Standard Android handsets will cause you to access Google Now when you swipe up from the home button. BlackBerry Priv, however, is ready for much more than that.

An upward swipe on the first Android BlackBerry smartphone will provide three options instead of one, two of which are customizable. The Google Now options is locked, but the right and left slots can be transformed into shortcuts for, well, pretty much anything.

The user guide manual describes (PDF) on page 17 how to make it happen.

Go to either the notification tray or the app drawer, search for the "Settings" menu and open it. Scroll downward until you reach the "Swipe shortcuts" menu. When you find it, tap on it. You can now choose the desired options for the right and left shortcut circles. Tap them individually and enjoy your phone added functionality.

To test the added capacity, try any of the below actions after you find the two shortcut circles.

• To open an app with a gesture, tap Open app, and then tap the desired application.

• To call a contact with only one touch, tap Speed dial, and then tap the important contact. For most of us, this would be 911.

• To quickly send an email or a text message to a contact, tap Send message, then tap Email/Text contact, and then finalize by tapping the destination contact.

• To set the gesture to start an action, tap "All shortcuts."

If you changed your mind and want to replace the shortcuts, you may do so. Tap "Clear" near the icon of whatever feature you assigned and watch the left or right shortcut circle become empty.

On the testing the device, the left side was occupied by the BlackBerry Device Search, while the right shortcut had BlackBerry Hub assigned to it. The default Hub positioning to the right is not random. With the BlackBerry 10, a similar movement was used to open it.

How and what you choose to assign depends on the way you use your handset. The only thing limiting the shortcuts is the imagination. You might get quick access to an app or to create a speed dial contact that is easy to reach. Maybe you're a texting enthusiast and need a shortcut to open up the SMS compose tab. BlackBerry Priv has a number of shortcuts already embedded so you can choose from them as well.

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