I’ve been using BlackBerry 10.3 on the BlackBerry Passport for a few weeks now and it’s time I introduce you to BlackBerry Assistant. It’s been said that when your boss hands you your first corporate credit card and your first BlackBerry, your career is on the upswing. If you’re fortunate enough to get a personal assistant, then you’ve really made it! While it might not be able to bring your morning cup o’ Joe, the BlackBerry Assistant will keep you organized, informed and productive.
I don’t have a personal assistant… yet. But, I imagine that I would interact with him or her in a number of different ways: typing, speaking…however I would ask them to help, they would help. BlackBerry Assistant can accommodate me the same way. It is voice activated when I need it to be, and helps manage simple tasks on my device from searching my email and calendar, finding out what’s trending on Twitter, to sending trivia night invitations. The more I use it, the more it learns and adapts to me. The more I speak with it, the more tuned-in to my queries it gets. If you’ve had experience with other smartphone-based personal assistants, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how accurate BlackBerry Assistant is at recognizing your requests.
I spend a lot of time behind the wheel and am often switching between multiple vehicles. Having an app that’s designed to be compatible with any Bluetooth device is key for vehicle safety. Just this week, I used it to remind me about a car appointment, a vet appointment and my anniversary. Then, it helped me send an ever-so-romantic BBM note from the car on my way home (all hands-free, of course). It was also my go-to when I needed to find the lyrics to “Soft Kitty”.
All pretty impressive feats of maintaining productivity… and they were all hands free. It’s when I’ve got keyboard under finger that I find it truly helpful. I just have to type what I’m thinking, whether it’s to tweet “The #BlackBerry #Passport Re-Invents the Mobile Keyboard. Here’s How. http://blck.by/1niKuvN,” or check the web to see if there’s gluten in millet (there’s not). From the home screen in BlackBerry 10, I just type what I want to do, and tap the action I want to complete.
Most impressive, for me, is that when I’m interacting with BlackBerry Assistant, it completes most of the actions without leaving the app.
If I’m driving and I ask it to read my latest email message to me, it does so. I can then ask it to “Mark Unread” without having to enter the BlackBerry Hub. If I’m in a meeting and I type “Remind me to follow up with Matt about our whiteboard session,” it builds me a reminder note that I can save without leaving the Assistant.
This past week, we experienced some severe weather here in Waterloo. We briefly lost power and I needed to find my way around the house in the dark. I asked the BlackBerry Assistant to “Turn on the flashlight”. The flashlight app turned on (as expected) and on the screen, within the app, a switch to turn it off appeared. I opted to go the voice route, though, and when I was done said, “Turn off the flashlight”.
Another quick example goes back to that whiteboard session with Matt. I don’t like to be interrupted during meetings, but was expecting an important phone call. My assistant stepped in to help out. I said “Phone calls only, please” and it changed my notification settings accordingly.
Like a real-life personal assistant, the BlackBerry Assistant is in lockstep with what I need to do on my Passport, without being distracting or costly (resource-wise). I’m told there are a number of fun Easter eggs built-in as well, which I can’t wait to stumble across.
These are just a few ways that I’ve come to use the BlackBerry Assistant in my short time with the device. I know that there are a lot of people out there who are intrigued about the BlackBerry Passport. Combine these new features in BlackBerry 10.3 with the Passport’s gorgeous new 1,440×1,440 touch screen, and awesome and intuitive new touch-enabled keyboard, and your career trajectory should be looking mighty nice, indeed.