Top 10 productivity and utility apps for BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry 10 will help you get more done faster with these insanely useful productivity and utility apps.

Best BlackBerry 10 productivity and utility apps
By Simon Sage on 18 Mar 2013 03:50 pm EDT
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BlackBerry is well-known as the handset of choice for people that want to get shi stuff done.

Out of the box, a BlackBerry 10 device is well-suited for day-to-day tasks, like shooting off e-mails, making calls, and keeping track of appointments, but there’s a whole wide BlackBerry World full of custom-made apps that can crank your productivity knob to 11.

There are some great apps already available and many more show up every day. We've got needs that extend far beyond native apps most days, so having the ability to grab some awesome third-party apps is a huge bonus for getting things done. 

Let’s get down to business and see the very best productivity and utility apps that BlackBerry 10 has to offer.

PlayCloud 10 - $1.99

PlayCloud for BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry 10 has its own file manager with plugs into Dropbox and Box, but real power users have FTP servers that they need to get into. PlayCloud is a super-charged file browser that offers access to Google Drive, Skydrive, SugarSync, OpenDataSpace, WebDAV, and FTP, in addition to Dropbox, Box, and local files. Files can be moved, copied, shared, and otherwise shuffled through the contextual menus. Images all show up in thumbnails, though you can change view and sorting depending on the task. I’ve got files stashed all over the place, so it’s awesome being able to see them all in one place.

Conqu - Free

Conqu for BlackBerry 10

Conqu is a highly polished task management app for BlackBerry 10 that allows users to punch in a wide range of task information. Busybodies can add tags, contexts, flag colors, and due dates to their tasks. Tasks can be organized into projects of multiple to-do items, and archived or moved to the backburner once you’re done with them.  The user interface is interesting, responsive, and polished, if not Cascades-driven. For those that need more than what the native Remember app has to offer, download Conqu.

Hub++ - $2.99

HUB++ for BlackBerry 10

Hub++ is a significant upgrade to the default BlackBerry 10 notifications system. Users can drill down into incredibly specific notifications based on e-mail sender, subject line, and priority, and activate a variety of LED, vibration, and tone notifications. Blanket notification profiles can be set for each e-mail account individually - even with pop-up previews of messages if you like. Hub++ is great for people who get a lot of e-mail and regularly receive high-priority messages that needs to be addressed immediately. The biggest downside here is that Hub++ has to stay open in an active frame in order to work.

SayIt - $3.99

SayIt for BlackBerry 10

SayIt takes the built-in voice control app to the next level. With it, you can not only launch into voice calls, conduct web searches, schedule appointments and take notes, but also launch apps, check times of day abroad, translate to and from about 25 languages, and ask general knowledge questions. The only thing SayIt doesn’t really do is dictate messages, which the built-in voice control does pretty well as is. The best part of all is that the robot lady in SayIt sounds much nicer than the one in the native BlackBerry 10 voice control. Anyone coming from iOS that’s looking for a Siri replacement should check out our quick review for SayIt.

Papillon Currency Converter - $0.99

Papillon for BlackBerry 10

Papillon Currency Converter is a simple, to-the-point converter perfect for anybody travelling abroad. Exchange rates are updated regularly, and can be refreshed for real-time results. A little over 60 currencies are supported, and can be ordered or removed from the list depending on which ones you use most. Calculated amounts can easily be shared out to BBM, so you can even help out globetrotting buddies.

Alarm Clock - $1.99

Alarm Clock for BlackBerry 10

One of the major pitfalls of the native Clock app in BlackBerry 10 is that you can’t set more than one alarm. Luckily the aptly-named Alarm Clock app lets you set as many alarms as you like, each with their own times and set days to repeat. The clock face itself is a sharp digital style with a built-in brightness slider. Nestled in the settings are options for a silent mode, custom snooze duration, and a great shake-to-snooze function.

Gadget Box - $1.99

Gadget Box for BlackBerry 10

Gadget Box is an incredibly useful junk drawer of tools, ranging from levels, rulers, protractors, compasses, and more. It might not look especially pretty, but damn is it useful. There’s a unit converter in there, which, though also built into the native calculator app, is handy for those doing construction and using the other tools anyway. There’s tool which uses a bit of trigonometry to determine the height of something based on how far you are from your subject and how much you tilt the device when picking targets at its base and top. There’s even a custom flashlight app in there that lets you set flash frequency of the camera LED, or change color on the screen. Handymen, you’ll want this app in your toolbox.

Luko LAN Remote - $2.99

Luko LAN Remote for BlackBerry 10

Luko LAN Remote is an absolutely fantastic, polished remote control for your PC. Once the client is installed on your computer, you can type, click, navigate, and access files from your BlackBerry over the local Wi-Fi network. Controls are robust with dedicated, rearrangeable key layouts for media, system, and web browsing. Full mouse control with scroll wheel, middle, left, and right clicking is included, complete with audio feedback. Favorite files or applications can be saved in a dedicated section in the navigation menu for easy access later on. Luko LAN Remote for BlackBerry 10 is perfect for anyone that has their PC set up with a big-screen TV at the other end of the room. I’m particularly looking forward to this once the Q10 comes out.

Groovy Notes - $4.99

Groovy Notes for BlackBerry 10

Groovy Notes is a nice calendar-centric take on the Remember app with a colorful layout. Users can write notes with audio and images attached to them, include tags, and organize notes by categories. Though functionally Groovy Notes isn’t that much different than Remember, the fresh layout and added focus on a calendar view of notes may be more the speed of those that need to keep an ongoing journal for whatever reason.

Clipman Clipboard Manager - $0.99

Clipman for BlackBerry 10

If you’re the type to be moving a lot of text between different apps, you’ll want to check out Clipman. So long as it’s running in the background, Clipman stores all of the most recent blocks of text that you’ve copied to a separate storage area in the app. Clipman can be the go-to place for canned responses, as you can lock certain chunks of text from deletion when cleaning up the clippings. Every section of text is timestamped based on usage, and if you need to haul it out to or from a PC, you can import or export the text as an XML file. This is a simple but incredibly useful tool for those of us that have a lot of word-flinging to do on BlackBerry. 

That's just a taste of how to get things done on BlackBerry 10. What are your most common tasks when mobile? Which tools do you use to keep moving?

Reader comments

Top 10 productivity and utility apps for BlackBerry 10

82 Comments

It'll get significantly better when BlackBerry updates the SDK for headless app API's

Like a lot of the apps that exist like that, they need that next level to make them great.

Sure they'll get better, so will iPhones UI but I still see you and others criticizing it. Do we judge things as they are or how they might be in the future?

It is a trade-off! Developers can either wait until all the APIs are available or release app with currently available APIs, thus enhancing user experience early. As both platform and SDK mature, more enhancements would be added by developers. In our case, we decided to bring HUB++ earlier than later, and many of our users have already expressed their satisfactions.

Btw, thanks Simon & Blaze for the post and clarification.

My post wasn't aimed at developers, it was meant for the BB apologists like Bla1ze. They criticize other platforms shortcomings and then when BB is criticized, they defend it by saying it will get better. I honestly don't expect a response, i know how the game is played. These fan based tech blogs are not big on intellectual honesty.

Yes they are. It's sarcasm and humour. If you can't take those, then I don't know what you will be able to handle.

We need audible reminders in task/remember style applications to truly make them useful. This is in my opinion an oversite in the current state of BB10. These are good applications they just need a little more 'BlackBerry' in them. I hope to see this in the next few updates.

CB10 App, Z10

Yes I agree with billsterjito. I don't see the point of having Remember and has to utilize another task app. From what I saw about Remember, it's beautiful and is a great idea. Now please add reminder and an ability to defer a task to it. I don't really care if BB10 will make it to the PlayBook. However, I do care that the existing features in BB10 work well especially those feature that are introduced by BlackBerry.

Many apps insist on every privilege under the sun. Wase and What'sApp are ridiculous. I refuse to use apps that insist on getting access to features they don't need such as my shared files, camera, microphone, internet, my contact list, connection to BBM. The list goes on.

Yeah I feel the same way. There was a good write up here offering better insight into app permissions. For example, having access to your media is needed when you want to share an image via Whatsapp. Makes sense, no?

Yes, I've been using Groovy Notes on my PlayBook for years. I didn't buy it for my Z10 though because I find the smaller screen of the Z10 (compared to the PlayBook) makes it less usefull.

Xe currency converter is free and advertisement free as well. Why pay when there is an equally good free application?

Paid is not always best - toolbox is nice. Have it. Sayit is interesting - I have it, not sure how much I'll use it... not a lot I guess.

Posted via CB10

I'm excited to move back to bb, but it is hard to imagine the current version of BB10 will not allow the user to set more than one alarm.

Its amazing how cheap people are starting to get, especially on the internet. DUDE! For 21.00 US you can have everyone of these. How long does it really take to make 21.00. Jesus Christ

I'm a high school student and make 9$s an hour after taxes. If an app is good I'll pay for it regardless of the price. I don't know why some people don't appreciate the developers hard work.

Posted via CB10

Gas station clerk.. Lol. And I also fix phones and sell cases and screen protectors locally on the side. Trust me, i make more money on the cases and protectors than I do working 24 hours a week.

Happy to pay for apps! I use Upvise Pro for all kinds of things: CRM, notes, shopping list, task list, sales funnel. It's available on my z10, PB and PC!

Posted via CB10

Hilarious that people want everything for free. Would you work for free? The apps are well priced considering the time and effort involved in their development. If you don't want to pay the same price (or less) than you'd pay for a coffee then you really don't need that particular app. Even if it were free you'd unlikely use it. If it has value then give it value.

Posted via CB10

I agree. If you think the app is going to benefit you then pay for it. Anyways the apps are not expensive really considering it is a one time charge.

Posted via CB10

Why does BlackBerry let us pay for the apps that we've already bought on PlayBook.

I know that OS 7 and PlayBook OS is different from BlackBerry 10 OS but buying apps again is not fair. At least we could get a discount for the apps that we previously bought and not pay for the full price.

Exactly what he said, I have spent at least $20 on Playbook apps and I don't think I should have to buy them again for my Z10. Especially since I am using the same BBID.

Someone else put this very well in another thread, paraphrasing, "do you expect to get the blu-ray version of a movie for free because you already own it on DVD or VHS?"

Hmm, your analogy is more accurate if I went cross platform, for example from playbook to ipad.

If I am not mistaken, apps you buy on google Play and the Apple App Store, work on all your devices as long as your logged in with the same account. Is this not true?

True for iOS devices, though I am not sure when it comes with apps with different version like the Phone and iPad. I have iPod Touch and iPhone 4s and iPhone 5. Can download all apps with this devices.

With android I don't know since I only had one android device.

The analogy is wrong. Let me use the same example. Let's say the VHS are the software, we buy it because we want to watch it but we are also have the right to play it in what ever VHS player we have hence the device we have like any OS 7 devices. If the VHS is blurry or unwatchable we have the warranty to have it replace for free hence the software update we receive for free as well. But when it come to a whole new quality or major changes in the quality then we have the choice if we want to buy the upgrade like DVD or blue-ray, in software per se that's the reason why we also pay for the update like updating Photoshop CS5 to CS6. But like what I've said to my post it's ok if we need to pay but not in full price because we already bought the core software the app was just updated so it can be used in the new OS so instead of paying we get a discounted price.

In BlackBerry World, it is the developer's choice. A developer can decide to upload support for different devices under the same app (and say Binary1 is for Playbook, Binary2 is for z10, Binary 3 is for the 9900 fro example), or decide to create an entirely new app. If the developer uses the same app umbrella for all device versions, then you will indeed get the parallel versions across your devices.

In fact, developers do also have the option in BlackBerry World to charge a separate upgrade price for a specific version as well.

In short, it is the decision of individual developers and not under BlackBerry's control (which it should be, since BlackBerry can't know the inherent 'value' of any app version). If you have to pay again for a version on a different device, the developer made that call.

Consider this: the developer has the choice of keeping it free after you purchased it once for one device, or charging.

The developers control whether they charge again or keep it free for future updates/devices. BlackBerry has no control over that. Supporting the developer is a plus.

Some do let you have it for free. I've downloaded Bards Tale and Splashtop for free on my Z10 as I own them on my Playbook.

Bought Pacemaker on my PlayBook and got it for free on my Z10 :) It's up to the developer whether they charge you again or not.

Interesting how some people defend unnecessary spending - ever heard of free open source software?

If there is an equally good free application, it is a good choice over a paid one. Period.
I am not saying make the paid one free - to developer is free to charge what he/she wants to charge, however not everybody is happy to pay that price. (Just a hint, exchange rates can be had free at the cost of a bookmark too).

I do use free open source software quite happily for some tasks - yes, it can be finicky at times and a bit more work BUT it gets the job done - sometimes better than the paid for stuff (TeX is the way to go for documents - makes Word look rather bad, open or libre office is worse than ms office as an office suite though).

And yes, good free software should be highlighted where it is available.

Posted via CB10

Sounds a few Linux admins I've met who kick and scream when a vendor comes in to offer software to do what he spends all day scripting in his cave, all while the business spends more money on his hobbyhorsing salary than just buying the software. I like Linux and Windows alike, but let's not kid ourselves. Paid software is more refined and better supported by any free counterpart (ad supported is not free, by the way); and some free counterparts don't even exist. Witness Visio, Outlook, Access, Project; all powerful software packages with no free counterpart with capabilities nearing the paid software. Free software is for the people who constitutionally want their lunches for free. I put bread on the table of people whose work benefit me, whether they ask for it or not. I will even demand an app maker to put up a donation link if he wants to give it away for free; no use in preventing somebody from saying thanks in the form of some cash. I would appreciate the same done for me. Wouldn't you?

interesting to see hub++ where it says 'fitler preview' rather than 'filter preview' ...
do people actually verify their apps? tired of getting a banana product that ripes with the customer ...

Please accept our sincere apology! It would be fixed in our upcoming release. In terms of features, we can assure you that it is a quality app as indicated in the review section by several of our users. And we are listening to our users constantly, and trying our best to enhance the app.

Thanks for this article. I was waiting for something just like this, as I was wondering what to try next. I've used Conqu on my PB and like it a lot, so will try it on my Z10 now.

My wish would be a NATIVE app that syncs Phone with Calendar. Get a call from a Client in my address book and wants an appointment, so while on the phone I open the Calendar click on the day and time and his name and number and info is in there automatically. This way if I need to call or reschedule someone from there it will save time. Also if I type a name of someone from my address book in the Calendar and I would to click on a box to show that is a client from my address book all his info would be there also. Like I said A WISH.

I haven't had too much time to play with BB10, but in every previous OS, you could go to the home screen while you're on a call (and then from there access any other app, like Calendar)...

On every device with a keyboard, for example, if you hit the 'back / esc' button (left beside the 'end call' button), a prompt pops-up and asks you if you want to "continue call and exit to home screen"... Is this possible in BB10?? (I sure hope so...)

I am aware of the "back/esc" button and I use it all the time. What I mean is since the phone recognizes a caller from my address book, I would like to also transfer it to my Calendar without having to type that name in there. Also if I open the Calendar and want to call a client fro there it takes time to find his number. Hope all this makes sense, it does to me. I use my Calendar to book appointments every day and would like to save time "getting things done". There is a "third" party app called "Add To" that automatically adds the telephone number but I still have to add the name of the client and date and time (too much time consuming).

Nice Job Simon! All of these apps look great. I have no problem paying for apps that benefit me. I look forward to getting my Z10 next week from Verizon and downloading a bunch of these apps. Can't Wait!!!

I find playcloud quite buggy. Signing in to cloud accounts was problematic. Opening files is difficult.

Posted via CB10

I'm in no hurry to replace my 9930 with a BB10 device. Certainly not till BB10 gets the same functionality for me as BB07. Looks like I will be waiting a while longer....

Blackberry World should make it like the Google Play Store when it comes to setting permissions for apps. In the Google Play Store it actually tells you what permissions are required prior to paying for an app - now in BB World you pay for it, download it and find that it requires every permission known to man in order to run - I think that sucks donkey's balls

That's a good point you've raised, and I totally agree. BB should show what all the required permissions are up front before you buy the app.

Agreed. A preview of permissions would be great. Also a 1hr return policy like on Play. I hesitate to buy apps that are less than 4 stars and don't have tons of real looking positive reviews. I look through reviews and if there's even a small amount of reviews that say "does not work" or something like that I don't bother.

No, Whatsapp has been available in BlackBerry World for the Z10 for a few days now...at least in Canada.

BTW the native CALC app can also be switched to unit converter by swiping down on the CALC main screen and switch.

Posted via CB10

I see SayIt getting a LOT of praise here on CB. I hope this is like 300% different than the legacy BB OS version. Flushing $5 directly down the toilette would have been money better spent.

Evernote's awesome, but for all of my round-ups, I'm skipping the stuff that's baked into the OS. The main goal with these pieces is to help folks find stuff in BlackBerry World that they might not know about.

Is 'Alarm Clock' similar to 'Today's Alarm Clock' on the PlayBook?

I use that one daily (nightly?) as my go to alarm clock. Would love the BB10 version on my Z10.

Awesome to hear that Groovy Notes is on BB10, works exceptionally well on the PB. Has everything you need for taking notes, however on the Z10, don't know how that would work. With its smaller screen to the PB and all its functions, could be a bit overwhelming, but will have to get it for myself first.

Maybe you should test the apps first you put in your top ten list because if you did you would have clearly seen there is a huge bug that makes your files on the sd card not show/populate at all in the play cloud app.

Posted via CB10

please crackberry bring some led colors app for free for messaging like BLINK..bebuzz and thanks

Posted via CB10

Does someone know if there's a BB10 app that is based on Mark Forster's Final Version management system? I personally use it everyday, and it is easily the most effective task management system out there. A working app that employs Final Version for other platforms is Blanclist, which is flat-out awesome. Totally expecting this for BB10.