Best free BlackBerry apps

BlackBerry may have come a little late to the app store party, but the company's App World is now open for business, offering more than 10,000 apps to choose from.

BlackBerry may have come a little late to the party in providing a centralised download store for useless fart apps, but the company's official App World opened for business in 2009 and now has more than 10,000 apps to choose from. If you're a BlackBerry owner and haven't yet tucked in to all the downloadable deliciousness that's on offer, the good news is that plenty of the apps are free and, better still, many serve a higher purpose than emitting obscene noises from within the bowels of your pocket.

Below you'll find a list of our current faves, all of which can be added directly to your phone over the air for the grand total of zero pence. Click here for a wider range of BlackBerry apps and remember: not all apps are compatible with all handsets, so check the requirements first.

Utility

BeBuzz

BeBuzz Free
Price: Free
This extremely handy little app lets you customise your handset's alerts with combinations of different coloured LED flashes for incoming calls and missed calls. You can even set the LED to cycle through all the colours of the rainbow in 'disco' mode should you so wish. The free version has some limitations -- you can only set custom LED colours for three specific contacts, for example.

So if you're finding BeBuzz useful, it could be worth upgrading to the full version (which costs £4.79), as this allows you to assign LED colours, audible alerts and vibration for everything from incoming SMS messages and emails to a low battery warning.
Also consider: Vlingo (Free)

Browser

Bolt

Bolt
Price: Free
A free alternative to the Web browser that comes with your 'Berry, Bolt is definitely worth a spin. It's fast, rendering whole Web pages much quicker than the built-in browser over 3G as well as Wi-Fi. It gives you the full original Web page too (with some minor modifications to help it fit mobile screens), not some cut-down quasi-WAP version.

The tabbed home page gets you to your favourites and browsing history straight away, and hotkeys can make navigation even faster. Best of all, Bolt can play embedded videos. Not all formats and sites are supported, but many of the big ones, such as YouTube, work well.
Also consider: Opera (Free)

Media

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer 
Price: Free
The BBC's on-demand iPlayer service appears on yet another platform, although, sadly, it's not available on all breeds of BlackBerry (yet). Currently, only the Bold 9700 , Torch 9800, Storm 9250 and 9550 are supported. If you're lucky enough to own one of these, this free app will gain you access to a week's worth of rolling BBC TV and radio.

Picture quality can be a little squishy-looking and there's no way to stream when you're on a 3G network -- iPlayer is defiantly Wi-Fi-only. That said, it's still pretty amazing to be able to tap into and catch up on all that content from a device that fits in your pocket.
Also consider: Xenozu YouTube Player (Free)

Social networking

LinkedIn

LinkedIn
Price: Free
Getting LinkedIn together with your BlackBerry should be a marriage made in professional heaven and, while earlier versions of this app were a little buggy, recent updates appear to have ironed out the rough spots. Six icons sit at the top of the screen providing you with instant access to network updates, connections, invitations, messaging, reconnecting and searching.

You can post your own updates as well as view those from your other connections and it's also possible to update or customise your profile from your handset. Best of all, you can even integrate your BlackBerry mail and contacts.
Also consider: Twitter (Free)

Utility

Where's My Phone

Where's My Phone -- Free Edition
Price: Free
Whether you're prone to losing your BlackBerry down the back of the sofa or on the back seat of a taxi cab, this app will help you reunite with your handset. You can remotely trigger an alarm to find it nearby, even if it's set to silent/vibrate mode. If it's further afield, you can send a command that tells your misplaced mobile to provide you with its current GPS co-ordinates, which then allows you to track it down on a Google Map.

We recommend trying out the free version of Where's My Phone first. If you like it, it's definitely worth stumping up £3.19 for the Pro Edition, which unlocks a stack of handy features.
Also consider: QuickPull Free (Free)

Maps and navigation

Poynt

Poynt
Price: Free
Pinpointing your current whereabouts using either your BlackBerry's built-in GPS or cellular site-location methods, this smart app can help you find nearby restaurants, movies, businesses, services and more. Not only that, Poynt also provides thoughtful extras, such as a brief weather summary for your location on its home page, plus links to viewable movie trailers directly from within cinema listings.

The 'map it' section allows you to superimpose layers, such as traffic, public transport lines and even relevant Wikipedia entries on to Google Maps. Poynt is a slick app that's intuitive to use and an absolute must-have for all BlackBerry owners.
Also consider: Open Table (Free)

Security

WaveSecure

WaveSecure Mobile Security -- Trial 
Price: Free
These days, our smart phones contain a whole heap of personal information that we wouldn't want to fall into the wrong hands. McAfee's WaveSecure is effectively an insurance policy against that happening, providing you with a way to remotely track, lock, backup and wipe your BlackBerry in the event of it going walkies. And, if it turns out your handset's gone for good, you can restore all your data to a new phone and carry on with minimum disruption.

The free version will give you a week's full functionality to play with -- after that, you'll need to pay £12.50 to carry on using the full version.
Also consider: Call Control Blacklist Lite (Free)

Music

TuneWiki

TuneWiki 
Price: Free
With occasional buffering issues and "this content is not available in your area" messages, TuneWiki might not be the best Internet-radio or MP3-player app available for your BlackBerry, but it does a very good job of combining both of these tasks in one interface. It also has one particular unique selling point -- it can simultaneously provide you with the lyrics to songs as they play.

The free version is ad-supported, so if you're allergic to having stuff sold at you, you may want to cough up the $4.99 it costs to ad-proof your experience.
Also consider: 7digital Music Store (Free)

Office

Documents To Go

Documents To Go Standard Edition New v2 
Price: Free
You probably already have the BlackBerry staple that is Documents To Go installed on your handset. It's made up of three apps that let you view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations right from your mobile. But if you're still on versions 1.0 to 1.008, this free update is a very worthwhile download.It might not bring with it all the functions of the fully featured Documents To Go Premium (which you can upgrade to from within the app for £12.50), but it adds some useful extras, such as support for Word 2007 docs and 'track changes'.
Also consider: Evernote (Free)

Game

Bubble Burst

Bubble Burst Free
Price: Free
Gaming is an area where even the staunchest Berry-heads would probably admit there's room for improvement. There are, however, a number of fun puzzle games available, most of which seem to involve blocks, jewels or bubbles of some sort, and the Bubble Burst Free app is one of the best. Gameplay is a simple matter of bursting coloured bubbles in batches of two or more touching bubbles on a grid. The higher the number of same-coloured bubbles you burst in one go, the higher your score. You can mix things up with some alternative game modes and banish the ads for just £0.79.
Also consider: Rolling with Katamari (£3.99)

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About the author

    Nik Rawlinson has been writing about tech since Windows 95 was looking distinctly futuristic. He is a former Editor of MacUser magazine and one-time scribe for Personal Computer World. Nik is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.

     

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