1. EFats's Avatar
    I had the chance to go to Japan, so what should I take with me? My trusty Passport SE, of course! No backup, but my companions had iPhones so I figured we'd be ok. My take on it is that if I have to use Android apps on a BB10, this is preferable to using an Android phone. I "need" the basic phone functionality (email, calendar, PIM, etc) mre which BB10 is better at and the apps are just gravy.

    Basic Connectivity
    No issues, was locked on to NTT Docomo 4G nearly all the time. Sometimes Softbank as well. I elected not to get a local SIM (these are usually data-only and work still needed to be able to call me), and I wasn't about to carry around a WiFi hotspot. At any rate I don't have crazy roaming fees so I expected to be able to keep costs under control.
    There are lots of free WiFi spots around the cities I was at so no issues getting online. In fact, I would give the Passport the slight edge in being able to more reliably and quickly connect vs the iPhones.

    Maps
    I wanted offline maps, Magic Earth was the clear solution here as it was the only one that easily handled searching of place names in Japan. What's not to like anyways? It's free, no known trackers and easy to use. I left this on all day, only minimizing when it was not in active use. My only one complaint is that it does not handle subway/train routing very well, even though it has the option. But hey, my party had me do the route finding on my Passport instead of using their iPhones.
    I also had CascaRun Pro on all day just for kicks. I did not have any battery usage problems at all, despite being out and about close to 12 hours each day. Plenty of juice left by the time I had to get back to the hotel.
    I will have to admit, in the more less frequented areas I did resort to Google Maps twice, but hey, it worked just fine in the browser anyways.

    Translation
    I have a new favourite, Microsoft Translate. Yah, sure it's an Android app, but it works perfectly. Typing in, camera photo or even voice, it was easy to use and it seemed to work. It was even able to detect anglicized Japanes e words and translate them appropriately. The only thing is it doesn't work offline, but this is Microsoft's problem in not being able to get the language download working properly. (It doesn't work on Android or Windows 10).

    Other Apps
    There were some dedicated apps for Japan for subway and train routiing info, finding restaurants, tourist info, etc. I used the official government or transit provider apps and had no problem running these on the Passport, so no real limitations there either.

    Not hot
    One big complaint, the camera! When it worked, it worked, but for some reason it typically failed to focus properly on the first shot most times. I got in the habit of just always taking 2 shots just to be sure.

    Other phone observations
    • iPhone is the clear winner in the 4-5 cities I visited, including the two largest. "Everybody" used an iPhone, I would even guess it's around 90%. A very distant 2nd pace was Sony and the others were just noise.
    • Of the iPhones, I would say the pre-notch, smaller iPhones had the edge followed by the newer small iPhones. In fact I would say "nobody" used any of the phablet phones. I only saw 2 large iPhones used by locals, and one of them was my friend who had spent substantial time living abroad. It's probably no surprise that Apple and Sony are 1 and 2 given they are the only ones with smaller models. It was pretty obvious that anyone sporting the more massive phones were tourists.
    • I saw exactly one BlackBerry, a silver/black K1 or K2 (sorry, not up to speed on the Android devices') on my last day there. Odd given that I saw a few flip phones (they looked quite new and were used by younger workers, not grandparents).
    • Majority of people did not use headphones/earbuds. Of the people who used headphones, most still used wired earbuds, even if they had the new iPhones. Very few used wireless earbuds as far as I could tell. Nobody used full-sized headphones.
    • Maybe this is just me, but my friends who live there 'fessed up that while they had Facebook accounts, they updated them maybe once a year, if at all. The messenger of choice was Line anyways so nobody relied on FB products that much.


    Yah, as you can guess, still happily running my Passport in 2019!
    04-19-19 10:07 PM
  2. Invictus0's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing your experience, I'm surprised the battery was able to keep up. A day's worth of data, GPS, and android app usage sounds pretty draining, it's bad enough as is on actual Android devices.
    skinnymike1 likes this.
    04-20-19 06:57 PM
  3. Bbnivende's Avatar
    It appears that OP is aided and abetted by Cobalt software enhancements.
    04-20-19 08:00 PM
  4. vimagreg's Avatar
    Very good story, thanks for sharing. The Japanese phone market is really unique. They still use the so-called "dumb phones" a lot. I have some Japanese friends and all of them still uses flip-phones on a daily basis. They have smartphones too, but normally only for work and for email access. And yes, small iPhones mostly. One of them told me one day that is because of the privacy concerns he has. Maybe that's the same for at least a good part of people there. Just a guess, though. My communication with them is mostly at iMessage, since I don't use Line.

    Really, really interesting experience and description.
    04-20-19 08:20 PM
  5. EFats's Avatar
    It appears that OP is aided and abetted by Cobalt software enhancements.
    Nope! Are you surprised? Only my Z30 has Cobalt's stuff installed just for trying things.

    This is a 'stock' Passport SE with no hacks whatsoever. All the Android apps I use will run on any BlackBerry 10 device (presumably with latest OS update)

    There are clearly plenty of things that are possible to do while only requiring Android 4.3 and lower level of compatibility. I mean, there is image recognition, GPS mapping with 3D displays, audio recording, etc.

    I should also say that the Passport was really good to use on all the other basic smartphone aspects with native apps. Stuff like checking emails, connecting to network, taking notes, etc. I was far more efficient than the iPhones around me.
    I was pretty impressed with the battery, I really thought I would have to be charging up mid-day or judiciously killing apps, but nope!

    Right now I feel that I have to compromise in resorting to some Android apps. But in terms of functionality, I am still not limited, no compromise.
    I've got a couple of nice 'droids in the drawer, along with a Windows 10 phone, and a new iPhone is in the mail. But it's BB10 that is my daily driver still!
    elfabio80 and cbosdell like this.
    04-24-19 06:38 PM
  6. Bogdan Tudor Dan's Avatar
    Nice, thanks for sharing this.
    I am also using a BlackBerry Passport SE as my daily driver. :d

    Posted via CB10
    04-29-19 01:11 AM
  7. mh1983's Avatar
    Nice post. Almost tempts me to get a Passport just for travel purposes (aside from my paper passport, of course).

    Posted via CB10
    05-02-19 06:59 PM
  8. BlackBerry Wine's Avatar
    Interesting Post, after reading I tried to load Majic Earth and Line on my Passport SE to see if I could, no way. Guess I won't go to Japan.

     Rick
    05-03-19 11:30 AM
  9. EFats's Avatar
    I haven't tried Line yet, but you couldn't get Magic Earth working?
    I just downloaded APK and installed it, nothing special.

    BTW, it was interesting seeing how people use their phones differently. Like wondering why the Xperia have their power button and volume in such an odd location? Well it ain't so odd if you grasp it with your left hand because you're always doing something else with your right hand, like hanging on to the train, fishing for cash, etc.

    Posted via CB10
    05-03-19 01:13 PM

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