When you first get rolling with your new Blackberry device, you will most certainly be in pursuit of the best new applications. You will most likely seek out the free ones first (yes there are many great apps you don't even have to pay for) and then if you have the need, you will look for the best paid applications to suit your needs. In this 101 we will go over a small sampling of some of what I consider to be the best free and paid applications currently available for BlackBerry Smartphones.
Those Wonderful Free Apps
CrackBerry.com Desktop Launcher
I can't start off a CrackBerry 101 about free apps without throwing in a shoutout to own own Crackberry.com Desktop Launcher. This app will throw a Crackberry icon right on the homescreen of your device allowing you quick access to the WAP forums, blogs, store and more. No Berry should be without. Get the desktop launcher by visiting wap.CrackBerry.com or mobile.crackberry.com on your BlackBerry's web browser.
Viigo is a totally free RSS reader for Blackberry devices. Among all the apps I have installed on my Curve - this is by far the one I use most. I can't wait to get up each day and check out all my feeds. Local news, World news, weather, sports scores, tech blogs - you name it. I have them all stored in one convenient place. Viggo is sleek and easy to use. There is nothing new to learn before you start - its as simple as reading your email. You can add feeds through Viigo, or custom feeds via web addresses. You can customize the amount of articles it holds as once, and even the update interval. This is by far the one free application you should not overlook. Get the Viigo Crackberry.com edition here.
Perhaps one of my most visited sites from my laptop, Google Maps Mobile puts the power of Google Maps on your Berry. It's location based services work on both GPS enabled devices, and those without GPS (via tower triangulation). Google Maps can provide you with "My Location" which will pinpoint your location within 1000m. You can look up driving directions, transit maps, traffic, business listings and more. If you are a user who is constantly on the go (and even if you're note), Google Maps is another great totally free app for all devices. Get Google Maps now.
Beyond 411 is a local search tool that no Berry should be without. The main feature which you should expect to get the most use out of is the Yellow Pages search. Easily find local businesses, complete with address, phone number and distance info. Beyond 411 can also provide driving directions and other information for GPS devices. You an do other actions like web searches and get weather, movie times, sports info and more. A great tool that in my opinion is quicker and easier than firing up the browser each time you need some quick information. To download Beyond 411 OTA, go to http://thebogles.com/b411.jad on your mobile browser.
Facebook App for Blackberry
This is one that caters to certain users. If you aren't a Facebook user, then you obvisouly don't need this application (but if you're like my sister you may install it and stem a new addiction!). The Facebook App for Blackberry makes some of the common Facebook tasks (sending messages, writing on a wall, viewing status updates etc.) much easier. The application essentially "intercepts" any Facebook emails coming to your device, and notifies you as such through the application. It just makes using Facebook on the go that much better. My favorite feature is the ability to upload photos directly from your device to any of your Facebook albums (or even create a new one). If you are a Facebook user this one is definitely a must have. To install the Facebook app, head to http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2254487659
Best Paid Apps That Are Worth The Money
JiveTalk Mobile IM
Perhaps one of the most popular 3rd party apps is BeeJive's JiveTalk. JiveTalk integrates all your IM clients (AIM, GTalk, Yahoo!, Myspace, MSN, ICQ, Jabber) into one easy to use interface. It allows you to add multiple accounts, customize the look and alerts and much more. To some this one is a tough sell since for most carriers you can download the individual IM applications for free, but if you are a heavy IM user and need to have all your clients in one organzied place, then JiveTalk is the way to go. A Device License is avaiable for $19.99 which allows use for only one device. Since you most likely won't stick with the same device forever, if you're smart however, there is also a User License for $29.99 which is transferable over multiple devices. Head over to Beejive.com to check it out - a free 30-day trial is also available.
BBSmart Alarms Pro
This is one of those applications that I don't think I could get by without. The default alarm application isn't all that. It is extremely limiting and for most power users, doesn't quite cut it. To solve this oversight, BBSmart Alarms Pro comes to the rescue. This simple alarm app is totaly customizable. Unlike the native app, Alarms Pro allows you to add multiple alarms, quick alarms, custom alert tones and more. It even has a snooze button! This has quickly become one of my favorites and is well worth the premium $15.00 pricetag. Grab it from the ShopCrackberry.com Store.
Flipside is a great MP3 player for Blackberry devices. It organizes all your media files and has a great cover flow to scroll through your albums. Its quick and straight forward. Flipside will find your music stored on the device or media card and import it into the program. From there, you can download cover art and you're good to go. The usual options are there - shuffle album, shuffle all, skip etc. At $19.95 the price may be a bit steep for some, but if you plan on using your Blackberry as your main media player, you can't go wrong with this one. Check out Flipside at http://electricpocket.com/flipside
For users on the go, there is perhaps no better application than Worldmate Live. This one piece of software will keep you up to date an organzied with all your travel plans and itineraries. Worldmate Live can sync your hotel, flight and rental car info - as well as meetings and other information. It provides real time flight information, delays and cancellations. Worldmate Live also gives you updated world maps, clocks and weather forecasts. If you are a business traveler, this one piece of software will simplify everything you do regarding your travel - its as easy as that. There is a free version that has limited features, but the paid or "Gold" version is the way to go to get the most out of it. The price is a steep $99.95 for a year of use - but if you travel a lot it will easily pay for itself in no time. Learn more at http://www.worldmatelive.com/
These applications are definitely fun to have, but I don't really consider them necessities. They do deserve a mention however.
Flickr App For Blackberry - If you use Flickr user, this little app lets you upload photos straight from your device to your Flickr account. It lets you choose an existing album or create a new one, tag photos and more.
Opera Mini - An alternative (and sometimes preferred) to the default mobile browser, Opera Mini lets you view complete web pages as they would be seen on a PC. Opera will not rough up the pages like the mobile browser sometimes tends to do.
Gmail App - For Gmail users, this application lets you view your inbox and do more than you can with the default Blackberry message app. You can add stars, archive, search and more. The updated verison supports multiple accounts as well.
Twitterberry - For Twittering on the go - this is an alternative to email or SMS for updating your Twitter feed. Check out your timelines and update your own.
BBSmart Email Viewer & Empower Pro Email Viewer - A few months back, these two would have been on the top of my list. However since OS 4.5 and its HTML email capability has popped up, it seems that these two may soon be left behind. In older OS version, these viewers would format your emails and clean up links to make them more user firendly. Now, OS 4.5 will take over and get the job done on its own.
Discover More Apps and Discuss your favorites in these Crackberry.com Forum threads:
Have some favorites you'd like to share? Post them in the comments!