Best BlackBerry apps

From voice control to podcasting, we judge some of the best of the BlackBerry apps ripe for the picking from the BlackBerry App World and beyond

Since the launch of BlackBerry App World a few short months ago, crackberriers have joined iPhone-toters and Android addicts in spending all their pocket change on apps.

Apps for the BlackBerry tend to be more expensive than iPhone or Android apps, so we want to make sure you get your money's worth -- hence our recommendations for the best BlackBerry apps money can buy, or better yet, the best freebies available.

We used a BlackBerry Curve 8520 for our testing. Annoyingly, not all apps are available for all phones, so you'll have to browse the shelves of the App World yourself to be sure that apps are available for you. We've linked to the App World Web site, which has prices in US dollars, but if you browse on your handset logged into your UK PayPal account, you'll see prices in Her Majesty's pounds sterling.

If you have a favourite app that didn't make it into the list, we want you to shout it from the rooftops of the comments section so we can check it out.

Vlingo

Vlingo is a voice-control app that allows you to search the Web, dial your phone, and even update Facebook and Twitter using only the dulcet tones from your cakehole. Vlingo makes your BlackBerry respond to your stern commands like a willing slave.

And it's no dummy -- Vlingo learns your voice and the words that you use so that it improves over time, and feeds back into the database so everyone benefits. So if someone starts talking about a new musician with an unusual name, for example, Vlingo will learn the unlucky sod's moniker and recognise it when other users say it.

For £13.99, Vlingo Plus adds the power to send text messages and emails too.

Vlingo (free)
Vlingo Plus

Google Sync

Jealous of your Android-sporting mates waving their synchronised Google calendars in your face and then jetting off to events you have no automatic reminders for? Your troubles are over.

Googe Sync for BlackBerry doesn't look like much, but it'll sync your contacts and calendar with your Google account -- you can already add your Gmail to your BlackBerry's email inbox.

Google hasn't put this handy app in the BlackBerry App World, the cheeky monkeys, but you can easily install it yourself by browsing to m.google.com/sync in your phone's Web browser. Best of all, it's free.

BlackBerry Messenger

Here's a little something your non-BlackBerry friends can only dream of -- free instant messaging to other BlackBerries, anywhere in the world, for free. You have to know their unique PIN number, but then you can chat till your thumbs fall off and never pay a penny.

You can share pictures and video with single contacts or groups, and you can be in several conversations at once, and check your friends' statuses. 

It only works with other BlackBerries, however, because messages go via the great RIM servers buried deep beneath the Canadian permafrost.  The app itself is free too.

BlackBerry Messenger

7digital Music Store

With iTunes on the iPhone and the Amazon MP3 store on the Google Nexus One, music-loving BlackBerry peeps won't want to be left out in the cold, tunelessly humming a sad song. Happily, 7digital has cranked out one of the best BlackBerry apps in the App World to make sure that doesn't happen.

7digital uses a unique user interface that takes advantage of newer BlackBerrys' convenience keys to open Web-inspired menus, rather than sticking with the stodgy standard menus. You can browse the online MP3 store for DRM-free tunage or your own tracks on your phone. The app supports music stored on your memory card, and you can download tracks you bought previously on to any phone, which beats the Amazon MP3 store hands down.

If you're not connected to Wi-Fi when you buy a song, downloads come down at a low bit-rate 64kbps version so you can listen right away. Once you get on Wi-Fi, the app automatically downloads the higher bit-rate 320kbps MP3 you paid for.

The music player supports Bluetooth streaming, so you can listen with Bluetooth headphones, and it'll run in the background so you can groove while you do other things. And hey, the app is free!

7digital music store

PodTrapper Podcast Manager

This popular podcast app does everything you want in a podcast app, and makes iTunes on the iPhone look as dumb as a sack of peanuts. Browse the extensive podcast listings in the browser to subscribe, or enter a URL for your favourite ear candy and the app will download over Wi-Fi -- or optionally even when you're connected over 3G.

Once your 'casts are downloaded, you can listen to them just like you would any music file on the phone, accessing it from within PodTrapper or the default music player. PodTrapper pauses the aural pleasure when a call comes in, and always remembers where you left off.

Video podcasts are also supported, and of course the app cleans up after you by deleting old files when you're done listening. PodTrapper is £6.99, but you can try it for free for 30 days.

PodTrapper

 

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