10 Must-have BlackBerry applications
A quick Google search for Blackberry apps will reveal numerous blogs and articles full of glowing reviews and recommendations of many different kinds of Blackberry apps. Since I recently aquired a Blackberry, I felt it my duty to add another entry into this ever growing list of must-haves. Although, to not look like I copied every other list out there, I’ve tried to focus on some more obscure apps as well as the well-known, main-stream apps. Also note that all of the below apps currently live on my BlackBerry.
Let me know if you find this useful and if you have other suggestions, especially apps that might not be that mainstream but definitely are cool and useful, please let me know!
The application that I have used the most by far so far is the Pandora music player. Being available for multiple platforms, Pandora essentially lets you pick an artist or a song and it plays music by that artist as well as other artists within the same genre. At first, I was a bit dubious as to whether this actually would work or not but I was pleasantry surprised after just five minutes. I’ve found myself listening to Pandora for hours without hearing a song that I don’t really like or don’t think fits that particular “station.” To make things even better, I can listen to Pandora on my computer and on my PS3 as well. I was particularly pleased about the latter since my PS3 is connected to my stereo at home. In other words, it’s a fantastic app and absolutely worth using for all music lovers. I use it heavily on a daily basis.
Download at: http://www.pandora.com
Slacker is another music app that also works very well. I discovered Slacker before Pandora but have since mostly used Pandora. The difference is simple but substantial. Slacker plays music along genres, Pandora plays music according to your artist selection. So, Slacker has ‘rock’ categories while Pandora lets you pick the actual artist. Having said that, Slacker is still a great app if you just want to listen to a specific genre in general and I’ve included it in my top list even though I hardly use it anymore.
Download at: BlackBerry App World
Shazam…such an odd name but what an amazing app. Just having tried it recently, it’s basically an app that will connect you to the music you don’t know but wish that you did. Let me explain: say you’re driving down the road, listening to the radio, you switch channels and hear parts of a song that you like but you don’t know the artist. Launch Shazam, hold it to your speaker and Shazam will find your song for you with a convenient link to buy it. Shazam! Will I ever use it? Now and then, maybe, but definitely cool!
Download at: http://www.shazam.com (free trial)
4. Opera and Bolt
Opera Mini is almost a must have for Blackberry users. Although the built-in browser will do for the most part, in some cases it’s very convenient to be able to look at a site the way you would on a regular computer. Opera doesn’t support flash and all that other fancy stuff though so it’s still lacking in functionality. But, it’s a good complement to the Blackberry browser.
I also wanted to mention Bolt in the same sentence as Opera since it’s basically does some similar things. One added feature is that you supposedly can stream video in Bolt, although my limited testing was not able to successfully do this. However, if you’re looking for a bit more than what Opera offers, check out Bolt. It’s a very competent alternative
Facebook, the most popular time-waster at the moment, has been available on the Blackberry for quite a while now. It’s an easy way to stay in touch with all your friends anytime, whether it be at work, on the road or at home. A must-have for any Facebook and Blackberry user.
Download at: BlackBerry App World
MySpace, the previously most popular time-waster, is also represented on the Blackberry platform. The functionality is very much like that of the Facebook app so in other words, it lets you keep in touch with all your friends and pretend-friends. A must-have for any MySpace and Blackberry user.
Download at: BlackBerry App World
7. Google Apps
Google, the new master of the Internet world, as naturally made it a point to have a presence on every platform imaginable, not to mention that they make their own mobile platform. However, even on the Blackberry, there are plenty of representation and since these apps are all related, I’ll mention them all in one go.
Google Maps is probably the most popular of these, I’d imagine. Connecting to the massive Google Maps database and GPS enabled, it’s the perfect app to replace the Yellow pages once and for all. With GPS navigation and even street view, it’s a regularly used app on my BlackBerry.
Google Mail is next on the list. Although the Blackberry easily lets you connect your personal email accounts, Google actually has a very good BlackBerry app that provides similar capabilities and with an interface that’s very similar to what you see on your computer. If you want to keep personal stuff separate from business, it’s the perfect app to use. One thing I would point out is that it is lacking a bit in features. Attachments, for example, are non-existent. Annoying.
Google Search is part of the downloadable Google App and features an interesting option to search by voice. Although I haven’t tried it that much at this point, it seems to work ok for the most part.
Google Talk is the instant messaging system that’s tightly integrated into Gmail. Although I rarely use it with friends, I’ve found it useful for use with ReQall, another one of my favorite apps.
Download at: http://www.google.com
Ever have problems remembering what to buy at the store or forget to send that report to your boss before you head out the door on vacation? ReQall is the solution to your problems. ReQall is basically a reminder of sorts. It allows you to set up reminders for to-do lists, meetings, add shopping lists and other things. ReQall will then “jog” your memory through various means, such as SMS, instant messaging (Google Talk in my case) or even email (premium edition). With the BlackBerry app you can also easily add new reminder either by typing them in or even by speaking. You can also type your reminder into IM and there is even a toll-free number you can call to record reminders, hear updates and so on. I found it to be just what I need to remember things.
Download at: http://www.reqall.com
Qik is a very interesting little application. Essentially, it’s a video recorder. But wait, there’s more: it’s a live video recorder. Yes, that is correct. Register on their website, fire up the Qik app and hit record and within a few seconds, you will see a live feed on the website coming from the camera of your phone. Very cool! So, going on a crazy ride at the fair? Let your family in the lower 48 watch all the craziness while you’re at it.
One important note about Qik: streaming video requires quite a bit of bandwidth. The BlackBerry Curve I have is only EVDO so the upstream is pretty terrible. However, if you have a RevA device, the quality is pretty good. If worst comes to worst, you can always record and then upload. Qik will also upload the video to Facebook and other social sites based on your configuration on your profile. A fun application although maybe not very useful.
Download at: http://www.qik.com
The Blackberry is not only great at email, it’s also great at instant messaging. From being able to constantly be connected with my work, I can also use all the other IM clients, such as MSN, Yahoo!, Google and so on, to keep connected with all my friends. Then I found BeeJiveIM.
BeeJive IM is all these clients put together in one plus some. BeeJive supports all the regular IM clients (A.OL, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Google, Jabber) plus Facebook and MySpace chat. The best of it is that you have it all available in one program and the program also looks significantly better than any of the standalone clients. Having used this program on my PPC previously, I’ve found it to be a good program before and I was excited to see a version for the BlackBerry as well. A must for all your IM needs.
Download at: http://www.beejive.com (30 day trial)