The One Thing iOS Got Right, Android Does Decently, and BlackBerry 10 Got VERY Wrong!

Before I even begin, I will just say that in case you didn’t know, this is an opinion piece, my opinion. The topic of this post is up for debate and I am going to be explaining my take, but it is by no means written in stone.

A smartphone is a super personal device that is intended to meet the needs of the person using it. It is for this reason that no two smartphones, once personalized by the owner, look alike. Apps aligned differently, widgets, settings, and wallpapers, all set to the preference of the user. The notification system is no different.

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Given the insanely fast pace by which the tech space including mobile and web, is moving, notification overload is becoming a serious problem for many people. Take me for example. I am getting notifications throughout the day for the following services: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Path, Google+, Email, Calendar, iMessage, and more.

Now, as you probably know, I am using an iPhone 5 at the moment, and all in all, I think iOS offers me the best notification system to keep things under control. I want an app to ping me when a notification comes in? Sure. I don’t? No problem. I like being notified when my phone is locked without the need to turn on the phone? Not a problem. I don’t? We can do that too.

Android? Well, it is not a bad notification system, but, at least from someone used to iOS, it is far from perfect. Take the ability to have my phone’s screen turn on when a new email comes in. Android won’t allow that. Yes, there are apps to facilitate that functionality, but really, shouldn’t it be a lot easier? I want to know who is sending me an email to my work account (Exchange. Yes, really.) without the need to open the app and look. Sorry, Android folks, not possible right now. I can go on and on but the point is, Android notifications are ok, but not great…

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Here, however, is the kicker. The mother of email and father of productivity, BlackBerry, just released their new OS that is supposed to be the company’s savior. And to be honest, it is actually a pretty awesome attempt. More on that here. Except, there seems to be one part of the OS that BlackBerry completely forgot to include and it pretty much makes the phone useless to a person with a lot going on.

There is the BlackBerry Hub where you can see all the messages you got including Twitter, Facebook, Email, etc. and I will go back to that in a second, but when a new message comes in, you have no preview, no way of knowing what that message is, who sent it, and whether it is important enough for you to turn your phone on and look in the Hub. This lacking functionality is killing me.

I have passed on this complaint to the guys at BlackBerry and received some sort of indication that this might be included in future updates but for now, my Z10 is ringing and pinging 400 times a day and if I am overwhelmed with Android notifications, I am close to losing it on the Z10.

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Back to the Hub. It is a very cool idea, but it stops being cool when it goes from an idea to something you depend on throughout the day. Every single Twitter mention, every single FB like, email, Linkedin request, and the list goes on. Of course, I can choose which notifications appear in my Hub, but I want the Hub to interface with apps. What do I mean?

Well, lets say I have Twitter open and I am reading my mentions, there is no reason those mentions should then appear in the Hub as unread, right? Wrong. They are there until you clear them and mark them as read. Except, there is no way to clear out the Hub and finding the Mark All As Read option in the Hub was a fluke that I am convinced 99% of Z10 users wont be able to do.

If BlackBerry is targeting its most natural audience, which is people who want to be productive, the company needs to address this serious flaw in the OS like yesterday.

Author: Hillel Fuld

"Hillel is a tech blogger who manages multiple sites such as Technmarketing, Appboy, and inneractive. In addition, Hillel has written on many leading online publications such as Mashable, Gigaom, and others. In addition to his blogger hat, Hillel is an active Twitter personality who defines himself as a "Social media addict". When Hillel is not blogging or tweeting, he is the Head of Marketing for inneractive, a mobile startup that deals with app monetization across all mobile platforms."

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  • TGMzero

    Hahaha… You said iOS notifications were better than Android. That’s funny.

  • sonbuster

    Markets fluctuate – and very often in extreme directions. Remember the tech boom, when companies with no sales were valued at tens of billions of dollars? In 2000, Northern Telecom accounted for 36.5% of the Toronto Stock Exchange index and was worth almost Cdn$400 billion; by 2009, it was bankrupt! Well, last year the opposite happened to Research in Motion (now known as BlackBerry). At its low of approximately $6 1?2 per share, it sold at 1? 3 of book value per share and a little above cash per share (it has no debt). The stock price had declined 95% from its high! The company produces the BlackBerry which for years was synonymous with the smart phone. The BlackBerry brand name is perhaps one of the more recognizable brand names in the world and the company has 79 million subscribers worldwide. Revenues went from essentially zero to $20 billion in about 15 years – and then it hit an air pocket! The company got complacent, perhaps overconfident, and did not respond quickly enough to Apple and Android. Mike Lazaridis, the founder and a technological genius – and a good friend – asked me to join the Board, which I did after meeting Thorsten Heins, whom Mike recommended as the next CEO of the firm. Thorsten’s 27 years of experience in all types of leadership jobs in small and large divisions at Siemens, combined with his five years at BlackBerry, were exactly what was needed. Thorsten hired a very capable management team and then focused on producing a high quality BB10 – the next generation of BlackBerries. The brand name, a security system second to none, a distribution network across 650 telecom carriers worldwide, a 79 million subscriber base, enterprise customers accounting for 90% of the Fortune 500, almost exclusive usage by governments in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., a huge original patent portfolio, an outstanding new operating system developed by QNX and $2.9 billion in cash with no debt, are all formidable strengths as BlackBerry makes its comeback! The stock price recently moved as high as $18 per share, a far cry from the $140 per share it sold at a few years ago. And please note, 1.8 billion cell phones are sold worldwide annually, and of the 6 billion cell phones in the world, only 1 billion are smart phones. Lots of opportunity for Canada’s greatest technology company! What is striking, even for a person like me who has seen many bull and bear markets, is that at $6 1?2 per share, all the Wall Street and Bay Street analysts were uniformly negative – just as they were uniformly positive only a few years ago at prices north of $100 per share. John Templeton’s advice to us: “Buy at the point of maximum pessimism”, still rings in our ears!! We own approximately 10% of the company at an average cost of $17 per share and we are excited about its prospects under Thorsten’s leadership and Mike’s technical genius.
    –Prem Watsa

  • Zubair

    what the heck are you talking about? in my Nexus 4, i can see all my email accounts individually. without opening the app i can have a sneak of what it is all about. why are you all isheeps so addicted to your lowsy phones which are made for children.

    which eco system has the best pull down notification bar of course Android. who copied android, Apple did so shut up and keep your ideas to yourself.

    what did iphone 5 give you extra than iphone 4s? one extra row of icon. blah blah blah what else faster speed.

    big screen copied from android and wp7, faster speed copied from android. at least when a new android phone comes out, it is always different and give the users reason to upgrade. oh yes what happened to Steve Job mocking about Galaxy tab 7, why did apple bring ipad mini? Apple takes what is in the market and tries to make it better but tries to make money out of idiots like you by giving you the same functionalities 3 years in a row just like ipad 2, 3 and 4 and mini. same iphone 4, 4s and 5. only difference siri

  • Kevin R

    Just color code your notices

  • Jamie Billow

    I also use different ringtones and alert sounds on my S3 Android to let me know what kind of message is coming in w/o even looking at the phone. For ‘silence’ mode you can customize your vibration alerts. iPhone is cool and sleek, but as an Android convert there is so much more freedom and versatility.

  • dracolnyte

    for a second, i thought a woman wrote this. Anyhow, I actually prefer it this way on the BB10 or perhaps even the Androids.
    Reason 1: Privacy. Often times I don’t want people peeking over looking at the preview of my messages. What if I was with my wife and my mistress msgs me saying “baby I miss you”. I’ll be SOL. Same situation could be applied to any corporate or legal scenario…
    Reason 2: Saves battery. 1 LED diode blinking conserves much more battery than 960×640 pixels + backlight going all at once. its just not as efficient.

    Again, I expect them to come out with an update or an app that will allow users to choose and customize how they would like to be notified.

  • Kajun58

    I currently have an Android phone … but I must say that the most intuitive OS messaging system that I’ve ever seen, is one that is now defunct … It was the Palm webOS messaging notification system! Just stating the facts …
    Having said this: I think that Android is pretty solid … Personally, the only way that I would own an iOS phone is if it was the only one available. I loved the functionality and simplicity of webOS yet, I like Android … :)

  • Victor

    Really never thought about it and never paid attention to how convenient notification are on iOS. Also now you could develop apps super personal to yourself. I know there are bunch of tools online to work with but I liked to use for their abundance of design templates and resources.

  • RebelwithoutaClue

    No need for an extra app for turning on my screen, the native email app does that. And it does not only allow me to see the mail in the notificationbar, it even allows me to delete or reply from there. I can even tell what color the led must be when I receive an email. And yes, I’m running Android ;)

  • Rudolph Diesel

    Just another piece of completely biased opinion in favor of iToys as far as I am concerned. No doubt the Android O.S. is not perfect, but then, so is the iOS. Why complain about features that are present in one and lacking in another. Isn’t that what apps are for? Sure, if the O.S. developer were to include every conceivable feature in their software then 3rd party developers are no longer needed. That would be nice for the O.S. developers but not necessarily nice for users who want to customize their devices. The new BlackBerry O.S. is also not perfect at the moment, but then are the Mac OS and Windows O.S. perfect? Give me a break!