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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review - Blaq

Follow me on Twitter.

We hear and read it all the time.  Twitter - a social media monster, that has taken the world by storm, and in my opinion, beats facebook every time.

It's quick.  It's succinct.  It's in the moment - quite literally.

There are many desktop and mobile applications to manage your Twitter feed, but today I'm concentrating on one that, again in my opinion, is the best of breed, on BlackBerry 10.

Originally developed for the PlayBook, the team re-designed and re-built the application from the ground up, for BlackBerry 10.



First of all , it's native.  That means it's been built specifically for OS10 and not ported across from Android.
It up dates in real-time - there's no need to refresh, it will just do it.

When you first run the app, it launches in Help mode, leading you through the various features.  It's a nice touch, and you can access it again via Help in the settings menu.

The active frame (the minimised window) doesn't show recent tweets, but it does update if you receive a mention or direct message.  There's colour-coding for the different streams, so it's easy to see at a glance.
With BBM integration, you can share tweets with BBM contacts.

There is auto-completion of Twitter names, when adding to a tweet, which is more fulfilling than doing it on the native Twitter app.

Blaq can host multiple accounts, which are easy to switch between, so if you have more than one; i.e. for personal and business use, then you'll like the way this works.

Using simple gestures, you can access your Mentions, Direct Messages, Favourites and Lists.  You can also see a view of all your tweets that have been re-tweeted.  A nice touch.  There isn't a Connect view, and you can't see which of your tweets have been "favourite'd"!

A killer feature, for me anyway, is the ability to schedule tweets.  By accessing the settings icon, you can set the date and time for the tweet to be published.  If you have more than one, you can view a list of the scheduled tweets.

You can see previews of images in the tweets, and select them to open in full size.  From there you have the option to share it, save it, or even set as a wallpaper.

In the settings menu, you have ability to change the font size as well as the frequency with which the timeline is updated.  Note, when open, the timeline automatically updates - you can watch it do this as tweets flood in! However, when minimised to the active frame, the more often it refreshes in the background, the greater the drain on the battery.  The lowest you can set is 5 minutes, and the longest is an hour.

For each account, you can set the notifications individually.  This is one area where I find Blaq weak.
Mentions and Direct Message notifications tend to be late, so I have the option turned off in Blaq, and just use the native Twitter notifications.
It's also possible to set if you want the timeline to show your last read tweet, or to start at the latest tweet.

It goes without saying that you can post photos from the app, either directly from the camera, or by selecting an image from your library.

All in all, this is my "Go To" Twitter app.

Blaq is available for all BlackBerry10 devices, and is just £2.00.  Well worth it, if you as me.

You can find Blaq in BlackBerry World.

NB - After I wrote this, there was an post on CrackBerry about some upcoming changes.. all good stuff
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