Thousands of apps now inhabit BlackBerry's App World, but many of the categories definitely seem overpopulated with overpriced, duplicated and sometimes completely worthless selections. Compelling and highly entertaining free apps can fulfill the mobile needs of most every BlackBerry user, but possessing the patience and digital dexterity to scroll through the inordinate supply of choices may seem impossible. Well known apps and services like the BlackBerry App World, the official Facebook app and Google Maps should be loaded on everyone's smartphones at this point. We've also previously discussed the superior benefits of ScoreMobile
and Uber Twitter
. However, for folks interested in music, restaurants, security and other services, a few specific -- and absolutely essential -- free apps should alleviate the daunting and confusing task of selecting the proper offering.
Saddled with a plodding, unattractive and limited default browser, certain smartphone owners often decry the surfing capabilities of their "SuckBerrys." A variety of alternative browsers exist, though, which can significantly simplify and accelerate Internet action (while also adding the desired extras that should, by now, be ordinary). Opera Mini
has long served as the premier BlackBerry browser alternative. After experiencing a shaky Beta period
, Opera again revolutionizes mobile surfing with the official Mini 5. The initial welcome screen, which features default links to Facebook, Twitter, the New York Times and AccuWeather, immediately impresses, as does the (Gasp!) incredible ability to enjoy tabbed browsing. In another Mini bonus, the My Opera feature enables easy blogging and photo sharing, and integrates social networking activities.
(A quick aside: Since people obviously support, sometimes vehemently, specific news networks, media apps serve as an individual matter of preference. So, if the Times isn't exactly your preferred medium for information, apps for most major outlets exist. But, for one recommendation, the smooth and comprehensive Thomson Reuters News Pro
definitely tends to stand out from the rest of the herd. And, for immediate access to specific and extensive financial news, the new Blue Mobile app
enables users to effortlessly track customizable portfolios, watch lists, and every major market.)
Three years ago, Lala (RIP) pioneered free music streaming
. An abundance of similar services now litters the streaming landscape, including well-known entities like Pandora, Blip.fm, and Last.fm. For BlackBerry owners, Slacker Radio
provides particularly exceptional benefits, including excellent auditory capabilities. After a quick and easy registration process, the app's welcome screen immediately offers an extensive assortment of genres including Blues, Classical, Hip Hop, Jazz and Comedy -- each with numerous individual channels. Slacker also allows users to customize stations, store favorites and recently played selections, and – of course – search for specific tunes and artists. For listeners more interested in popular songs and themes, Slacker Spotlight and Top Stations both keep up with current trends.
The Role Call Tasks and Reminders
apps empower BlackBerry owners with the ability to add events to their calendars, complete with notes, reminders and sharing capabilities. EverNote
, though, serves as a comprehensive means of performing basically the same tasks, with a host of other synchronizing options. The program enables the effortless organization -- and protective storage -- of photos, messages, bookmarks, notes, tasks and other important data. Categorizing, sorting, and simplifying the amassed smartphone information can often become overwhelming, or just overlooked. Also, it's compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.
Various App World choices exist which can guide users to local eateries, theaters and hotspots, but Poynt
delivers numerous benefits in a highly attractive and easily navigable format. The initial screen immediately welcomes the user, via GPS, with current local weather conditions and a 6-item menu wheel. The wheel offers search options, each with a plethora of sub-categories, like People, Businesses, Gas Prices (vicinity and price), Restaurants (with an impressive list of cuisines and themes) and Movies (by location or specific film). With the Map It! feature, users can then instantly access detailed directions. Poynt also enables easy information sharing, including the maps and directions, through both e-mail and popular social networking services.
The absence of alphabetical and numerical associations on the BlackBerry keypad serves as an incredibly frustrating flaw. Sure, some (highly annoying) people can remember which number typically hosts the letter "T." For most, having to dial a number like 1-800-DIRECTV
from a BlackBerry poses an infuriating dilemma that Letters Dialer
calmly solves. This absolute necessity fixes that maddening keypad predicament.
Lookout Mobile Security:
This appropriately named app provides three primary and absolutely necessary functions. Lookout
scans for threats and bolsters the gadget with stout anti-virus protection; it also enables users to backup important and sentimental data (including numbers, photos and messages) on a secure server in case a phone disappears (or an owner just gets thrown in a swimming pool); and, in the event someone does
misplace their BlackBerry or someone steals it, Lookout allows the forlorn owner to enact an awesome phone finder feature from any PC. Perhaps coolest of all, users can also activate an alarm signal from the PC, or completely wipe the phone clean in case it never materializes. The free Lookout app is currently in Beta, so definitely jump on it before a well-deserved monetary charge is applied.
ShowMe! Fotos and ShowMe! Photo Blogger:
The ShowMe! apps don't provide a diverse array of options or capabilities, but they do serve as a great method for easily sharing photos. With Fotos
, which is ideal for families and distant friends, users can effortlessly disseminate pictures via email. It also grants the ability to create color borders, add titles and captions, and make private (or public) notes about each individual picture. For those who don't necessarily need to share photographs with a large group of people, it can also be utilized to create hilariously awesome fake motivational posters. ShowMe! Photo Blogger
performs a similar service, but instead of sharing the photos with individuals and groups of people, it provides a great shortcut for uploading pics, with captions, to sites like Wordpress and Blogger.com.
Sometimes people – particularly commuters and travelers – just need to unwind with some enthralling time-killers. Free games and brainteasers certainly abound in App World, but Number Cruncher
boasts the highest ranking of all options. If number games don't particularly entertain, though, Labyrinth Lite
(which is modeled after the imposing old-school wooden "toy") delivers 10 addictive ball-balancing levels.