One of my all-time favorite apps on BBOS was called QuickLaunch. If you used it, you probably loved it, and I’m sure a lot of you out there did. You essentially set the app to open up on your convenience key, and it would turn into a shortcut manager for whatever other apps you wanted to add to it. It seriously made multitasking a breeze on that non-gesture friendly OS. Some people didn’t like it as much as me because of the keyboard shortcuts older BlackBerry devices had, but I personally preferred it over everything else.
Fast-forward to 2015, and while BlackBerry’s newest software doesn’t really need more help in the speed and efficiency department, there’s a part of me that got really excited when I found out a new version of Quick Launch was made for BB10 recently.
Now, this isn’t from the same developer as the original, and some things are a bit a different in the new app, obviously, but if you ever used QuickLaunch on BBOS, and figured you could use it on BB10, you’re going to want to check this one.
As mentioned before, Quick Launch takes the same concept as the BBOS app and brings it to BlackBerry 10. Since we don’t have a convenience key on any BlackBerry 10 device, you are able to choose within the settings whether you want to use the Volume Up or Volume Down keys to call up Quick Launch. You can set both of them if you don’t want to pick. These keys are reassignable through the Settings menu. (Note: To launch Quick Launch, you have to press and hold the assigned volume key from anywhere in the OS).
Once you get Quick Launch started, you’re able to select which apps you want on your QL list, and in what order. Quick Launch uses Pages to organizes launchers. I personally never had a need for more than one page, but if you want a shortcut to a lot of apps, you can have it.
Within the Settings menu, you can decide how many rows of keys you want to show up when QL is activated. The default is 4 rows (8 apps), and I recommend it be kept that way just so it doesn’t look as cluttered.
The app itself isn’t the most gorgeous thing in the world. It won’t blow you away with design or look, but the UI and its interactions all work as promised within the app.
In terms of which apps are available to call up using Quick Launch, you may or may not be disappointed depending on how much of an app person you are, and if those apps that you do use are available to be picked.
Unfortunately for me, this is the biggest area where Quick Launch comes up short: app selection. I found it a little interesting (read: annoying) that within the Applications menu, Blaq – my go-to Twitter client on BB10 – wasn’t available as a choice, yet the still-in-beta Insta10 was.
Now, to be fair, the developer does warn that due to API limitations some apps wouldn’t be able to show up, so I’m not sure if maybe more third-party apps will be able to use QL in the future or not.
Another con that probably falls under the API limitation issue is the lack of Android app support. No Android apps (at least not any of the ones I have) can be launched from QL, which was a big downer for me. Hopefully this can get resolved in the future with an update.
Once you get your apps set up, Quick Launch works just as promised. You can be in any app, homescreen, or even the BlackBerry Hub, and Quick Launch will pop up when you press and hold the key assigned.
When you tend to be as disorganized as I am with my apps, and folders, Quick Launch is a huge help. You don’t have to go digging in page after page in the homescreen for a specific app. You don’t even have to leave an app to call up another one. It really is quite handy.
I’ve been using Quick Launch for the past couple of days, and I’ve really enjoyed it, and plan on keeping on my Classic. To me, an app that starts off this strong has the potential to fix its shortcomings and grow a lot.
I’d personally like to see a tweak in the design and UI going forward. Right now, it’s a little plain and safe for my taste, and I think a new look may help the overall user experience stand out too.
Also, if the developer, Toysoft, can figure out a way to launch every app the user has installed within their device, it would fall under the Must Buy app category on BlackBerry 10 for me. It’s as simple as that.
Every day we wake up and think of new ways to do more, do it more quickly, and efficiently. Quick Launch for BlackBerry 10 is definitely on the way to helping us achieve that goal.