The BlackBerry Z30 comes with a full array of social networking apps out of the box, as the company has finally realized that social networking is important for both regular folks and businesses these days.
The Facebook app shows you your wall by default but you can easily check friend requests, messages and notifications. Posting a new status, image and checking in are equally easy. You can access more from the menu button in the top left.
If you're wondering why the app doesn't use the standard BB OS 10 menus, it's because it just encapsulates Facebook's mobile site. Still, it works well enough.
It's the same with the Twitter app. It shows you your timeline by default, but you can also use search, see what's trending and so on. Posting new tweets is easy and you can snap a new photo right from the app itself.
BlackBerry 10 comes with its own map application with map data coming from TomTom and TeleCommunications Systems.
The app only features regular maps - no satellite images or street view. It can show traffic information, but there's no public transport or pedestrian navigation support. The database of places and venues isn't nearly as rich as that of Google Maps, but at least maps now load quicker than they did on previous BB 10 phones.
To our delight, the map content of the app has made a space jump. Whereas on the BlackBerry Z10 most of the world didn't have much map data to show around, the latest Maps app is not only prettier, but also sports a lot more places and feels complete now. Of course, we're sure the app and its map data has been updated for all BB OS 10 smartphones as well.
The Maps application does have voice-guided navigation though for in-car use. It's online-only (that is you need an Internet connection for that to work). You can tweak the route finding algorithm by telling it to look for the Fastest, Simplest or Shortest routes and to avoid highways, toll roads, carpool lanes or ferries. Night mode can be enabled, disabled or set to activate automatically.You can add favorite places (Home and Work get special treatment) to find your way faster. If a contact from your address book has location info, you can quickly navigate there too. Happily, you can pick a point on the map and get a route to there - a feature that was missing in BB 10.1
Overall, the experience with BB OS 10's Map application is still not as fluid as on its Android rivals, but has been much improved. Here's hoping BlackBerry continues to improve in this department as well. So far we like the progress we're seeing.
The BlackBerry World app is your gateway to over 130,000 apps for your new BlackBerry Z30. While not as many apps as Android and iOS have (or even Windows Phone), many of the major names are available.
The BB World is not too different from the Google Play Store. It shows featured apps on top of the screen, then two featured categories - Ultimate Gamer and Capture the moment. Below that are Trending apps & games, Top paid games and Top paid apps.
You can browse just games or just apps, which also reveals the Top free items of that category. Speaking of categories, both apps and games are sorted into genre categories, if you're looking for a specific type of app/game.
Apps and games usually come with at least a few screenshots and a description. You can also read user reviews, complete with a star rating.
Before an app installs, you'll be prompted to allow the app's required permissions. It's a bit annoying that you only get to see those after the app has been downloaded (but before it's installed).
We already mentioned that in the beginning of the year the BlackBerry World opened business with a respectable number of apps for a new app store, but a good 40% of those apps are Android ports (BlackBerry handed $100 to devs who ported their Android app to World).
Luckily, BlackBerry OS 10.2 now boasts runtime support for Android 4.2.2 apps. This enables hardware acceleration, which in theory at least, boosts performance of ported Android apps.
We've tried side-loading (installing an app via a PC) a few Android apps and failed on a couple of occasions. It's definitely possible and when it works, it does so quite well. The process itself however, is cumbersome and isn't meant for everyone. There are plenty of tutorials online on how to do so, but you shouldn't count any of the apps to run as good as on an Android phone.
Anyway, just like Google's Play Store, the BlackBerry World offers more than just apps - you can buy music, movies and TV shows from here. Or you can just rent them, too. With DLNA and microHDMI port, the BlackBerry Z30 can be used as a serious media player, though popular US video services such as Netflix or Hulu are still missing.