25 best BlackBerry apps

Our pick of the top free and paid apps for your BlackBerry

25 best BlackBerry apps

A couple of years ago a BlackBerry was just for work and apps were few and far between.

Now you can get more great apps than you can fit in your BlackBerry memory at once.

You can find some of the same apps as on every platform, like EverNote, Shazam, Yelp and UrbanSpoon; other apps take advantage of the famous BlackBerry security - and the business audience is the reason tools like Xobni came to BlackBerry first.

Here is our pick of the 25 best apps for BlackBerry.

1. ShortCutMe - £3.99

You won't need ShortCutMe once BlackBerry 6 comes out, but for now it's the easiest way to make shortcuts on your home screen to favourite phone numbers, apps, Web sites and commands (like turning Wi-Fi on and off). A little garish but very useful.


2. Nobex - free or £15.89/year

You can't get a BlackBerry with an FM radio in but you can stream radio stations from around the world (the US selection is better than the UK as there are no BBC stations) - see what's playing, see the lyrics and if you like it, buy the song, with Nobex. The sound quality is excellent and you can stream over Wi-Fi for hours at a time (it works over 3G but check your data costs). The premium version has more stations but the free version has plenty to listen to.


3. miRoamer free - free

Another streaming radio app, miRoamer promises some BBC stations but we couldn't get them to play. Other stations played happily, with good quality sound, but it doesn't have half the features of Nobex.


4. Didiom Pro - free app plus $9.99/year

Put the Didiom Pro app on your PC and you can stream music onto your BlackBerry; the free trial only gives you five songs, your PC has to be on, you'll probably have to tweak your network to make it work and the interface is clunky but $10 isn't a lot for your own personal streaming service.


5. Music WithMe - £11.95

Music WithMe doesn't stream music to your BlackBerry; it pushes chosen playlists from your ITunes library into the Music WithMe service and then downloads them to your handset over Wi-Fi or 3G so you don't need to be online to play music - but the download can take a long time if you transfer a long playlist. Handy but quite a pricey way to avoid plugging in a cable.

Music withme

6. VLC Remote Control - £0.79

VLC Remote Control has complicated setup (expect to tinker in the .hosts file), cryptic shortcuts and a minimal interface, but when you can sit back on the sofa and control the excellent VLC media player on your PC over Wi-Fi from your BlackBerry it's worth the effort.

VLC remote control

7. BBC iPlayer - free

Browse a mobile version of the BBC iPlayer site and play TV shows in the BlackBerry iPlayer; you can watch BBC TV channels and listen to BBC radio live or pick shows from the last seven days. You need Wi-Fi to enjoy watching, but this is TV in your pocket.

BBC iplayer

8. Slingplayer Mobile - £19.99

Slingplayer only works on recent handsets with 3G or Wi-Fi (it really needs good bandwidth), it's pricey and you have to have a Slingbox, but if you do you can watch any of your channels - or anything you've recorded on a PVR like Sky+ - on your BlackBerry (and you can set recordings when you're out.

Slingplayer mobile

9. Kayak - free

Kayak is one of the best sites for finding hotels and flight deals; it's even handier on the move - you can find a room, track a flight or look up airline baggage fees.


10. neoReader - free

BlackBerry Messenger 5 lets you use QR codes to add contacts - it can also use them to download software, open web pages and call phone numbers but it's not that convenient to pretend to be adding a contact every time. NeoReader (get.neoreader.com on your BlackBerry) isn't the most elegant app, but it's quicker for snapping barcodes and it recognises more functions (like sending text messages).


11. Xobni - £7.95

A few people have spent years creating their address book in Outlook, keeping it up to date and syncing it to their BlackBerry; the rest of us can use Xobni to do the work. Xobni grabs contacts automatically from emails, phone calls, meetings, text messages, LinkedIn and Facebook - and arranges them by how often you're in touch. Flick the trackball up when you're writing a message to find and add contacts from Xobni. If you have Xobni for Outlook you get even more contacts.


12. Gwabbit - free or £7.95

Simpler than Xobni, Gwabbit just grabs email addresses and (sometimes) numbers from email signatures - automatically or you can force it to scan a message. A quick way to build up your address book, but the free version tells the person you're 'gwabbing' that you've done it.


13. Linked In - free

If Linked In is your social network, the official app gives you updates, copies contact details into your address book and lets you send and accept invitations from the app. The downside is if your network is active, downloading their updates can impact performance and battery life.


14. hulloMail 1.2 - free

hulloMail offers iPhone-style visual voicemail where you can see what message you have and who from, in your inbox on the phone or wherever you read your email - or record your own Hullo voice messages to send. Pretty much what voicemail should be.


15. Documents To Go - $19.99

Pay for the premium version of Documents To Go, that comes free on most BlackBerrys, and you can create new documents, check your spelling, use bulleted lists and tables, copy text out of PDFs and actually read PDFs on screen. The handy file viewer and automatic sync of documents from the desktop software are a bonus.


16. Bones In Motion - free

It's a shame Bones In Motion is only for the Storm and Storm 2 because it's an excellent pedometer and walking tracker; it tracks your walking or biking accurately, shows your trail on a map and works out how much exercise you got. And it's free!

Bones in motion

17. Home to Phone - $2.99

It's easier to look up a phone number on your desktop, but you want to dial the number on your phone; Home to Phone lets you send numbers to your BlackBerry ready to dial; you can also send URLs to your phone, or back to your PC if the BlackBerry browser can't cope. If you don't use Firefox you'll need to run the slightly buggy Windows app (the Chrome plug-in doesn't have all the features yet).

Home to phone

18. Where's My Phone? - £2.79

Left it at home or lost it in a bar? Where's My Phone? lets you find your BlackBerry by turning on the GPS, making it ring loudly or having it call you so you can listen to where it is; you can lock it with a reward message asking finders to call you or wipe it. You have to set it up and learn how to send commands, but once done you get peace of mind.

Wheres my phone

19. Twitter - free

There are plenty of Twitter apps for BlackBerry - UberTwitter is particularly good - but the official Twitter client has a great range of features including tweeting photos from the camera, making lists, the choice of retweeting or quoting - and new tweets appear right in the inbox.


20. Seesmic - free

You don't get the multicolumn view of the desktop version with Seesmic for BlackBerry, but you do get posting (via Ping.fm) to a panoply of services and there are nifty features like seeing images in tweets and even the timeline.


21. Vlingo - free or £15.89

With a great keyboard on the BlackBerry you don't need voice control as much but Vlingo does more than just taking dictation; you can use your voice to search the Web,update Facebook or Twitter and (of course) voice dial; you can also launch apps and have messages read out to you. The paid version lets you send messages and IMs or dictate into apps.


22. AstraSync - $49

Why would you need another mail app for BlackBerry? AstraSync works with Exchange ActiveSync services like Hotmail and Gmail so you get over-the-air calendar and contacts sync, it synchronises read and deleted messages in both directions - and it works without a BlackBerry data contract so you can save money, especially when you're roaming.


23. Google Maps - free

BlackBerry Maps is all very well, but Google Maps shows tube and rail lines, satellite images and traffic - and lets you search for places and addresses and get directions. It's a shame the interface doesn't make better use of the memory and trackball but you'll want to have it if you go - well, anywhere.

Google maps

24. PayPal - free

Simple and straightforward, the PayPal app lets you send money from your phone in a choice of currencies (and you can see how much you have and what you've spent and received lately), directly to people in your address book.


25. eBay - free

Search eBay form your phone and log into your account to bid, check on watched items or monitor your own auctions with the eBay BlackBerry app. Another nice BlackBerry feature is the way you get notifications from the app in the inbox.



Liked this? Then check out 25 essential BlackBerry tips and tricks

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