CrackBerry's back-to-school guide

Back to school
By Alicia Erlich on 4 Sep 2011 01:51 pm EDT

Fall is slowing creeping upon us and that can only mean one thing. That's right, it's back to school time. No matter what the level of education, how much they kick and scream, we're here to make sure they go back prepared and make all their classmates jealous with their fully loaded devices. So let's ring in the new school year with these BlackBerry apps, accessories, and hardware. Click on the jump and check out our recommendations for your special scholar.

Device - Which BlackBerry should they get?

BlackBerry 7 Devices

You can't just send them back with last year's model. They need the latest and greatest to show off to their friends. These devices were designed with different types of users in mind and all come with the 1.2 GHz processor and Liquid Graphics. For example, if they love to watch movies and videos and prefer virtual keyboards then check out the Torch 9850/60. Do they spend all their time texting and emailing friends and family? Then be sure to take a look at the gretzky, I mean Bold 9900/30. For those who enjoy the slider form factor coupled with the power of OS 7 then steer them towards the Torch 9810. Don't forget to keep your eye on our carrier pricing and availability page to see when these are released. 

Applications - Some must have apps for school


Speaking from years of personal experience, waking up for class is extremely difficult. Wakeful - Talking alarm clock is a fantastic alarm app that wakes them up with a voice greeting chock full of useful information. You can customize the alarm with your preferences and even hear your name, news, stocks, and weather. Wakeful is ony $4.99 and is available for most BlackBerry devices.

More information / purchase Wakeful from the CrackBerry App Store

Amazon Kindle for BlackBerry

If there's one thing students would love to avoid its lugging around those heavy and expensive textbooks. There's a multitude of titles now available in ebook format for a lot less which you can access from your smartphone with the free Amazon Kindle App or on your PlayBook with the Amazon Cloud Reader

More Information And Downloads Available Via The Amazon Kindle Website
Download Direct The Kindle For BlackBerry App To Your BlackBerry OTA

Evernote for BlackBerry

Evenote organizes your notes no matter what multimedia format they may be in and from an array of resources. Quickly take, archive, and access all your files from their service no matter where you are. Notes can be in text format, a picture, a webpage, a voice memo or even an attachment. It's available for most devices running OS 4.5 and higher for free. Upgrade to their premium service for added storage for only $5.00 per month or $45 per year.

More information / download Evernote from BlackBerry App World


 is another one of those useful must have applications for students. It's an incredible cloud application for accessing and sharing files across multiple computers and devices and for collaberating on projects by sending public links to their fellow classmates. SugarSync is available for most BlackBerry devices including OS 7.

Sign up for free 5GB SugarSync Plan
More information / download SugarSync from BlackBerry App World 


Active students need to keep themselves organized and StudentDocket makes sure they'll never say the dog ate their homework again. It manages their class schedule, stores professor information, keeps track of assignments, color codes due dates, and a whole lot more. You can pick up StudentDocket for $9.99 at the CrackBerry AppStore and it is avaiable for most BlackBerry devices. A free limited feature version can also be downloaded.

Read our review of StudentDocket
More information / download StudentDocket

gWhizPro Bundle 

gWhizPro Bundle
Turn your BlackBerry into a learning tool with the gWhizPro Bundle that is several popular educational apps all rolled into one. It comes with a built-in graphing calculator, flashcards, and pocket reference to help them study throughout the year.

More information / purchase gWhizPro Bundle from the CrackBerry App Store

Accessories - Keep them running throughout the day

Freedom Pro Bluetooth Keyboard

Now that textbooks are taken care of what about their notebooks? Many BlackBerry devices come with Documents to Go 2.0 (Standard = OS 4.5 - 6, Premium = OS 7). Take advantage of this by using the Freedom Pro Bluetooth keyboard. It's portable, sturdy, and includes a carrying case. Now they can type their class notes, papers, and homework all from their BlackBerry device or PlayBook. While you're at it, don't forget to pick up a dictionary and thesaurus so they always choose the proper words for their papers.

Freedom Pro Bluetooth Keyboard review
More information / purchase Freedom Pro Bluetooth Keyboard

SD Card

SD cards are the perfect way for students to carry their papers and assignments as well as their favorite music and videos. The other great thing about SD Cards is that they can store Voice Notes. Record lectures or jot down notes by utilizing the built-in recorder with plenty of room to spare. It's the perfect way to study your notes while commuting back and forth from school.

More information / purchase Memory Cards

BlackBerry Charging Pod

Probably one of the most popular accessories out there, the charging pods are just awesome. Plug them into your exisitng power supply and it does exactly what it says: charge/cradle your device when not in use, sync media with your computer, use as a radio to stream music with PandoraSlacker or your library, put in bedside mode when asleep, or use as an alarm clock when paired with the app listed above. 

More information / purchase BlackBerry Charging Pods from ShopCrackBerry

Case-Mate Barely There

Now that they have a brand new device they need to protect it but with not just any case. Case-Mates Barely There accessory line is not only the perfect way to protect your device but it also shows off your sense of style with its availability in a variety of colors.

More information / purchase Case-Mate Barely There Case

BlackBerry Batteries

Are they a heavy socializer and spend all day texting and emailing? Are they browsing the web or streaming videos? If the answer to any (or all) of these questions is yes then they're going to need a spare battery. As BlackBerry users (and abusers) we need all the juice we can get to last the day. Pick up an extended or spare battery and slip it into their backpack. 

More information / purchase all spare Batteries

Tablet - Power, entertainment, and portability

BlackBerry PlayBook
In your students hands this is a multitasking dream come true. Read booksplay gameswatch movies, take notes, and video chat all in one glorious portable device. Video chat is perfect for talking to loved ones and friends and to study with classmates who also own a PlayBook no matter how far they are. In addition to everything it already comes with, the 7" form factor makes this the perfect addition to take with them to class.

PlayBook Hub Page
BlackBerry PlayBook Review  

There you have it folks just a few items that are sure to put a big smile on their face for the new school year. 

Reader comments

CrackBerry's back-to-school guide


Good review – here is the best alternative as of Sept 2011: SugarSync.
(looks like lots of folks here on CrackBerry likes SugarSync!)

You get 5GB of cloud storage space with the FREE version, but now there is no restriction to the number of computers you can sync/backup (up from 2).
It gives you the ability to upload and sync any folder on your computer.
It is the only service that offers such a broad device and OS support with apps for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone/iPad, Symbian, not to mention your computer!

You can also stream MP3 music files to your smartphone or computer.

Also if you use the below referral code you get a bonus 500MB extra on top of your Free 5GB!

Hope this helps someone!

Anything for year 8 (12- 13 year olds)? Most of my class have blackberrys, 9300 or the one below. Hope I get an internet signal!!

To be honest, all "new" devices are out of date from the very beginning. I wanted to buy 9900 but no AutoFocus was a dot over "i" against wasting money for OS 6.1 in fact. I've got 9780 with OS6 and I wouldn't change it with over-priced 9900 :(((( The only hope that 2012 wil bring us e.g. BBs supporting video calls, including skype. People from RIM should start to wake-up. They offer now "business stuff" that does'n support conference video calls at all? Do they make laugh or what?

By the way, how it is possible that you folks in the US are taking 9900 for 3 years contracts? In three years this device will be much more "old" than 9000 is now. I'm from the UK, really disappointed with the way RIM is treating people like me who love BlackBerries and do even not take other mobiles into account. There is a lot of exciting about 9900 and so on. Strange for me, because the only real new thing it offers is NFC and nothing else. Where is additional camera in front? Where are video calls, including skype? Only then I am going to buy a new BB, not now - no more wasting money for nothing really new!

Evernote is such a pain to use on BBs. Slow and laggy interface, and it takes quite a bit of time to load and render a simple text document which is less than 2kb on my 9780.

I'm sorry, Alicia, but this article was a little lame for a few reasons:

1. Reference to StudentDocket that only runs on 4.x devices. How many students still have those old 3+ year old Berrys? Isn't there other software that can be referenced that work on BB5, BB6, BB7? There are so many task managers and checklists/list managers out there that might provide similar task management. Using Google Calendar can fill that void as well, and Google Sync will allow you to sync with your BlackBerry calendar app.

2. Tools are mentioned don't always specify what devices they will run on. In that case, a couple of decent apps should be mentioned that perform that similar function.

3. As far as "student" productivity apps go, I would include Kobo & Kindle for ebooks, Google Docs via Google Mobile App & DropBox for collaboration, Google Sync to manage your on-line calendar, projects, tasks, and course schedule, and Personal Guardian for personal safety. Menu Clock is great for keeping track of time so you're never late!

4. A spare battery was suggested; probably a good idea for students on the go; however, is there a charging device that can charge just the battery so I can use my BlackBerry while the other battery is charging? That would be nice.