Review: BBSmart Shortcuts – How Smart Is It?

editors-choice-small Review: BBSmart Shortcuts
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10
Link: www.blackberrysmart.com
Cost: $8.95 @ BerryReview Store

I have been waiting to write this review since BlackBerry Smart released their newest version. Recently, it was announced that version 1.4 is available, so I figured I was safe to review.

Shortcuts is a very simple application that provides quick access to the most commonly used features on your Blackberry. This program allows you to click your side convenience button and easily access all your native Blackberry applications as well as a slew of 3rd party programs. Of course, this is not where the functionality of this program ends. Almost every aspect of this program is customizable, making it invaluable.

bbscreen Setup for this application is easy. After purchasing or downloading the trial, install the program and set your convenience key to BBSmart Shortcuts. Now save changes and you’re ready to customize. The initial screen doesn’t look like much, just a few common icons on the toolbar and the rest is blank.

There are a few different parts to the application, and I think that it is only fair to go over each one individually. Inside this nifty program there is the main toolbar, the email shortcuts, messaging shortcuts, phone shortcuts and Web shortcuts.

Toolbar Shortcuts

Toolbar shortcuts sit at the top of the screen and are the ones that I use the most. My biggest gripe with version 1.3 is that among all the applications that you were able to put on your toolbar, Blackberry Messenger, the one I use the most, was not an option. Of course, I am a happy camper now that this has been resolved. The toolbar can be rearranged and customized to your heart’s content.

Unless you are completely happy with the current toolbar, I would recommend deleting every icon and starting from scratch. You can do this by pressing the menu key and going down to delete, or use the handy keyboard shortcuts. Select the icon you wish to delete and simply press the “D” key on your keyboard.

New ToolBarNow it’s time to add your favorite applications to the toolbar. The order in which you add them doesn’t really matter as you can move them around freely after they are in place. You can have a lot of shortcuts on your toolbar, however the most that will fit on the screen without scrolling over is 8, so I stick with 8. :-) Press the menu key, click on “New Shortcut” and then on “Toolbar”. Or avoid all this button pushing by pressing the “T” key on your keyboard. You will notice all the keyboard shortcuts are displayed next to the corresponding option in the menu. Now you will see a list of all the possible applications you can add to your toolbar.

I believe most of the pre-installed RIM applications are included: Address Book, Browser, Calculator, Calendar, MemoPad, Messages, Phone, Alarm, Blackberry Messenger, BrickBreaker, Manage Connections, Options, Password Keeper, Profiles, Search, Setup Wizard, Voice Dialing, and even Wireless Upgrade. Now with the new version, even many of my favorite 3rd party applications are available to the toolbar: GoogleTalk, Opera, BBSmart Alarm Pro, my RSS reader and practically everything I need.

My Toolbar

Once you have customized your toolbar, it’s time to move on with the rest of the application.

Email Shortcuts

This part of the application gives you quick and easy access to the people that you email most. Adding your contacts’ email addresses is pretty simple since BBSmart has integrated shortcuts with your address book. Hit the “E” key to add a new email shortcut, start typing the contact’s name and the program immediately starts searching your address book for names that match. Select their name, and then if you already have an email address stored in your contacts, select the appropriate address (my fiancée has 3 email addresses, but I only email 1 regularly). No email address entered in your contact list? No problem type in any address you wish. Hit “OK” and your contact appears under the email list. To compose an email to a person on your quick list, scroll down to their name and click your trackwheel or trackbutton and the email program opens with that address already entered.

Messaging Shortcuts

Basically, this is the same as the email shortcuts. However, instead of email, this option composes a text message.

Phone

Add contacts here to quickly place a call to your most frequently used numbers. This has been the one that I have used the most, and I wish I could reorganize the order of the categories to make this one on top.

Web

Here you can enter your favorite Web sites. This ends up being even faster than using the bookmarks in your browser. Anything that makes my life easier is great in my book! While this doesn’t integrate with your bookmarks for easy entry, you can paste an address from your clipboard!

Pros

  • Makes my life simpler
  • Great easy to use interface
  • Integrates with all of my most used applications
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Does not integrate with browser favorites
  • Can’t reorganize categories

Conclusion

My ToolbarThis program is amazing, it has taken much of the monotony out of my life and simplified many of my day-to-day tasks. Good for BBSmart for seeing a way to make people’s life easier and acting on it! I would recommend this program to anyone whether for work or for play.

Here is a sample of my screen. I have eliminated a lot of my shortcuts so you can see an overview of all the shortcut categories, when in reality I have at least 5-10 entries in each category!

4 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. “Does not integrate with browser favorites”

    Unless I’m mistaken (if so, please prove me wrong! :)) this isn’t programmatically possible.

  2. Come on — 9 stars? For an app that really doesn’t do much beyond what the built-in apps do? I’m all for convenience myself, but I fail to see how clicking the app to open it and scrolling down to my wife’s name is really any more convenient than typing her first name in the address book and clicking Compose Email, or better yet assigning her a speed dial key to call her with even fewer clicks or scrolls. Also, you already can sort your apps in your preferred order on the BB screen — why would you want an app that does that too, but with smaller icons and even less convenience? For me, it was a big waste of valuable memory to have this installed. It is well-designed, but frankly quite redundant given how good the native interface is. I tried it for a couple of days, did a lot of customizing myself, and promptly deleted it. I find the web shortcut apps produced by North Cubed Limited to be much more useful (and free). I do think it’s a nicely-done app, but I sure wouldn’t give it 9 stars. Not when other apps (“Add to Calendar” to name one) are so much more deserving.

  3. Hi Eric,

    Did you setup the application to run when the convenience key on your BB is pressed? If you didn’t, it sounds like you are missing out on the major benefit of an application like this.

    For me, the best thing about this app is that no matter what I’m doing, if I’m in another application, etc. I can just hit the convenience key, click on a name and *boom* I’m making a phone call, emailing someone, launching a website, or sending an SMS.

  4. Another application using the convenience key, so if you use this you can’t use vlingo, or voice dialing or your camera or any other app you have set up to use that button. I agree with Eric, it isn’t “that” convenient.

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