Long Running Headless Apps Now Require BlackBerry OS 10.2.1!?!

Run in Background

This is starting to get ridiculous. Since BlackBerry 10 launched I have been hearing complaints from developers and users about the lack of being able to run apps in the background without active frames. Now we are tens of OS releases later with multiple public rollouts and we still do not have this critical feature. It was supposed to come with the newly minted and released OS 10.2 and we had two apps released with headless support before BlackBerry again pulled the plug.

This time we have the developer of Flip Shush, one of the two available headless apps, confirming that BlackBerry has changed the minimum for “long running headless apps” to the unreleased OS 10.2.1. (via CrackBerry) Supposedly this is because some builds of OS 10.2 do not properly support long running headless applications.

In other words one of the most long awaited and touted feature of OS 10.2 is pushed off yet again. Don’t get me wrong I want BlackBerry to get this right but this is starting to going beyond ridiculous. This is one of the most demanded features for BlackBerry and one of the key features of legacy BlackBerry devices and it is still missing.

Hopefully BlackBerry will actually deliver OS 10.2.1 before the end of the year (unlikely) and we will FINALLY get headless apps. I am getting tired of this…

35 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Sorry Ronen, this “critical feature” ain’t available on iPhone.

    I really don’t see the rush to get this done when the biggest name in smartphones today (Apple) does not care. BlackBerry wants to do it, but it must be done right. There are loads of folks to consult and lots of ideas to implement. Take a breather – it will get done.

    • As Ronen mentioned, this feature (along with many others) was available on the legacy OS. The launch of BB OS10 was delayed so they could come out with a fully-baked OS yet a lot of the niceties from the previous OS still haven’t been included in the new OS.

      Whether or not Apple has it, if you’re launching an new OS, removing features your old OS had isn’t really a great business move, and guess what — it is something that people will complain about.

      We pay hundreds of dollars for these phones, we do have some expectations of them.

      • Okay, Apple displaced BlackBerry in the smartphone game partly because the legacy devices were laggy, mostly due to a plethora of background tasks chewing up resources – cpu & memory. Many users didn’t even know how to show background tasks or how to kill them. Yes, the touch screen display and apps were issues too, but everyone remembers how laggy those old devices were. Background processes weren’t managed well by the OS so many consumed all the resources to themselves making the phone unresponsive.

        BlackBerry has an opportunity to do a proper implementation. They must do it right or screw things up forever. Once folks start writing apps, they can’t do much to make architectural changes without pissing off devs. Who wants to re-write apps because BB screwed up and changed a bunch of things?

        Anyway, Apple didn’t even allow multitasking on the first few iPhones – only music, email, and phone services could run concurrently in the background. Somehow, users were fine with that.

        You pay hundreds of dollars to get a smartphone that works well and does the job. BB10 does have much, much more than the first gen iPhone or Android ever did.

        • At launch, Apple went after the Nokia customers, so it was OK to offer little in terms of multi-tasking as those users didn’t know better.
          Launching a smartphone OS in 2013 without background tasks is laughable as BlackBerry (5%) and Android (60%) users expect more from their OS today.
          10.2 with working background tasks is what should have been available at launch. Instead they tried to market an unfinished product and failed miserably. The Z30 would have been the device worth promoting, if they had managed to deliver all those basic features…

    • Sorry, Apple is not the biggest name. They cater for people with quite simple needs and who favour smoothness of operation over multi-tasking.

  2. Well, Ronen.. I’m still ok with waiting it out. It’s just a bit more. Sorry you’re with an American carrier. That explains why you’re more frustrated. Updates come slowly for you guys, and I feel your pain. The rest of us are mostly already on 10.2 officially. So, I don’t mind waiting for 10.2.1, as I know it will be a quick update for me. Getting a bit tired of you though. Hahaha.

    • I think people should get tired of you Mr. Imposter! Stop using my nick and get yourself your own.

      And by the way, Ronen is right! its getting pretty ridiculous at this point for the headless apps debacle! But hey, we shouldn’t be surprised since its the same management that ignored the big China deal and that squashed the SMS 2.0 deal with carriers which would of brought a new source of revenue in for BB.

      Same management, same old S**T! lol
      Still love my BB10 phone

  3. This was announced a while ago, when headless apps were initially revealed in the 10.2 webcast.

    Not really news.

    • Agreed and that’s the reason I was surprised to see announcements made by devs about their app now working as headless apps…

      • Whatever… BlackBerry screwed up! I hate the management!! Stupid BlackBerry!!! Still love my Z10. Long time BlackBerry user and fan

        • it’s strange – some of us who actually are developers and live from making apps, we see that BlackBerry is actually doing the right things – and then you have people like you who don’t really know what they talk about – who talk stupidness.

  4. I am guessing they pushed it further so they could sort out some of the issues Shao and other devs have been complaining about.

    Whatever the reason is, I have some app ideas that I won’t bother finding a dev to build untill apps can properly run in the background.

    • ShaoSoft isn’t really to be taken seriously IMO. The dude was just voicing his opinions as fact. And since it was on the front page of CB, all non-developers and casual fans started to panic and believe whatever he said. You can see from the comments that lots of developers disagreed with him and even called out his incompetence… I wouldn’t take this guy’s word. If anything, BlackBerry just wants to refine some stuff. That is why in the 10.2.1 leaks, the app manager has a lot more features. People running headless apps can therefore know more details of that app

  5. They might have mentioned it a few times on some side pages but when they announced the “rise of headless apps” it was clearly tied to os 10.2. I was just pointing out that we keep on getting promises about it coming “in the next release”. My guess is there will be some key part of headless apps that will only be available in OS 10.3.

    Just read over the original post about the rise of headless apps and tell me what you think: https://developer.blackberry.com/native/documentation/cascades/device_platform/headless_apps/index.html

    And about apple not having this that is not a good reason. Android definitely has it and it’s the main competition these days. This is just another thing that legacy BlackBerry devices can do but BlackBerry 10 still is uncapable. They continue to allow the functionality to remain crippled and we are left waiting over and over again.

    As you can tell I’m frustrated. Remember when BlackBerry used to promote “superapps”? One of the requirements was them being headless :) that means very few BlackBerry 10 apps are super.

    • I understand delay frustrations and broken promises. I get that, but it must come second to making critical arcitectural decisions.

      Headless apps are here in 10.2 – persistent headless apps aren’t, but 10.2.1 is not a long time to wait.

      It’s unfair to speculate that things will be delayed till 10.3 – on what facts?

      You speak of Android, but folks who use it have no expectations of security, so that is not a fair comparison.

      Anyway, they never said NO, they are just in the process of getting it done right. Many, many other great features are on hold such as geofencing, which I really wanted to see in 10.2. However, they did add support for external devices like Pebble Watch – I’m getting one! :)

      • Agreed! Not to mention Android has its sharew of slowness and freezes due to background apps. BlackBerry must get this right the first time.

    • 10.2 = 10.2.0, 10.2.1, 10.2.2, 10.2.3, etc…

      I fully understand – and support – BlackBerry in taking this cautious approach to resource-draining features, – especially when we see how many “hobby” developers are out there, and how few actually do real optimizing – or perhaps they don’t even know what the word means…

      anyway – I guess the topic has been debated up and down back and forth so no need to elaborate on it, – but what few people realize, is that BB10 is a New platform, with New tools, all code is New – and what has been achieved in this short time is actually very good.

      There are those who compare BB10 with old “BBOS” – but that is not possible really. BBOS had reached its limits and could not deliver the UX experience nor hardware support that is up-to-par with the expectations in 2013/2014-2015-2018…

      Already we see not only UX responsivness, but also lightning fast processing – making it possible to take advantage of new hardware – process more data than ever before quicker – and deliver a smooth nice content to the users…

      Even some Android apps runs smoother on a BB10 device, than they do on the Android device they were intended, without *any* modifications or optimizations for the BB10 Android runtime. Note: Not talking about “ported” apps here – but real Android apps just sideloaded onto the BB10…

      • Hahahaha! “hobby” developers… First name that comes to mind is ShaoSoft. He did that hate article on CrackBerry regarding headless apps. It pissed me off because people were misled by his incompetence and believed his opinions as fact. Smh. I agree it’s good BlackBerry is gonna get this headless apps thing properly done. I don’t want my Z10 to take a hit because of poorly coded apps like Wallpaper Changer HD

  6. What effect would running headless apps have on battery life or responsiveness, if any?

    • Headless apps are apps that run in the background. Your phone could easily have 20 headless apps running that you cannot see. Yet, they’re doing stuff you likely do want like getting your sports scores, the weather, news, or messages and notifications. However, if you have 20 or more apps doing that at the same time and you’re trying to edit an image, you cannot expect the device to run smoothly when it begins to get low on CPU idle time and memory. Something has to give. The apps will still be demanding more resources, so your foreground app will suffer and slow down.

      Since the device is burning up your CPU with processing power, your battery life will suffer. As the device gets busier, more OS transactions take place.

      Hope this helps you.

      • It’s important to determine how often you want these background apps updating your device. If you want live updates, it will require more resources than updating once per hour.

        • So if I understand correctly running headless apps may slow down the CPU speed and drain battery faster. Battery life isn’t all that great in the Z10 as it is. I can only imagine all the complainers when folks choose to run headless apps.

          • Hence why it is critical that BlackBerry and BB10 provides enough protection from such misbehaving background tasks. They must also provide an easy to use interface so that users can easily find the source of any performance hogs and shut them down.
            To be fair, many background tasks are well written and won’t consume all available resources to themselves – the QNX based OS will kill them off if they do. However, BlackBerry cannot always trust developers to ensure that their apps will always manage their allocated resources well – cpu & memory.

  7. Ronen- What is it that you want to do that you cannot achieve with APIs today – that a constantly running app would do?

    Background apps get up to 20 seconds today, – and can be triggered in many ways – including incoming call

    It is a VERY good thing that developers now have to think new – rethink their old ways – that’s the only way to make sure the UX experience is smooth, and to optimize battery life.

    • Take for example my favorite app from legacy devices: Profile Changer Pro. I want it to be able to do the same thing that it does when it is open as an active frame when it is headless. Currently it is impossible on BlackBerry 10 but totally possible on BlackBerry 7.

      • Yes, we get it, but do you really want me to list all the stuff BB10 can do that BB7 cannot? Plus, even the things BB7 can do, BB10 does sooo much better!

  8. one trigger that is available for 10.2 now- is geofence – so at least that should be available to use for profile changing…

    that being said – a complete API to work with changing profiles is not yet available – but a long running background would not change that…

    • Triggers are a great way for BlackBerry to make multitasking more efficient but it definitely cannot be the only solution. Otherwise they are offering less than Apple. The best case for this is essentially the fact that no third party instant messaging client can compete with BlackBerry’s feature lacking ones because they would have to be… you guessed it a headless app.

      I am just shocked what is taking so long for BlackBerry to get this through their head. They understood it so well on BlackBerry 7 and now its like they are clueless.

      Give developers what they need to make good apps. If you want a good example just take WhatsApp. They get special treatment to bring their headless app to BlackBerry 10. Want an app as integrated as the LinkedIn one? Crap out of luck. Twitter? Same thing.

      • How is BB offering less than Apple in this context? I don’t get that.

        BBRY isn’t clueless about these things. As a developer/architect myself, I can say that these foundational decisions must be handled with extreme care. BB10 is still only in its infancy. It hasn’t been on the market for more than 10 months, and it was conceived just over a year before that.

        Okay, you have a good point about support for third party messaging apps, but how does that compare with the huge list of features needed in BB10? Everything must be prioritized.

        Perhaps you can write an article about some of those must have features so BBRY can take these into account for a future release. Some of your subscribers can then vote for what they want to see first.

        In BB10, we have the awesome hub. On the iPhone, you have to launch the twitter or LinkedIn app to see anything. I still don’t see the many iPhone users beating Apple over any of these issues. Yet, Apple still sells 9M iPhone 5S/C in a weekend.

        Don’t get bitter. Let’s look at what BB10.2 has brought to the table, and for the stuff still outstanding, let’s help BBRY prioritize those features we want to see.

      • Are you sure those apps don’t just use push?

  9. All the solid BlackBerry supporters can say what they want, but you can’t help but wonder if BlackBerry is killing themselves! I’ve supported BlackBerry back since I rocked a 9630, but moving to a BB10 device does not seem like a viable alternative since there’s a lot of things missing on BB10 that I have on my current 9930… I was once a BlackBerry supporter, but my next device I’m having serious doubts that it will be a BlackBerry device…

  10. It could be that when going through the approval process they noticed some serious issues with the ways devs were building their apps. As a result they’ve beefed up the app monitoring system in 10.2.1 to make sure users could make informed decisions as to which app to run.

  11. Guys I think what you are missing is what I was trying to highlight. For truly great apps to start coming to BlackBerry 10 we NEED headless apps. All of the key native apps you use on BlackBerry 10 are headless. If someone wants to create an awesome GTD tasks app they cannot because they would not be able to alert you. If someone wants to create a Pebble Smartwatch app that runs in the background to push notifications you cannot force users to manually start the app every time. If you need any proof of this just look at the main apps BlackBerry makes for BlackBerry 10.

    I understand that BlackBerry needs to do this right and other platforms did not have this at launch but they are not competing with the Apple and Android of 5 years ago but rather with their current OS AND BlackBerrys Legacy OS that did all of these things. I cannot count how many legacy device users I hear from who try BlackBerry 10 and then run into these growing pains of BlackBerry 10 and downgrade or move off the platform. Its a real shame…

    The thing that really is hurting me is that I am in constant daily communication with some of the top BlackBerry 10 developers (this is way past Shaosoft). Every day I ask a different dev when they are making their app headless and if they are at least working on it for the future. The overwhelming majority are telling me that it either is too crippled to bother with or it will be a few more major OS revisions until BlackBerry gives them what they need to make their app do what users are asking (or have been doing on BlackBerry 7 for years)

    The two developers who actually made their apps headless? Well those are off to OS 10.2.1. I am not saying that BlackBerry should do a bad job by rushing this but they need to get off their asses and deliver. They don’t have the luxury to wait another 6 months for most of their users to get this key functionality.

    The best part is that I have also spoken to the select developer partners BlackBerry does give permissions to run headless apps since OS 10.1. Many of you are running at least one of those apps on your devices.

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