UPDATE 9th September 2016: A series of updates have been released and you can now use the suite of apps on Android Lollipop phones as well as phones with lower screen resolution. Contacts, Tasks, Device Search, Notes, and Launcher apps are also now also accessible. Source
Once upon a time I was a big fan of BlackBerry but the romance ended over a year ago when I sold off my BlackBerry Z30 ’cause I needed a dual SIM main device (the poor android performance and limited apps was also a factor). In retrospect, I stayed with the platform ’cause blackberry’s data plans were (and still remain) dirt cheap, BBM worked best on BlackBerries and the Hub was glorious.
On exit, I looked forward to a day when the BlackBerry Hub would be extended to other platforms just like they did with BBM and yesterday it became a reality. For just 99 cents a month, android users can now make use a suite of BlackBerry apps which include BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Calendar, Password Keeper, Contacts, Tasks, Device search, Notes and Blackberry Launcher. A 30 day trial period is available to users but with access to only BlackBerry Hub, BlackBerry Calendar and Password Keeper. After 30 days, you can keep using these three apps for free with ads thrown in your face every now and then OR you pay 99 cents and get the entire BlackBerry Hub+ suite ad free each month.
Download BlackBerry Hub+ Services and BlackBerry Hub. The apps are only available to Android Marshmallow 6.0 devices at the moment but BlackBerry is working actively to bring it to Lollipop devices. Unfortunately it’s not compatible with my Oukitel K6000 Pro at the moment so I had to resort to using a friend’s APK files. See APK Files here.
The BlackBerry Hub takes your calls, sms, instant messaging and email notifications and places them in one location for easy access. To get your emails in the Hub, you have to setup your email accounts once again as the Hub doesn’t support the Gmail app. The Hub’s implementation of threaded email conversations isn’t good enough IMO and I’m this close to switching back to the Gmail app for emails.
By pinching the screen while in the Hub, you can see all your unread notifications at a glance.
P.S: Facebook Messenger messages don’t show up in the Hub at the moment.
What I love most about the HUB is how it handles Instagram’s post notifications. By default each Instagram post notification in the android notification drawer is replaced by a new post notification so you don’t really get to see them all at the same time BUT with the BlackBerry Hub, every single insta post notification pushed to my device is readily available for whenever I want to see them one by one. (Yep, I spend too much time on IG these days)
Making calls from the BlackBerry Hub is kinda tedious (for me). You either have to highlight the notification then tap on the call button at the top right hand corner OR you tap on the notification and in the next screen, tap and swipe on a + icon at the bottom of the screen to either make a call or view the contact’s details.
Overall, I love BlackBerry’s Hub+ Services for Android and I wouldn’t mind paying $1 every month to continue using it (I’m already paying for an Ad free BBM experience). Hopefully they will fix the incompatibility issue on my device as I’ve started getting Unfortunately BlackBerry Hub+ Services has stopped errors popping up once in a while.
Have you tried out BlackBerry Hub for Android? What has your experience been like? Comments are open as always.
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