Google has released a YouTube mobile application (”app”) for the BlackBerry, but at the time of this writing it is only compatible with the BlackBerry Storm, and is probably a beta release. This app is not the same as simply viewing YouTube in the Storm web browser and media player, rather this is a custom application designed to:
- Fit the Storm’s 480×360 screen
- Use the Storm’s native menu controls
- Offer special features not found on the web version
How to Download and Install
At the time of this writing, if you attempt to download the YouTube for BlackBerry mobile app by following links on Google.com, you won’t find the link you need. So, here’s what worked for me:
- On your Storm, open the BlackBerry Browser.
- Go to: http://m.google.com/youtube?dc=gyt
- Follow the instructions provided (see screenshots below)
Enter the web address (URL) as shown below:
Click Install Now.
Click the Set application permissions checkbox, then click Download.
Click View so that you can assure your Storm that it’s OK to give this application some special permissions to run.
Press the Escape key to move past this screen. Don’t change anything on this screen!
Wait for the download to complete. It shouldn’t take very long at all.
If all went well, you should get this screen. Click OK.
Press the Menu key and Close your browser.
Running YouTube for BlackBerry
On your Storm Home Screen, open the Applications folder–that’s where downloaded apps normally go.
Find and click the new YouTube icon.
You are warned that your carrier may charge you for data usage. [My Verizon Wireless Email and Web plan allows 5GB per month.]
Now that the lawyers have been satisfied, we can get down to finding and playing videos!
The YouTube Home screen shows one featured video (notice how well you can read it since the normal (and busy) web page isn’t squished into a small screen).
Also, you have three easy-to-click buttons for Search, Popular Videos, and My Account.
Let’s do a Search.
Typing is done in the Storm’s native text editor, which is so much easier than trying to type on a web page in the browser.
The search begins. What’s cool is that your searches are saved for easy re-use.
All the videos that match that search are rendered as thumbnails on a very cool slider that uses the Storm touchscreen. Touch the slider and slide the thumbnails left or right. When the sliding stops, the selected video’s details are presented below the slider. Click the one you want to view.
The video takes only a moment to get started…
…and there you go. Be aware that not all videos will be rendered full-screen depending on the original dimensions (aspect ratio) of the recording. The one below is shown like a DVD widescreen rendering.
Here’s a video shown like a DVD fullscreen rendering. I can’t find any way to control how it’s rendered. Apparently, you get what you get.
If you want to control the video while it’s playing, click the screen or the Menu key. You’ll get the video controls to Pause/Play, Rewind, Fast Forward, and Mute.
I suspect this is a beta version (at the time of this writing)–the Rewind and Fast Forward controls don’t work for me.
At the end of the video, you can Replay, Do More, or choose from Related Videos. Or you can press the Escape key to step back
If you step back to the YouTube Home screen and select Popular Videos, here’s what you see:
Or, if you select My Account, you can log in to your YouTube account (if you have one):
Here’s what you can do from your My Account screen:
My initial attempts at using the app were very satisfying. Even when used in an area of weak-to-moderate signal, the videos like the one above played very well.
I did encounter one error (see error message below). I backed up and tried again, and the video played OK the next time. Since this article was written immediately after I learned of the release, I haven’t used this app enough to know how frequent errors are. I will update this article if/when I learn more.
YouTube for BlackBerry on non-Storm Models
I don’t know whether this app will eventually be available for other models, such as the Pearl, Curve, or Bold. I tried to download and install the app on my BlackBerry Curve 8330, and here’s what I got:
Since I suspect this app release is a beta version (I learned of it through the “grapevine” and can’t find a Google-published link to the download), I don’t want to draw any firm conclusions yet. I’ve been burned before with YouTube Mobile claims, so I’ll just say that my initial experience was good and leave it at that.
- YouTube Mobile Now Works Great with BlackBerry Browser (old, read PostScripts)