Get a BlackBerry Smartphone for Christmas? Here are some essential tips, applications and accessories to help get you started

By Team CrackBerry on 31 Dec 2010 01:30 pm EST
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Did you get a new BlackBerry for the holidays?  Not sure just where to start? Not to worry we're here to help.

CrackBerry BlackBerry Christmas Gift

On behalf of the CrackBerry community, we freely admit we're addicted to our BlackBerry smartphones. We stand by our faithful Berry's for what they do best, and simply there is no better way to communicate and keep up-to-date with the world at-large.

Similarly, there is no better resource than CrackBerry.com for new applications, devices, accessories, and how-to guides about our favorite smartphone. Beginning in early 2011, we'll also have loads of information on the all-new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. It's going to be an exciting year for both you and CrackBerry.com.

You're already familiar with BlackBerry's unsurpassed ability to communicate - Research In Motion mastered mobile email and security a decade ago - but what else can your BlackBerry do for you? We've put together our best app recommendations, how-to guides and all around BlackBerry goodness for your viewing pleasure.

Guides and Tutorials 

CrackBerry.com has a long history of providing quality help and tutorials. Today is no different. Whether you want to figure out how to install apps, remove themes, or make your BlackBerry into the cool tool that it is, we've got a variety of guides to give you hand.

BlackBerry 101

10 Things You Should Know About Using a BlackBerry!
Basic Phone Controls on Your BlackBerry
The Basics of Setting Up Your BlackBerry
Setting up email on your BlackBerry Smartphone
More BlackBerry Help

BlackBerry Applications

Now that you know how to use your new BlackBerry, you'll want to add some cool applications. There are thousands of apps to choose from - some better than others - in a variety of categories. Listed below are some of our favorites. To check out all the latest BlackBerry applications head to the CrackBerry App Store.

Music 

Pandora Radio

For your listening pleasure, we recommend Pandora Radio for BlackBerry. If you're not familiar, Pandora builds music stations based on what you like. After installing and setup, just enter the name of a favorite song, artist, or classical composer and Pandora will create a radio station just for you. Instead of just giving you songs by a particular artist, Pandora gives you songs that it thinks you'll like. Don't like a song? Just click the thumbs-down button, and Pandora will never play that song again. Rarely does Pandora misjudge me; I've clicked that dislike button a grand total of three times in the last month.

Read more about Pandora Radio for BlackBerry

Slacker Radio

Slacker Radio for BlackBerry works much in the same way as Pandora. Some users prefer it due to it's station caching and other options. Slacker offers premium services to remove ads and provide more features as well. Simply search a song or artist and Slacker will create a custom station on the fly. Never run out of music again with Slacker by your side.

More information/download of Slacker Radio 

See more music apps

Messaging

WhatsApp 

While BlackBerry Messenger is still the holy grail of messaging applications, it is limited to communicating only with other BlackBerry users. In the unlikely event that not all of your friends and contacts have a BlackBerry, Whatsapp is an excellent cross-platform messaging application. Doing the math, text messaging can cost over a dollar a kilobyte in charges. Whatsapp uses your phone's Wi-Fi, Edge, or 3G data plan to text and send pictures and video.

Read more about Whatsapp Messenger for BlackBerry  

Trillian

If you're a big IM'er you'll want to have all of your apps handy. If the native RIM clients don't quite do it for you, try out an all-in-one like IM+ or Trillian to get the job done. These premium messaging apps have more functionality and pack the most popular IM clients into one place. You can take advantage of AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo!, MSN and many more.

More information/download of IM+ for BlackBerry
More information/download of Trillian for BlackBerry

See all messaging apps for BlackBerry

Keeping up with your phone 

Where's My Phone? 

For those of you wondering just where the heck your phone is, Where's My Phone is the answer. Available as both a free and paid app, Where's My Phone makes a loud, annoying sound when it receives certain emails on your smartphone. Some might say that they just call their phone when they can't find it. But what if your phone is on silent or vibrate? What if it's in the holster? What if you left it at the movie theatre? Where's My Phone can help you locate your phone in these and many other situations.

Read more about Where's My Phone 

SmrtGuard

A long time CrackBerry favorite, SmrtGuard lets you keep tabs on your device and have peace of mind that your data is safe. The service backs up all your vital data like contacts, calendar and emails and lets you wipe the device remotely should it ever be lost or stolen. There is also a phone tracker to keep watch on your device so you always know where it is. 

More information/download of SmrtGuard

See all device utilities

Maps 

Google Maps for BlackBerry 

Modern smartphones - and even less-advanced feature phones - have GPS radios in them. What better way to make use of them than to get yourself a mapping application. BlackBerry's do have the use of BlackBerry Maps, but Google Maps has proven itself to be a bastion of mapping and direction capabilities. You can search for locations by typing them on the BlackBerry's full QWERTY keyboard or hold the call key to search by voice.

Read more about Google Maps

See all Maps and Naviagtion apps

CrackBerry's "Must Haves"

With new BlackBerry apps coming out all the time, there are still a few "must haves" on our list. These apps stand the test and have remained on all our devices over the years. They increase functionality and are just pretty damn useful.

BerryBuzz simply lets you change your LED color for emails, BBM, SMS and phone calls. It comes in extremely handy if you don't like to have audible alerts on your device. Set blue for BBM, green for email, pink for SMS -- whatever your heart desires. It is totally customizable and includes support for a slew of third party apps.

More information/download of BerryBuzz 

QuickLaunch does just as the name inplies. Add QuickLaunch to your convenience key and it will pop up a menu of custom functions or shortcuts. Add quick options for SMS or email, start up an app, turn off Bluetooth -- it's all here. The app sits quietly in the background and you can add loads of tasks to tweak it to your liking. Definitely a top on most every CrackBerry users list!

More information/download of QuickLaunch

The basic BlackBerry address book can bit a bit lacking at times. If you are constantly trying to add contacts things can grow out of control in no time. Enter Xobni. Xobni is a "super address book" that takes the frustration out of managing your contacts list. The app adds contacts to your address book when emails come in, pulling addresses, phone numbers and other contact info. It puts them in your "super address book" and keeps them organzed so you never have to manually enter a contact again. Truly one of our all-time favorite apps.

More information/download of Xobni

Accessories 

With your new BlackBerry, you received everything you need to make it work, right? With these accessories, you can make your new BlackBerry work even better.

Cases 

Whether your phone was purchased at retail price or through a wireless carriers discount phone + plan bundle, a BlackBerry is an expensive piece of technology. Gravity and keys are the biggest threats to your BlackBerry. Protect your device with a case. Though any case will provide you with a modicum of protection, some of the best out there are made by OtterBox. The OtterBox Commuter series has an excellent design, protecting your BlackBerry against falls and scratches while maintaining the sleek, smooth look of BlackBerry. 

Read more about cases for your BlackBerry
Read more about OtterBox Commuter Cases
See all BlackBerry Cases at ShopCrackBerry.com

 

Bluetooth  

Wires are an annoyance. They get caught on things as you're walking around. They get tangled when stored in a drawer. Bluetooth technology allows you freedom from tyranny of wires. BT headset and earpieces let you move and work around without these problems. BlackBerry plays very nice with BT technology, making pairing a simply and pain-free step. We've reviewed tons of Bluetooth products; you're sure to find one that's right for you. 

Read more about Bluetooth Headsets and Headphones 
See all Bluetooth accessories at ShopCrackBerry.com

Charging Pods 

Sure your new BlackBerry came with a charging cable, but is that all you need? For every BlackBerry I've owned, my very next purchase was a charging pod for it. Instead of plugging in a cable each time you charge your BlackBerry (which way up does it plug in? Oh, yeah that way... no I had it right the first time...), you could just pop the smartphone into a charging pod and be done with it. No trying to figure out which way is up, and each comes with a light on top - so it's easy to find in the dark. You probably already know about bedside mode; with a charging pod, bedside mode turns your BlackBerry into a rather nice nightstand clock. 

Read more about BlackBerry Charging Pods
See all charging pods at ShopCrackBerry.com

So what now?

The presents have been given, the wrapping paper torn; and among the carnage of bows and ribbons, you've found yourself with a new BlackBerry. Congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world that is BlackBerry. Whether you're new smartphones or BlackBerry in particular, CrackBerry.com has you covered. Now that you're up to speed on some of the best we have to offer, check out the links below for even more. 

Check out the latest discussions in the CrackBerry Forums
Browse BlackBerry applications
Browse BlackBerry accessories

2 comments

Jake Storm

"Get" works too.
Don't be so picky :)