as invasive. Maybe have a channel invite pop-up before a stream starts, at which point the user can select to join the channel or not. The user doesn’t need to watch a 15-20 second clip, and it directly gets people to see a company’s channel and potentially join it.

The Bottom Line

Why does BBM have to be one thing or another? Why can’t it be a tool that lets people choose how THEY want to express themselves and connect with people?

We live in a world where we are constantly following, but why not empower users to take charge? Take charge and take action to learn something new today. Feel empowered to make a difference in the world, whether it’s by helping someone else in another town, country or continent.

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BlackBerry Needs to Stop the Enterprise Bleed Fast

By Alex Bass

BlackBerry is still dominant in the enterprise market, but tons of businesses are turning away from supporting BlackBerry. The reason why this is happening is largely in part due to the IT department and their own personal opinions being forced upon the company. Let’s be realistic for a second – most people who work in IT generally have an Android device. This is because they love being able to root their phone and do all types of crazy stuff on it. I have many friends in IT (actually most of my friends) and one thing they all pretty much share in common is that they love Android and HATE BlackBerry. So much so that they have actually refused to even look at my Z30 to see what BB10 was all about. They still associate BlackBerry as the legacy OS and they don’t want to change their mind.

Now why is this problematic? Most IT decisions in large companies are of course initiated by upper management that are pushed over to the IT department to evaluate and then explain to upper management. There is such a bias among IT professionals against BlackBerry that when upper management mentions BlackBerry to them in any way/shape/form, their visceral reaction is to say “BlackBerry is dead, it’s not worth it.” Now, this is even for BES10 which not only supports BlackBerry and BB10, but every other major phone OS on the market. It’s also a cheaper option in most cases too!

Okay, well this is fine, I guess. No BES doesn’t mean no BlackBerry. BB10 supports the Exchange Server for email management, and arguably better than any other‎ OS. And hey, there are native BB10 apps out there like AirWatch for MDM (Mobile Device Management) for the company if they don’t want to go with the convenience with BES10. So from all of this, it’s safe to say that BB10 is easily supported in most enterprise systems, with or without BES. But here is the problem… IT is pushing onto the company claiming that they do not support BB10, cutting it off and forcing employees to get an iPhone or Android with BYOD simply because the IT department doesn’t want to have to deal with supporting devices. The kicker here is that the process of setting it all up on a BB10 device is nearly identical on iOS or Android. Thankfully, we’ve seen the announcement of BB10 device interest by other MDM platforms, so there are steps happening in the right direction.

This particular frustration came directly after spending 5 hours with my uncle trying to set up his new Q10 on his company’s Microsoft Exchange Server. You had to first enroll the device using AirWatch, great, but they actually set up the system so it purposely BLOCKS a BlackBerry device when it tries to connect to their servers. Called up tech support (where 99% of the frustration came from) and they forced down my uncle’s throat that they do not support BlackBerry. They even confirmed that they could remove the block and the device would be able to connect to the MDM, but they couldn’t do it because it’s their policy, not because the BlackBerry device was not able to work with their infrastructure.

It’s stupid stuff like this that is hurting BlackBerry in their one main home – enterprise. Companies need to hire some more open-minded IT staff and not only would they save a lot of money, but everyone would be happy – no matter what phone they are on!

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Themes on BlackBerry 10

By Marco Miranda
Forums from around the globe were always buzzing back in the day when Mobster Mobile Design, Cocky Culture, Hedone Designs, WJD Designs, Samgbx Designs, Jsmurfy and many other talented theme devs would come out with a new theme. The fascination for our devices would grow with every new design downloaded. I can easily say that most of the people that I’ve come to call my friends online were relationships that began with the common love of themes.

A key reason in favor of themes on BB10 would be revenue. We’ve all seen BlackBerry trying something new by selling stickers within BBM. In my opinion, themes would be a great revenue stream for the company as well as designers/developers.

Obviously BlackBerrys are all business and I love that, but there is no harm in bringing in a bit of fun to the game! The younger demographic would definitely see the appeal of being able to customize their device to their liking. In fact, themes are what attracted me to BlackBerrys in the first place. and I’m pretty sure I am not the only one that felt this way.

Deep inside my BlackBerry loving heart, there is a glimmer of hope that one day I will be able to rock my own and other peoples’ themes on my device. Themes: community, creativity, fun (oh, and money too heehee!).

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BBM Personal PIN Auction

By Darryl McKinnon

BBM is not only anchored in security, it has the advantage of a highly professional and affluent user base. As the BBM snowball continues to roll, the aspect of prestige will continue to grow. Like real estate, BBM Pins have the inherent ability to grow in value. If BlackBerry is to seize the opportunity and offer up personalized pins,
certain pins if connected to businesses will obviously have some value. If say my Web site was BerryFlow.com, I might be willing to give up a one time payment of $20 for a pin of BerryFlow. Extrapolating that for thousands of businesses, there’s good money to be had, plus an increased level of personal engagement with BBM. That level of engagement and ownership has the ability to encourage owners to expand their own uses, thereby expanding the ecosystem.
Because personal pins will be one of a kind, and no two pins can be the same, it’s clear that certain pins could become far more valuable then others.

Dubai Auction: Most Expensive License Plates In The World

The above article being an example that prestige and value can be given to ideas and concepts, numbers and names.
I could really dive deep here but I’ll keep it short, and let you all consider the possibilities. I’ll simply state that I believe there are a few potential BBM pins that are so valuable they should be offered up for ownership at auction.

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It’s very easy for media, investors and phone enthusiasts alike to paint a picture of BlackBerry. All the focused is stuck in the past of what Research in Motion was. Not what BlackBerry is.
Though the company went through a financial strain, it must market its recreated self. This will show off the power and capacity in the future that BlackBerry holds. Image is everything, and at present their only real weakness. Focus and execution are paramount.

“It’s important to make a swift and impactful change to ensure stability”
– John Chen

We believe BlackBerry has a clear plan and goal ahead, all to become a more agile competitor. Not to survive as a niche player, but to thrive in the world beyond their shadow.

-End note by Marvin Blaise

Header Artwork by @KevCollazo
Confluence Emblem by @Pootermobile

  • Kevmobile

    Many superb ideas that should have been pursued / implemented long ago or be pursued now. I’m disappointed that I cannot be confident that BlackBerry is receptive if even listening.

  • beyondcomprehension

    Fun Read. Great article! The Future is ours for the taking. To borrow this one sentence from Chuck: “I’m sure BlackBerry is listening…” BlackBerry. Make It Happen! :)

  • S. Buckets

    Some kick ass ideas! Major props. Like the BBM Channel ideas, adding video has been something I’ve been waiting for. Broadcasting messages would be awesome! Also the BBM Group ideas all sound kick ass!

  • veeru789

    Nice

  • Chuck

    Some great ideas up there. I’m sure BlackBerry is listening.

  • tony

    that was great was a great read …….

  • xBURK

    Wow, that was a brilliant read. Enough said.

  • anthogag

    You should list these in BlackBerry’s Innovation Forum ( https://blackberry.icanmakeitbetter.com ).