BlackBerry Introduces: BlackBerry Fan of the Month, June 2013

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June FOTM_ForSocialProperties

With her love for BlackBerry tweeted proudly across the internet, Heather has been on our radar for some time – so imagine how excited we were to run into her and her family at BlackBerry Live this month! We could not resist the opportunity to talk with her and bring her into the Fan of the Month (FOTM) club!

Meet Heather: A self-proclaimed BlackBerry fanatic, she plays on Team BlackBerry from multiple angles. For work, Heather praises BlackBerry as a key tool in getting organized. In her personal life, Heather keeps in touch with close friends and family through BBM. For play, Heather gives a big thumbs up to BlackBerry’s Travel app which kept her from staying overnight in an airport on her way to BlackBerry Live (read the impressive story below)!

Heather’s family has racked up a whopping 16 BlackBerry devices over the past few years—but it’s not just her own household that she’s spreading BlackBerry love to. Heather is the brains behind “Make Baby Smart,” a BlackBerry Z10 app that allows parents to show their newborn a series of images that can aid perceptual development. Yup, she’s training the future of Team BlackBerry young!

We are PSYCHED to dub Heather our June FOTM. Read on as Heather (@heatherwight) tells all:


1. How many years have each of you been on Team BlackBerry?
My family has been on Team BlackBerry since 2007, starting with one of BlackBerry’s first color models, the BlackBerry 7230.

2. How many BlackBerry devices have you both had in total? Could you list them all out for us?
Our family has had 16 BlackBerry devices, so far. But of course, we have plans for more. We started with the BlackBerry 7230, then we moved on to two BlackBerry Curve devices, a BlackBerry Storm, two BlackBerry Bold 9000 devices, two BlackBerry Torch 9800 devices, and a BlackBerry Torch 9810.

We currently have in our possession: two 16 GB BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, a 32 GB BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, two black BlackBerry Z10 devices, and two red developer’s limited edition BlackBerry Z10 devices. We will also be getting at least one BlackBerry Q10 when it becomes available in the United States in early June.

3. How many BBM contacts does each of you currently have?
We have a total of 32 BBM contacts. We primarily use BBM to stay in contact with close friends and family.

4. What are your favorite BBM emoticons?
My personal favorite is the “nerd” emoticon, because I am such a nerd at heart. But I frequently use the emoticons with smilies, hearts, and kisses.

5. What is the best BBM either of you ever received?
The best BBMs I have ever received are the day to day messages from my close friends and family. So, I guess I’m pretty fortunate that I get the best BBMs every day.

6. Heather, if you could BBM your BlackBerry, what would you say? How do you think your BlackBerry would respond?
I’d ask if the notification symbol is a “splat” or a “spark.” It would say: “Splat!” :)
*Donny’s note – it’s a “spark”. :P

7. Heather, we know you developed an app for the BlackBerry Z10. Tell us more about what your app does, and where you got the brilliant idea for it.
“Make Baby Smart” is the name of our application. It allows parents to show their newborn a series of images — over 200 in total — which include high-contrast colors and patterns as well as facial imagery. Studies have shown that newborns are more capable of perceiving high contrast imagery and doing so can aid in their perceptual development. Just as importantly, we’ve seen that babies are not only fascinated by the imagery in our app, but also seem to really enjoy looking at it.

As to the origins of “Make Baby Smart,” we developed the application on BlackBerry 10 for the Z10 after I attended BlackBerry Jam Americas (San Jose) while I was 8 months pregnant. There are physical flashcards that serve a similar purpose available for sale online, but when you are 8 months pregnant, the idea of lugging around hundreds of such flashcards in your already crowded purse seems very, very far from ideal.

“Make Baby Smart” is available by searching for “Make Baby Smart” in BlackBerry World or via the following link http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/24383879/.

8. How does BlackBerry keep each of you organized with your work?
BlackBerry’s devices are fantastic when it comes to staying organized. Brandon, my husband, uses the BlackBerry Remember app on his BlackBerry Z10 to implement a modified form of David Allen’s “GTD”. BlackBerry 10’s invocation/sharing features make quickly sending future action items from email to BlackBerry Remember very easy.

I was extremely impressed with the BlackBerry Travel app too. I love how it scans your email and messages for you and incorporates all of the travel information into one itinerary. The app even notified us of flight changes before the airlines did!

In fact, one early status update we received from BlackBerry Travel saved us from an awful experience on the way to BlackBerry Live this year. We were notified by BlackBerry Travel that our flight was delayed (but the change hadn’t been posted to the screens in the airport yet). We went to speak with someone at the airline to see what was going on. They were going to move us to another airline, change gates, and hopefully switch our luggage over so we might have it in time for BlackBerry Live. We were going to end up spending hours and possibly the night at the airport for our layover. This was going to be a nightmare with a five month old baby in tow. We asked about any other possibilities and the woman found a way for us to get on a flight with the original airline and it was leaving in just few minutes. We ended up getting to Orlando an hour earlier than our original plans! Had we not had BlackBerry Travel, we wouldn’t have known about all of the changes until it would have been too late to catch the earlier flight.

At any rate, it’s really important to us to have devices that can multi-task seamlessly. BlackBerry smartphones are so solid and they always work.

9. What did you both think about BlackBerry Live? Did any announcement in particular stand out?
We loved BlackBerry Live. The entertainment, food, and opportunity to celebrate with fellow BlackBerry fans was amazing. I was pleased to hear that BBM will be going cross-platform. Right now I use it primarily for close family and friends, but the introduction of channels and the potentially broader audience makes me think it may become my favorite overall social network, as well.

Brandon liked the new list of 10.2 APIs and the “headless” app announcements. He also pointed out that the developer relations team tends to announce not only new features, but new ways of looking at what a BlackBerry app ought to be as opposed to apps on other platforms. This time around, the mantra was for apps to “sense, understand, and adapt,” which made perfect sense given the introduction of new APIs like geo-fencing. Finally, Brandon thought, as an end user and a BlackBerry fan, that the WiFi Direct / MiraCast announcement for 10.2 had the potential to make the devices very, very useful for presentations, gaming, and streaming media and thought the “coolness” of that announcement was somewhat overlooked by many given the event’s large and trans-formative announcements regarding BBM.

10. And finally Heather, we just have to ask: Are you prepared to handle the fame that comes with being our Fan of the Month?
I’ll try to use my 15 minutes of BlackBerry Fan of the Month fame wisely. I’ll do something like donate time helping the less fortunate and setting up a charity. *wink* But in all seriousness, we are very grateful to BlackBerry for the wonderful experiences at their events and for making great devices. Keep up the great work!


Be sure to check out the other awesome members of the BlackBerry Fan of the Month (FOTM) club:

JanuaryBrian (@newshutr)
February – Ivan (@IvanSHarris)
March – Jane (@photosfromabb)
April – Josh (@BBbrodyBB)
May – Mark (@AllAboutMyBB)
JuneJT (@jt_teran)
JulyKimberly (@kmcooley)
AugustMike (@flash0p)
SeptemberJon (@nerdologist_jon)
OctoberGuido (@FuriousGuido)
NovemberAnge (@Afl2277)
DecemberZalman (@Zalman5K)
January 2013 Arisham (@arisham2003)
February 2013 Julie and Andrew
March 2013 Gino (@eugenbaban)
April 2013 Sergio (@icemanswimmer)

Keep sharing your FOTM suggestions with us, either by leaving a comment below, tweeting to us @BlackBerry on Twitter, or posting on our Facebook page. Stay tuned – our July FOTM could be YOU!

About Donny Halliwell

Donny is a Social Media Marketing lead and Editor for the Inside BlackBerry blogs. There's no disputing, #TeamBlackBerry is awesome. I'm pumped to have the opportunity to talk with you and bring you the latest and greatest from Inside BlackBerry every day. In my spare time, I can be found helping entrepreneurs and startup companies grow their business. I spend the rest, obsessing over the auto industry, or enjoying music. Follow me on Twitter or Google+

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