This is a new feature we are introducing here at BlackBerry Sync. We want to raise awareness of the apps available and also give a little insight what goes on behind the curtain for BlackBerry Developers and assist aspiring developers as well. Today the spotlight rests on one of our favorites: YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus.
Alex Quilici is the CEO of YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus. YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus is available in the BlackBerry App World and is free, but also has subscription services for translation services to turn your voicemail from voice to text. There’s other great features as well, such as syncing your address book, choosing different voicemail messages for different callers, and also letting callers know that you don’t accept calls from blocked callers as well.
Here are the features of YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus:
YouMail unlocks your mobile voicemail: - Scroll through and play your voice messages in any order. - Forward them, save them forever, even organize them in folders. - Force callers to expose their caller id to leave messages. - Access your voicemail through e-mail or any computer. When you download YouMail, you also get access to http://www.youmail.com, where you can: - Set up personal greetings heard only by specific family, friends, or co-workers. - Play and use prerecorded greetings supplied by other YouMailers. - Block specific people from leaving voicemail. - Create your own folders to help you organize your voicemail. - Connect to facebook, so your friend's pictures show up when they leave messages. - Easily post messages to your facebook wall, twitter, or your blog.
Alex answered our questions and here they are:
What apps do you currently have available for the BlackBerry devices and do you currently have any plans for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet?
YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus.
For the playbook: Not a BB specific app at this point, given we have an Android app and it will run well in the emulator, and the fact that the PlayBook market is a fraction of the size of the other tablets.
How long have you been developing apps for the BlackBerry?
Since February, 2009.
What was your first app you developed for BlackBerry? What has changed since then?
YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus.
RIM added an App Store, which was good. They added touch screen devices, which added complexity, since you have to develop for Touch Screens, KeyBoards, and now Hybrids. Android has taken off in size while RIM has declined.
What inspired you or interested you into developing apps for BlackBerry?
When we started it was the major alternative platform for iPhone, and we thought it had a desperate need for a Visual Voicemail application.
What are your favorite personal apps for BlackBerry?
YouMail, of course. Facebook is used often too.
What is the biggest or most difficult challenge for developing apps for BlackBerry?
A fractured platform: too many versions of the OS, too many different screen sizes, complexity around touch screen and keyboard.
What are the major differences in developing for OS 5, OS 6, OS 7, and QNX?
We have focused solely on OS 5.0 to this point, since we need to be backward compatible for our large audience of users, many of whom are on 5.0. We haven’t yet explored developing anything specifically for 7.0 or QNX.
What are you currently developing now?
Lots of improvements to our current app.
What sort of apps can we look forward to from you in the future?
We are trying to dramatically improve our people communicate on their smart phones, so ultimately we’ll have applications that tackle other key areas of communication, not just voicemail.
What for you, are the most rewarding incentives of developing a BlackBerry app?
A really large audience of dedicated BB users who really appreciate what we’re developing, and who are often willing to upgrade to our premium services.
In comparison to Android and iPhone apps, how does the development for BlackBerry apps compare?
It’s significantly harder and more complex, and requires much more expense. We find that what can be done on Android in 4 weeks takes 3 months on the BB.
What advice would you give to an inspiring developer who wants to develop BlackBerry apps?
Make sure you can build something that can take advantage of BB’s global reach.
Is there anything you’d like to add or say as a developer to the BlackBerry community?
Focus not just on the app, but on the backend that you’re likely going to have that can support it.
Build first for Android or iPhone and then port to BlackBerry – you’ll learn a lot and be able to build your BB app much faster and know exactly what it needs.
We’d like to thank Alex for taking the time for us, and also invite all BlackBerry developers to get in touch with us if they’re interested in taking part in the Spotlight and share some insight with our readers. If there’s anything that you, our readers, would be particularly interested in, please let us know.