Amongst a bunch of new features in BlackBerry 10.1, I have to say my favourite has to be Instant Actions. In a nutshell, this allows for a list of built-in “Actions” within the Universal Search of BlackBerry 10. Now, this may not seem like much, but it is a feature that could dramatically improve efficiency.
For example, in Universal Search, I can now type in “tw testing instant action”, and it will give me the option of posting a tweet, with the message “testing instant action”. Of course all your @ and # works too.
This works for posting status update to FaceBook, and Linkedin as well, by typing “fb” or “li”.
This extends to actions such as emails, SMS, BBM, and calls as well, followed by the name of the person you want to contact. Then simply tap once and it will set up the email, sms, bbm, or call with the contact already in place.
Also, you can set up a quick “Note” or “Task” by typing in their respective name too, followed by the title of that Note or Task. Then simply tap once to create the note.
(The screenshots were taken on a BlackBerry Z10, which explains the white theme, but I cropped out the keyboard.)
While this feature is already extremely useful on the Z10, it is a perfect match for the physical keyboard of the Q10. Since universal search can be launched by just typing whilst on the home screen, there is no need to launch “Search” first unlike on the Z10. Imagine your phone in hand, and you want to send a quick tweet, for example, “the food at XXX is great!”.
1. Swipe up from bottom bezel to unlock phone
2. type in “tw the food at XXX is great!”
3. tap on the tweet button
Simple isn’t it? No need to open or close the app. No need tap on the compose icon. No need to waste data loading tweets when all you want is to send a quick tweet. Also since there is no loading of tweets, and no launching of apps, you use less battery as well.
The thing that I am most excited about, is that this API will be available for developers to utilise eventually (no exact timeline given). This will give developer the chance to program unique actions for the users to utilise, bringing some of their apps’ functionality to the users, without the need of opening the app itself.
The most obvious app would of course be Instant Messaging clients such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, Google Talk, etc. But of course, the possibility are almost endless.
This combined with the to-be-released BlackBerry Hub API will really push the functionality of apps, beyond the app itself. With these APIs, there is less need to load up an entire app just to achieve a simple task. This might translate to better efficiency, higher productivity, and perhaps even better battery life.