10 Must Have BlackBerry Apps
Owning a BlackBerry smart phone means you are capable of doing things other phones can't. We know your BlackBerry can handle phone calls, text messages, and email with ease. What about other things? Can your BlackBerry handle streaming music? What about finance? For most of these things, you need an app. To get BlackBerry apps, you can either find it online and install it through your BlackBerry browser or you can install them through a repository called BlackBerry App World. If you just recently purchased a BlackBerry or if you just like apps, here is a list of must have BlackBerry apps. Most of these apps are free. Some offer a free version with an updated "pro" version and some are limited trials.
1. Documents To Go
Documents To Go is a must have app for businessmen and students. Documents To Go allows users to view, edit, and create Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. It also comes with a functional pdf viewer. Documents To Go is to BlackBerry like Office is to Windows. Documents To Go is developed by DataViz which is now owned by RIM. Most new BlackBerry smart phones come with a trial version of Documents To Go. You can buy a one-time license to use the premium edition for $19.99. If you are coming from iPhone or Android, $20 for an app seems a bit high but an app this powerful and full featured is worth every penny. If you are a student, this means you can type your term paper right on your BlackBerry anywhere you go. Ever though of creating an Excel spreadsheet and doing accounting work on your BlackBerry? Now you can with Sheets To Go. Still need convincing? I'm typing all of this on Word To Go.
Keeping track of finance is an important job. Most smart phones have the Bank Of America app and the BlackBerry is no exception. On the BlackBerry however, the Bank Of America app is nothing more than a browser link that redirects to the Bank Of America website. You would think that a huge national bank would have something nicer than a cheesy bookmark. Nevertheless, I use this app every day. I make lots of transaction and I use the Bank Of America app to keep track of them. I also use this app to transfer funds into my savings. Despite the dull browsing experience, Bank Of America offer lots of features for those enrolled in online banking. Another thing I don't like about this app is the log in experience. It can get redundant. If you want to see an overview of your account, first you have to run the Bank Of America app. Second, you have to click "Mobile Banking Sign In". Third, you have to click "Sign In" if you have your user name saved. If not you have to enter it. Fourth, you have to enter your password (understandable). Fifth, you will get a welcome splash screen and have to click "Enter". Sixth, you have to click the "Accounts" link. This can get old fast. Why not just show your accounts after you entered your password? Despite the browser link and maze to log in, I still recommend using this app instead of pointing your browser to the site. That way you are sure to pass through their secure server. The last thing you need is to mistype and be presented with a phishing site that steals your log in credentials. I would stay away from consolidating services like Pageonce. I've used it in the past and while they do a great job, I decided it wasn't a good idea for me to allow a third party service access to things like my bank information.
Amazon is arguably the ultimate shopping mall on BlackBerry. Reacting to our needs, Amazon gives BlackBerry users a dedicated Amazon app that is very good. This app has no "obvious" ads. Based on your account and past purchases, Amazon will suggest some products that are "recommended to you". The Amazon app is very nice. You have access to everything that is available on your desktop browser. You can access your cart, wish list, remembers, and account settings. I love being able to view my orders. You can even track your packages. Amazon makes shopping easy. You can easily find yourself spending hundreds of dollars if you're not careful. This app is well built. You have to get it. Install it now.
If Amazon is the Walmart of the BlackBerry, then eBay is Target. eBay also offers a full featured app for BlackBerry users. Their app appears similar the Amazon's app. They also offer all the features you'd expect on the desktop browser. Having used the app for a fair length of time, I can conclude that this app is not as clean as Amazon's app. There are some bugs. If you view the full description and there is a picture, it will be cut off. Also what I find anoyying is when you are interested in an item and you finally decide to bid, it tells you that item cannot be bid on a mobile device. Why not just omit these items from my search? I have left a few auctions cold because of this. All in all, this app is still very good. I like having real time control over my watched auctions. Now I don't have to be stuck on my desktop when I am in a bidding war. Put the eBay app on your must install list. It compliments Amazon very well.
In order to keep track of my eBay and other transaction, I have the PayPal app. The PayPal app is like a nicer looking version of the Bank Of America app. After I log in, I can instantly see my balance. I can also track my eBay purchases as well as other transactions where I paid with PayPal. If you actively use eBay, it's a good idea to install this app. You can also send money although requesting money is not featured. What is also missing is the option to transfer funds to and from your linked bank account. Despite missing these features, its still a good idea to pick up this free app.
Syncing files is a sweet service no smart phone should be without. Luckily, BlackBerry is not excluded. With Dropbox, you can keep your BlackBerry up to date with file in your Dropbox account. As of now, you can only upload pictures from this app. This is true for all smart phone platforms. There is a work around. Despite the native limitations, installing and using Dropbox means having access to important files instantly. You can save an important Word document, put it in you Dropbox, and have it instantly on your phone. I've put stuff like my resume and ebooks in my Dropbox account and I have access to these files on my BlackBerry. Dropbox is free. Learn more about it here.
Ever been out shopping and you hear a catchy tune that the store is playing? Ever wish you knew the name of the song and artist? Now you can with Shazam. With Shazam, you simply put your phone's mic to the music playing and it will "tag" the song after a few seconds of listening. With the free version, you are limited to 5 tags per calender month. If you need more tags, you can get rid of the cap by purchasing Shazam Encore for $4.99. Make sure the music is clear of outside noise.Shazam sometimes fail if the volume is too low and/or of there's lots of surrounding chatter. You can download Shazam on BlackBerry App World.
Speaking of music, ever wanted to listen to streaming music? Enter Pandora. Pandora is an Internet radio service that streams music straight to your BlackBerry. If you are familiar with Pandora on the browser, then you"ll feel at home with this app. If you are new to Pandora, you'll need to create an account. After your account is created and you log in, simply type in a song or artist and Pandora will create a custom radio station. This station is based on the style of the song or artist. You can help Pandora better choose songs you might like by rating the songs with thumbs up or down. Pandora's license agreement limits its users to 6 skips per hour per station. Free accounts are limited to 12 total skips per day, ads, and 40 hours of music per month. You can upgrade to a Pandora One account for $36 per year. This upgrade will remove the 40 hour cap and ads. While you are still limited to 6 skips per hour, the daily skip limit is lifted. This means if you hit the skip cap, simply change stations as much as you want. Pandora One users also have access to high quality 192Kbps music streaming on the desktop. BlackBerry Pandora One users get the lower quality stream on their carrier network but will have access to the high quality stream if their BlackBerry is connected to wifi. Pandora is a great app that I use everyday. Pandora is great when I just want to listen to music. Sometimes, I am too tired or lazy to set up a playlist like a DJ. When these occasions occur, I use Pandora. I also love hearing new songs I would never find on my own. This is a must have app. Get it. Use it. Love it. You will thank me later.
TXTLater is a sleek app that sends sms, emails, and calls when you schedule them. This feature is so good, it should have been standard on BlackBerry. For example. Want to be the best boyfriend in the world? How about the caring, considerate son? Schedule an email wishing love to your sweetheart on your anniversary. Schedule sms greetings to all your family members on Christmas morning. Did someone say brownie points? Ever needed to text or call someone at awkward hours? Text your friend reminding him to pick you up for the DMV at 5 am. If you forget to wake up, your friend will get the text and [hopefully] pick you up on time. There's lots of creative things you can do with this app. TXTLater is worth 5 stars. Its simple and clean. No ads. Best of all, it's free. Get it in the BlackBerry App World.
No app list is complete without a weather app. Weatherbug is arguably the best weather app on BlackBerry. I've tried The Weather Channel and I prefer Weatherbug. Weatherbug offers so much for a free app. You get a weekly forecast, alerts, radar/map, camera view at a weather station, and video. What's the catch? A small banner ad at the top of your forecast. Not a bad deal if you ask me. If you need more, you can upgrade to Weatherbug Elite for $4.99. The upgrade removes ads and gives you enhanced features including real time deliver using BlackBerry Push technology. You also get enhanced maps, animated radar, lightning alerts (US only) and deeper integration with BlackBerry OS. What's nice is you get a quick view icon that shows you key information without opening the app. The icon can appear sunny, snowy, rainy, etc. You get the current temperature and daily high/low when you hover over the icon. It's really convenient.
If you own a BlackBerry, the only reason why you might not have these apps is you never heard of them before. Now that you have, get them. Install them. Use them. This is my list of 10 best BlackBerry apps. I will keep this list open and they are subject to change, addition, and removal. Thank you for reading!
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