The Blaq – Twitter client coming soon

The Blaq Introduction Series: UI Overview

Welcome to the first installment of the Blaq Introduction Series. Over the next week or so, we will bring to you a new aspect or feature of Blaq that you may not have known about or that may need a bit of explaining. Blaq isn’t just any ordinary Twitter client, so why should it have ordinary features? In this series, we will both introduce you to some of these extraordinary features, and also explain how they work.

For part one of the series, we’re going to be taking a brief tour of the overall user interface, including a few of the interesting or unique elements that make Blaq particularly special.

The Timelines

Here’s something we’re pretty proud of. Blaq’s timelines are a little different than you might be used to, in both looks and function.

The Home, Mention and DM timelines are all loaded side by side, and can even be set to refresh at different intervals in the settings menu. This is great for fine-tuning Blaq’s performance and efficiency on your device. Need a little more life out of your battery today? Drop down your DM and Home timeline refresh rates, and only let it check frequently for Mentions! One of the many mantras of a BlackBerry Super App is efficiency, and Blaq gives you unprecedented control over your device’s consumption.

The top icon dock, or “Top Shelf” as we like to call it, can be hidden or shown with a simple press of the space bar on keyboard devices without ever losing your place in the timeline. This gives you the option for more or less screen real estate for your tweets, whatever your preference may be.

There are also keyboard shortcuts for switching between timelines quickly, and you can even decide whether or not to display the smooth, sliding animated transitions between them. With trackball/trackpad devices, one quick flick left or right will slide you right into the next timeline for the ultimate ease of use.

Mentions and DMs couldn’t be any more noticeable in your timeline with prominent blue and green identifiers, respectively.

Blaq aims to make browsing your friends’ statuses easy and fast.

Image Previewing

When it comes to images, Blaq handles common picture links a little differently than you might be used to. If you see an image link (e.g. TwitPic, yFrog, TweetPhoto), simply clicking on the tweet will launch the Blaq image viewer, which will show you the uploaded image right from the timeline. But that’s not all. Once the image you want to view is up on your screen, you can press the BlackBerry menu button, and select “Save Picture” to download the image to your phone.

Viewing a Tweet

Once you open a particular status, you’re met with a concentrated look at that particular message. Your typical options are all there. Selecting the reply icon will present you with the option to either reply to the sender or reply to all usernames in the message. The retweet icon lets you choose to either retweet with edits or retweet in fashion immediately. You can also send a direct message to the user from this screen. Scrolling down to the autor’s username and selecting it will take you to his or her profile page, and if the status is in reply to another, the blue bubbles to the right will take you the status being replied to.

Profile Page

For every user, there is a profile. You can get to a user’s profile several different ways, but once you’re here, you again are presented with several different options. You land on the user’s profile image, which if clicked will launch the same image viewer found on the timeline. You can follow or unfollow the user, depending on your previous friendship status, block them, or even view the user’s friends and followers. At the top of the page, you can select the user’s tweet count to view his timeline, and if he follows you, you will see the “BlaqOps” option at the upper-right corner — more on that later in this series.

New Tweet Screen

So you need to post a new tweet, eh? Blaq will have you doing it in style. Attach images from your pictures folder, shorten links with the custom URL shortener (Blaq also supports your own custom URL shorteners as well), launch the Friend Picker (also launches when an “@” symbol is typed) or attach your current location! There’s also an account picker, but again — we’ll cover that later in this series, too.


Blaq supports WhatTheTrend for when you need a little more detail as to what exactly the top trending topics are really all about. Take part in conversations that you otherwise may not have even known you could relate to!


In the settings menu, you can really drill down to make your Blaq experience truly yours. Change the refresh rates of your individual timelines, choose your picture uploading service and URL shortener, or even customize your notifications. You can also change your font size and manage your BlaqOut lists — you guessed it…more on that later.

So what do you think? We’ve been pretty closed-lipped about how things work with Blaq and, like most in-development apps, we’ve kept the looks of the app a secret for the most part, save for a few controlled leaks.

We’ll get more in-depth over the next week on some of the features that truly qualify Blaq as a Super App. We’ve hinted at a few of them, and we’ll get to those and a couple others as we get closer and closer to launch.

Stay tuned right here to catch the next installment of the Blaq Introduction Series, coming very soon.

All the best, and All. Blaq. Everything.

The Blaq Introduction Series: Integration

One of the key aspects that qualify a BlackBerry app as a Super App is integration. More specifically, it needs to have tight integration with native BlackBerry apps. People ask me quite often, “Just what makes you think that Blaq, a Twitter client, has what it takes to be a Super App?”

Well, there are many reasons, and in fact, Blaq actually hits all six of the major Super App criteria. But one of the areas where Blaq really shines as being particularly “Super” is its integration.

Contact Linking

At first thought, it might seem kind of pointless to have your twitter friends linked to contacts on your phone. A lot of us have a good majority of Twitter friends that we don’t “know in real life” or have any contact info for. But where linking becomes really useful, is in what you can do with it after you’ve made the connection.

Scrolling through your contact book and find a Twitter friend that you want to mention? Just hit the BlackBerry menu button, select the “Blaq…” option and with the click of a button, you’re in the Blaq compose screen directing a message at your buddy’s Twitter handle.

From the same menu, you have immediate access to your linked friends’ Twitter profile pages as well. Add these options to a contact that you do “know in real life” and have true, traditional information for, and suddenly, you’ve got quite the resource for that person, where you just had bland basics before.

Messages App Integration

Nothing makes an application scream native quite like seeing messages in the official Messages App on your device. With Blaq, you have the choice of getting a Messages notification for every mention and every direct message you receive. You can also choose to allow one and not the other, or none at all. You might ask what the point would be of having notifications in two places. Well, sometimes you don’t always have the time to scroll through timelines looking for specific messages. Blaq’s Messages integration allows you to pick and choose which messages you want to view and/or reply to right away, and with single click, takes you right to the information you want — right now.

Tweet Page from Browser

Viewing a site or article on your BlackBerry browser, and want to share it with your Twitter followers? Blaq makes it easy. Simply open the BlackBerry menu, select “Tweet Page with Blaq” and you’re instantly composing a new tweet with the link there and ready to go.

Tweet #nowplaying

One thing BlackBerry users have been clamoring for is the ability to instantly tweet what they are currently listening to on their phone, like their iPhone-toting friends have been doing for some time. With the arrival of Blaq, the wait is over. Blaq cleverly takes the song and artist information from the track currently playing on your device, adds the popular #nowplaying prefix and dumps it into a new tweet. But as with most everything in Blaq, you still have ultimate control. You then have the ability to edit the tweet as you see fit, add your favorite quote from the track, whatever you want to do.

With Blaq, we wanted to make it feel like it truly belongs on the device. Like it was built-in. We’re really proud of how natural everything feels, and it’s hard to think of using Twitter any other way with BlackBerry now — when Blaq just fits so good.

The Blaq

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