Tag Archives: BIS

How To Make Your Android A BlackBerry

blackberry (Photo credit: arrayexception)

So you accepted the peer pressure and finally decided to move to Android from BlackBerry.

The Blackberry experience is an all inclusive flow, in which the experience is about you, the user. For this, I love Blackberry.  Most people who never had the opportunity or patience to try Blackberry believe the only thing it has is BBM. There is more to Blackberry than BBM. Fine, the app catalog is atrocious. But the intrinsic basic phone features are deeply thought out.

For a legacy Blackberry user, Android is too much work. The first thing you shall notice on android is it operates like an operating system. Android is built in a way in which every aspect operates stand alone.Basically Android provides a base upon which, like Windows, you add on the wallpaper, software and utilities you require to suit your needs.This is a good think for a tinkering techie seeking “freedom”, but for someone who wants to buy a functional phone that has been thought out for you in advance, Android is not the best option. The fact that the apps are not built to work with each other sometimes creates issues, one app interrupting or crashing another.

That first week is hard, very hard. You will be excited about the new apps that you now have access to. But from the GUI,games,tools,utilities to deep system functions, Android is suited towards the user tweeking and tinkering every aspect of the phone. The absence of several things will shock you. Having to configure others will shock you too. Fortunately, on Android there is always an app for your needs.

So here is a list of apps for things you take for granted on Blackberry that you require to make your Android life better.

EMAIL: BIS and BB Email System is what any hardcore BlackBerry user swears by. For Android, you have Exchange By TouchDown Key, Under Notrodesk Inc. It is the best Exchange client system on Android.

DOCUMENTS: Blackberry has the ability to view and work on documents, its a business machine. To replicate this on Andorid, use QuickOffice, an excellent documents for mobile service acquired by Google. With PDF support, QuickOffice is the document app of choice on Android. A similar third party app is Go Office Pro.Both also allow you to plug in to documents stored in the cloud on your Google Drive.

SMS SENT TIME: This seems rather foolish, but some Android platforms do not show the time a sender sent you an SMS. Crazy right? Samsung and a few others correct this defect, but some stock android ROMs do not show SMS sent time. Fortunately there is an app for that. SMS Sent Time on the Google Play store.

AUTOREDIAL: If you ever needed to autoredial someone, a feature that comes in built in all basic phones, and on BB, on Android, you require an APP for it. The App is Auto Redial on the Google Play Store.

BB KEYBOARD: Blackberry with their long experience in QWERTY have really done an excellent job with the keyboard. Fortunately for Android folks, there is Swiftkey and Swype. This doesn’t replicate the BB experience but it gets close.

NO BLACKBERRY HUB!! If you have used Blackberry Hub, then you will be distraught at Androids communication experience. The BB hub provides a unified communications hub for tweets, facebook, SMS, Call notifications and alerts,DMs,Emails and other third party apps like Viber and Whatsapp.  To attempt to replicate this experience, download Droid Hub from the App store. Messages+ also on the appstore handles multiple messaging apps in one interface, but still cannot match BB hub.

SMART AUTOMATED ACTIONS:  Blackberry Z10 users talk about Bedtime mode. Like how placing the phones face down, a call is cancelled or goes on vibrate? Or past Ten O’ Clock certain notifications are muted? Or certain times trigger certain actions? Or low battery levels triggers energy saving settings on apps and on the phone? If you want this on your Android phone, download AutoMateIt on the App store. This app enables you to customize automation rules, you set the trigger or set of triggers which will push an action, which is saved as a rule. This can replicate your bedtime mode experience and more.

SEARCH: Its weird that the mighty Google cannot muscle phone search the way Blackberry do. This I am afraid is something you would just have to get used to. BB search is universal and smart, working with and into the whole phone. It searches apps, contacts and actions to them as well! For example to send a text to Jane, if you search “text Jane” it will  open your SMS box with the recipient being Jane. Android unfortunately cannot give the same effect.

BBM:  BBM is finally available for Android, so get this on the app store.

 SIMPLICITY:  Androids interface is like constantly working on DOS, and at the same time layering upwards to Windows type GUI. Honestly, one really does not need to constantly be in the engine of their device. On BlackBerry, what you saw was what you got, with few GUI and theme changes, giving you routine, which leads to ease and productivity in how you interact with the phone, in as few clicks as possible.

Many Android users find themselves constantly deleting and adding applications and features, constantly swiping and clicking even when they are doing nothing with the phone.

As a former blackberry user who is used to the phone as a tool, both for work or play, using it when it needs to be used,this can get very annoying, and can make one very exasperated.

the cure for this is downloading a minimalistic Android Launcher like Smart Launcher or Aviate.


Utilise these minimalist launchers after having implemented all the app changes above and you will have a very smooth and productive Blackberrylike Android smartphone experience.

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Nokia N900 communicator/internet tablet
Image via Wikipedia

Proponents of business applications and mobile productivity will swear by their Blackberries and tell you how much time and money they have saved by having access to their emails and office applications on the go using enterprise business gadgets.

In a nutshell, a workjunkie does not have to open up his laptop to respond to an email, especially when as a decision maker a simple yes or no needs to promptly determine whether some millions will be spent or not.

In this world, time is always of the essence, as in any.

However, the voice against being seemlessly linked to the office grows louder day by day.

The resource meant to utilise information worker solutions wants time to himself, friends and family, and yearns for his privacy.

From my interactions, the preference veers towards learning to organise time to increase productivity and unified and healthy life, by allocation of very specific time frames with high concentration and focus on the activity therein.

Thus for example, 8 to 9 am is mails, 9 to 10 am is phone calls, 10 to 11am is one on ones, 11 to noon snail mails, lunch break 2pm to 3pm…etc etc.

The expected result of these silos is a focused, timely and centered approach and response to information, and appropriating proper response time.

My December holidays were eventful, and I was fortunate enough to travel and interact with people from varied areas of the business or enterprise ladder, but all who are users of Enterprise communication Devices and these were their opinions.

Steve, a server admin with a large ICT firm that deals with large accounts, got rid of his smart phone. I met Steve in a dingy local pub,he holds three dumb phones with three different carriers.

First, since he is a social person and loves to drink, his primary reason is that since he last lay down on the floor and cried after losing his I-phone in a bar, he decided that he would never spend that much money on a phone.

Secondly, he was tired of getting “urgent” emails from clients (who knew he was available on the corporate chat outside his work hours, and receiving emails from superiors asking him to “sort the client just this one time”. )

He decided his M.O would be to utilize dumb phones, once he knocks off, he turns the work lines off, and turns his play lines on.

Angelica, on the other hand, i met out in the wilderness hiking. She is a top PR Account Manager interviewed on Jeff Koinange‘s “The Bench”, among other high profile shows on television and radio. Being high society, what one is seen doing and who with is key. Having a smart phone is not only a tool of the trade, but is also a status symbol, a necessity in her field where impressions matter more than reality.

Yet she just got rid of her Blackberry. She holds the Safaricom solar dumb phone ( thereby still being chique and “eco-friendly”) But moreso, her main reason was seeking peace of mind. She said she kept chatting on multiple social networks keeping up wiht the glitterati, would be clients and posts of her high profile activities and keeping tabs on others, she hardly had time for anything else. ” My boyfriend hated me because we could hardly have dinner without me clicking away on the phone posting this or that…i think i developed a short attention span.” She allegedly could no longer sit somewhere and wait for someone or something without going online on the phone.

Andrew on the other hand just said he preferred sitting down to look at emails and answering them, instead of always being under pressure. for him it meant he would just plan his time better and respond to what was most important to him as a person, and not what the phone dictated.

A journalist by profession, he wanted one place untouched by the unified internet world, where the correspondence was limited to calls and text. The only linkage he wanted was weekends, when he would link his Nokia to the computer, and upload pictures taken during the week to social networks. In any case he lives on the laptop which, with the bigger screen provided a richer ,more dynamic experience. “The small screen and slower rendering speeds just do not make sense.”

With this growing tribe, I foresee less and less professional usage of smartphones by choice, except by those obligated to by their work places.

These are my two cents, and six from Andrew, Angelica and Steve… and as these are thrown into wishing wells the world over, we may see a decline in the intrusive usage of smartphone technology.