Again I have been frustrated with the lack of applications for the BlackBerry Storm. As I continued to search I have found a few applications that hold some promise. Better yet I have been able to get involved with the teams creating these applications.
Qik is an application that I used on my iPhone to stream videos to share with others. It gave me a reason to have a video camera on my phone. The iPhone application worked wonderfully. When I got my Blackberry Storm I had to see if there was a Qik application available for it. There wasn’t. With a bit of effort I was able to get involved by testing an early release of the application.
First impression is pretty cool. The application is an OTA install, so I can do it right from the Storm’s browser. Once installed I can start it and it brings me right to a login screen where I can enter my Qik credentials. Once connected the screen shows a similar screen to the iPhone application with the live video displayed above and a few controls on the screen. There are still some issues interfacing with RIM’s system to capture the video, but it is coming.
GymTechnik is an emerging fitness community bringing fitness geeks together. As one of the founders put it, they “didn’t want to be the guy carrying a notebook around the gym”. There must be a better way.
Their web site gives a great web2.0 experience. One that excites the customer-focused tech-geek in me. It was simple to use, elegant in appearance, and just worked. I was quickly able to create an account (for free), then create workouts from exercises that were in their library or some of my own.
With my workouts created I was off to LA Fitness toting my BlackBerry. I pointed the Storm’s browser to their site and up came a simplified version that let me choose my workout of the day. Once loaded the GymTechnik site let me enter my weights, reps, and minutes on the different exercises in my workout.
So why get involved?
The interface worked, but was a little cumbersome for me to use. Part of that is due to the Storm’s interface. RIM has not included a way to tab from field to field on a web form. So I need to try to scroll the screen and select the next entry box each time. For me that is tough normally, but after pushing myself to get those last few reps it is near impossible. I found myself clicking and zooming, clicking and missing, clicking, clicking, clicking.
Sure that was my second day with the BlackBerry Storm and I was still learning how to use the device. Now after a week I am marginally better.
I started asking some questions from GymTechnik’s support link and was amazed at the quick response. Those initial email exchanges started a conversation that is still evolving. They invited me to join them in developing and expanding their site.
As far as the interface and user experience on the BlackBerry Storm they are developing a custom application for the Storm. Although the web applications are great and a quick way to offer some functionality to users, they can not leverage the capabilities of the device as well as a native application. (We’ve seen the same migration occur on the iPhone applications. Very few new application gain much attention as web-apps; they must be offered as native applications.)
Time will tell how I can best help these two mobile development teams, but I am excited to be involved. Both are working on leading edge applications that bring people together. They help us connect with others and utilize these powerful devices that so many of us carry around each and every day.
Go checkout Qik and watch for the official release of the Storm application.
If your into fitness go to GymTechnik, create an account, and start working out using your mobile device to track your progress. (If your not into fitness, isn’t it about time to get started?)