New Features for BBM Include Timed Messages and Message Retraction for More Privacy and Control

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Samsung phone screen with BBMBlackBerry released new features for BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on Friday, October 31, 2014 which include Timed Messages and Message Retraction. This allows users to have more privacy and control over their messages.

With “Timed Messages”, similar to popular photo messaging app Snapchat, you can set a timer to control how long messages and pictures you share can be viewed within BBM. The message is hidden until the recipient touches and holds on the chat. Once the timer expires or if the recipient takes their finger off the screen, the message is no longer visible. The user also receives a notification if BBM detects that the recipient has taken a screenshot of the image or message. Only thing is, if the recipient  has another phone/camera handy, of course they could still take a picture of the picture/message without you knowing it.

With “Message Retraction”, users can now retract messages from their BBM chat before it will be read by the recipient, or even after it has been read so that it will no longer be visible within BBM.

The premium features will be available to BBM users for free for the next three months, after which will be offered as part of a broader bundle of features with a BBM subscription.

Other new features include a quicker sticker picker, HD Picture Transfer, and the ability to see what music your contacts are listening to in BBM Feeds.

Check out this video showing how the new features can be useful:

BBM – Yours to Control – “The Dive”


BlackBerry Passport for Professionals On-the-Go

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BlackBerry PassportLast Wednesday, October 1, 2014, I was able to get my hands on a BlackBerry Passport for a quick try at a demo booth at my workplace. Surprisingly, I liked the feel of the device in my hands even with its unusual dimensions of 5.04 x 3.56 x 0.36 inches and square touch display, which is wider than what other smartphones and phablets are today.

The keyboard size felt right and was easy to type on. Keyboard is a tad bit different from the original BlackBerry keyboards in their previous older phones, with the numeric, Alt, and Shift keys now found on-screen instead. The spacebar is also smaller now since it is squeezed in between the bottom row of letters. To get to the home screen, you would need to swipe up from the middle of the keyboard to the middle of the screen. This would take a little bit of getting used to. Once in the home screen, you can access the apps by swiping left on the screen.

I liked how websites looked on the web browser, definitely a huge improvement comparing to how it was on the older BlackBerry Curve or Bold for example. It displays the full desktop version of sites well. I can’t give a comparison to the browser on the Z10 or Q30 however as I haven’t personally tried them out myself on these. One nice thing to point out with using the browser on the Passport is that when you rotate the phone on its side, you can use the keyboard as a scroll bar, so that means you won’t have to cover any part of the screen with your finger while scrolling.

BlackBerry Passport - TechLifeInPink.comThe BlackBerry Passport includes an app called the BlackBerry Hub, which is where your email, SMS/MMS, BBM messages, calls/voicemails, calendar events, social media messages and notifications such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, can be consolidated in one view for easy access and response. I liked it that it gives you that convenience, except I personally wouldn’t want my personal social media accounts included in the mix.

Another built-in app is called the BlackBerry Blend, which allows you to access the contents of your device (emails, text messages, BBM messages, calendar, files) from a computer or tablet with internet access. I didn’t get to try it out though so I can’t say if the interface is good or not.

I like how documents, spreadsheets, and presentations display well on the device, so I think this, as well as the email app (BB Hub), will definitely be beneficial for professionals on the go. As accessing some sites on the internal corporate network is required for some professionals, how well the VPN works on the phone is also important. I’m not sure how it is on this phone and I’ve never used it on my old BlackBerrys before either, but it would be great if it works well. I think I’ve tried using VPN on the BlackBerry PlayBook before and I think it worked okay.

I think I’d love having this as a work phone, which is exactly what BlackBerry had in mind when creating this phone — made for corporate users.

I would still like to keep a separate personal phone though. How about you, do you see yourself using this phone?

Official BlackBerry Passport Unboxing Video

Related Article: Keep your Passport on you at all times! [Rogers RedBoard]

BlackBerry OS 2.0 coming soon!

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The BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet computer with BlackBerry OS (based on QNX Neutrino) made by Research In Motion (RIM) which was first released in April 2011, didn’t quite impress a lot of people because of the lack of some features such as a native e-mail client, calendar, and contacts, even though the hardware is good.

Now, the long awaited OS 2.0, which will support those features, is expected to be released next week (February 21st as many speculate), so this is definitely good news! Also, the updated OS will allow the PlayBook to run Android apps. I’ve already installed the 2.0 beta version on mine, but haven’t really tested it fully. The beta had some of the features disabled, like the Video Chat, so I’m relieved that the 2.0 full version will be coming soon!

Please, RIM, don’t disappoint!

Unboxing the BlackBerry PlayBook

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I received a BlackBerry PlayBook as a present in September. Around this time, I also sold the HP Slate (which I adored). Although I really liked to keep that HP Slate, I had to say goodbye to it. I have a BlackBerry Bold as my phone, so having the PlayBook was perfect for me.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is a tablet computer made by Research In Motion (RIM) which was released in April 2011 in Canada and the United States. The device runs on Blackberry OS, which is an operating system based on QNX Neutrino.

Here are pictures of the unboxing of my BlackBerry PlayBook.

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