Dealing With the Redundancies in BlackBerry 6

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blackberry universal search

The BlackBerry community seems very focused on the QNX OS these days but we won’t be seeing QNX smartphones until 2012 at least. With the PlayBook announcements, the conversation is shifting away from imperfections in the current platform, and towards the future smartphone and OS we won’t see for some time to come. The conversation needs to be pulled back to BlackBerry 6, and what RIM can do with OS updates to make the experience better for current BlackBerry users. Something that has become glaringly obvious with BlackBerry 6, is the amount of redundancy that is built into the OS. And I don’t mean redundancy in the fail-safe way. I mean it in the “I see this icon/feature implemented in several places and it’s starting to annoy me” way.

BlackBerry 6 Pages: All vs Favorites vs Media vs Downloads vs Frequent

When we first reviewed BlackBerry 6, the separation of apps into pages seemed like a great idea. The problem is that when you’ve used it for several months, you start to notice the same apps popping up on almost every page. For example, Poynt shows up in my Frequent, All, Favorite and Download pages. After a while, you start to wonder what the point is of separating all your apps in this manner. The pages start to lose all meaning when apps are consistently duplicated throughout.

Search: SMS vs Email vs Web Video vs YouTube vs Universal Search

Universal Search is an awesome feature and it’s significantly better on BlackBerry 6 than on the competition. BlackBerry 6 gives third party apps the ability to integrate into the search, giving both the app and the platform more functionality. The problem is that the search is limited depending where you are in the system, and redundant in several places. When you are in an SMS app you’re only searching in SMS, and when you’re searching in the Universal field, you’re searching all over. It’s also a little redundant to search both Web Video, which includes YouTube, and just YouTube. Universal Search should be Universal everywhere in the system. Granted, when you’re in Email, the email search should be primary and highlighted, but there’s no reason for limited and redundant search fields.

News Feeds App vs Social Feeds

When RIM released Social Feeds, the app made a lot of sense. The app integrates with the browser and allows you to track RSS feeds as well as your social networks. But recently RIM introduced the BlackBerry News Feeds App, which makes the Social Feeds RSS reader redundant. The News Feeds app is great because it gives you suggestions, but it’s not integrated with the browser. Whenever you’re browsing a website and you want the RSS feed, you can add it to the Social Feeds app, but then you have to manually add it to the News Feeds App. In the end, it’s not clear which app you want to delete because they’re both serving a purpose and the redundancy is almost unavoidable. Even though the News Feeds App is in Beta, it’s not clear what purpose this app is serving for BlackBerry 6 users and why it couldn’t just be an update to the RSS Feeds section of the Social Feeds.

Fixing some of the above issues will help improve the experience for current BlackBerry users, but we probably won’t see any of the major issues fixed. The major issues with the OS, and BlackBerry in general, are still very much present in BlackBerry 6. For example, whenever you install and app, or restart your device, your smartphone is nearly unusable. In 2011, a smartphone shouldn’t take a whole 3 minutes to boot. Considering the processor is doing over half a billion computations per second, you have to wonder what’s taking so long.

For those BlackBerry 6 users out there, what do you think about the current version of the OS? What do you think about the pages and search features that are central to BlackBerry 6?

  • http://blackberrycool.com/ Matt Cameron

    I’m a Torch user too and know exactly what you mean.

    Sometimes I find that there are parts that aren’t redundant enough, where a feature is implemented in one section, but absent in another where you would expect it.

    For example when I’m using an app and my Notification LED starts blinking and I feel a vibration. When I hold the blackberry button to rapidly switch apps, I find I can’t navigate to the new message by pressing the Mail icon (even thought it has a new message indicator on it!). I’ve got to press the home button, then the notification bar. It would make an awful lot of sense if this was in a couple of spots, clicking the screen 4-5 times to see a new message on a BlackBerry is a step back from the OS 5 user interface.

  • nah

    Truth be told I really don’t care about BB OS6 as I will be purchasing a playbook and using the awsome new QNX tablet OS!

    it’s so portable i will take it everywhere i go!

    the only thing I will need my blackberry smarthone to do is accept and make calls lol

  • Arawak

    Even though the redundancy of certain functions within Blackberry 6 can be frustrating for some users, I can live with it (redundancy) if it improves my ability to find information on my Blackberry device. For me, Universal Search is the best part of OS 6.

  • NorthernDude

    It would be great if you could truly customize your pages, instead of the Frequent/All/Favs/Media/Download option that’s forced on you. I also agreat about the News Feeds should be an update to the RSS Feeds in Social Feeds. Both have options that are exclusive to each app, which, if blended together would make a much better app.

  • Androidking

    Blackberrys take forever to boot because the apps are stored in the flash memory. If they were saved on the internal memory the boot times would be faster. The phone is wasting a lot of time loading up stuff that it won’t need at the beginning. I’m not saying the apps are all activated at once. Just the fact that is were they reside takes forever.

  • Androidking

    Blackberrys take forever to boot because the apps are stored in the flash memory. If they were saved on the internal memory the boot times would be faster. The phone is wasting a lot of time loading up stuff that it won’t need at the beginning. I’m not saying the apps are all activated at once. Just the fact that is were they reside takes forever.

  • Rhys

    Love the redundancy. The apps I use most are always at hand. If that redundancy of icons is the best thing you can find to complain about then I’d say BBOS6 is doing just fine.