Though BlackBerry has only a fraction —less than a 10th— of the amount of apps Apple and Android provide, there are still apps for just about everything. Remember, one of BlackBerry's best advantage is security, which is usually more important than having an app for everything under the sun.
Here we introduce 50 free hand-picked apps out of the 25,000+ total in the BlackBerry store.
Keep in mind these are designed for the BlackBerry SmartPhone. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has it's own 3,000+ apps in the store. And there's soon to be much more when Android apps can easily be ported over to the PlayBook OS by developers and offered in the BlackBerry store —also a possibly for the BlackBerry SmartPhones within the next year.
Productivity and Business
This app and service lets you store and synchronize files on up to 2 GB of free online storage, also giving you access on computers via the website or Webdav. The cloud printing capability lets you send print jobs from your phone to your home or office.
Lets you store, synchronize, search, and access your personal database of text notes, photos and images, and voice recordings. Everything is synchronized and also available via the website and the Windows desktop app. Helps you remember and stay organized in your personal and professional life's.
Gives you a SSH and Telnet client on your BlackBerry. Connect to Unix and Linux machines, mainframes, routers, switches, and other hardware. Supports SSH2 with public key authentication, user-definable shortcut keys, and terminal emulation.
This enhances your voicemail experience. Read and/or play your messages in any order from your phone or the website. It also offers organization, sharing, and blocking features.The integration with Facebook, shows photos of your friends with their messages.
Let's you edit and share photos right on your BlackBerry. You can zoom, rotate, resize, combine, change lighting and colors, and apply effects. Open images when browsing in the native file explorer or via the editor's open dialog with thumbnail previews.
Helps you track and report on expenses, time, and mileage. Great for business trips and traveling or personal use on vacations. You can even synchronize the data to the website so you can view, print, and share reports from any computer.
View and analyze real time data from Excel, SAP, SQL, Oracle, CRM, and ERP databases. Share reports, charts and snapshots via e-mail. Great for sales, marketing, finance, operations, manufacturing, and other business activities.
Helps you manage your business operations, organization, and collaboration. The free service includes Contacts, Notebooks, Wikipedia, RSS News Reader, Shopping Lists, and Debts and Credits. Web access is also offered via other mobile platforms and their website.
Gives you access to MLS, recently sold, apartment listings. Great when buying, renting, selling, or just watching the market. The GPS functionality can show nearby properties, favorites can save listings, and Call to See can connect you to the real estate agent.
Fun, Entertainment, and Enjoyment
Play the classic Hangman game when you or your friends are sitting around. Exercise your brain and discover new words on the topic of your choice. Its packed with enough words and phrases to keep you occupied on every occasion, and even download new ones with Daily Packs.
Sharpen your memory skills while having fun. This memory matching game comes with multiple themes and difficulty levels with score tracking and comparison. It even features a Child Lock so others can't mess with the phone functions while playing.
12) Free Solitaire
Looking for the classic card game Solitaire? This one offers draw 1 or 3, timed moves, and standard and vegas scoring. It also has a resume function to pick up where you left off.
Gives Verizon FiOS customers mobile access to their DVR. Set and manage recordings, parental controls, and bookmarks. Browse and search through scheduled and recorded programs, TV listings, and VOD listings.
Gives TiVo users mobile access to their DVR. Set and manage recordings with the familiar TiVo look, feel and features. Browse and search through recording and channel listings programs by title, keyword, actor or category. Even add show or movie reminders to your calendar.
15) U-verse Mobile
AT&T U-verse customers can access their DVR and watch hit TV shows. Like FiOS and TiVo, it offers the basic DVR management and TV listing features. But you can also download and watch some shows with select packages and devices.
Gives you the same music experience as with their website. Enter your favorite songs or artists and it plays similar music. You can rate the songs to better customize your personalized radio station.
Hear a tune but don't know the artist? Well this app will capture the audio, identify the song (up to 5 tags per month), and let you view the lyrics. You can also manually search for songs and artists. You can read the track and album reviews, watch YouTube videos, buy music, share tags with friends.
News, Searching, and Information
18) CBS News
If you're a CBS News fan, download their app for breaking news and developing stories from CBS News and station affiliates. You can also stay update-t-date with the CBS Evening News and the CBS Early Show.
19) AP Mobile
Gives you access to national and international news and weather from the AP and more than 1,000 newspapers and sources. Updates are downloaded throughout the day, great when you don't have an Internet connection. You can also set news alerts and share stories and photos via email, SMS, and Twitter.
Lets you view current weather conditions and forecasts for your current location (automatically taken using GPS if available) or search for other places which you can save. You can also get daily reports via messages and/or integrate the five-day forecast into your calendar. You also get alerts for severe weather watches and warnings.
If you're already a fan of The Weather Channel, you might opt for their app. View current conditions and forecasts, see the radar maps, view local and national severe weather alerts, check airport delays, and more. It also integrates with your calendar and address book.
Customizable feed reader with several categories and feeds pre-installed. Supports non-standard feeds (such as Twitter and LinkedIn), multiple feed search methods, copy and paste, and in-app email sharing.
Buyers can search, watch, bid, or buy. They also receive alerts on other bids and the ending status. They even get reminders on the calendar for ending of listings. Sellers can watch and review sale items and respond to questions.
Scan those funky looking square bar codes (called QR Codes) with your BlackBerry's camera. You can see this app's QR Code below. You don't have to snap a picture, just put the code in the camera's view and it will scan instantly. Then it will take the given action, such as launching your browser, dialing a number, sending a text or email, or importing contact info.
You can do the Facebook basics, such as update your status and post photos, check your news feed, make comments, write on walls, check your inbox, and send messages. Facebook Places support lets you "Check In" to share your location and locate your friends. You can also browse through your friends and pages or search for more. You can even have the Facebook profile photos of your friends shown when they call or email.
Lets you do the Twitter basics, such as update your status, share links from the browser, and upload photos from the camera. You can also follow your friends, search for others, and edit re-tweets. You get instant alerts of new messages and mentions.
This gives you one of the only missing features from the Facebook app above—support for Facebook Chat. It supports multi-person chatting with customized colors, emoticons, and alerts. It also lets you quickly post to your FaceBook wall within the app.
This is an ad-supported app that enhances BlackBerry Messenger. It replaces the native email alerts with a pop-up that shows the sender and subject line of incoming messages. Thus you can quickly see if it needs your attention without opening the entire message. It even works when using other apps so you don't have to stop what you're doing unless you see it's necessary.
Allows you to password protect access to BlackBerry Messenger. The privacy of your texting can be protected when others use your BlackBerry. You can quickly Lock and Unlock on the Application switcher.
This is a cross-platform messenger, also available for iPhone, Android, and Nokia Symbian, free for the first year. Its an enhanced version of SMS and MMS that uses your 3G/EDGE internet data plan (or Wi-Fi if available). Chat and share with another WhatsApp user or a group—among all the supported platforms. Send videos, photos, voice notes, contacts, and your locations.
31) IMPlus Lite
If you're a instant messaging junkie, this will help save time and effort when chatting or sharing across multiple services. It supports AIM/iChat, MSN/Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!, ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk, MySpaceIM, Facebook, Skype, and Twitter. Talk one-on-one or create/join a group. You also get access web-based access from your desktop or laptop.
Gives you central access, sharing, and backup of your contacts. Pulls contact info from your social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and email services (GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo). This can help you network and keep in contact with others.
Tools and Utilities
Protects your device and info if it becomes lost, stolen, or broken.Works with a free service offered by RIM. Schedule automatic backups of most data. If your device is misplaced or stolen, you can remotely lock, locate or wipe it via the Internet. You can even make it ring loud to help find it and display a message in case someone else finds it.
This offers a host of security and privacy features, including device locking and recovery, emergency call button, and call blocking. Plus during a 30-day trial of the Pro edition, you get mobile virus and SPAM protection, backup and restore, and remote wiping.
35) Telicost Lite
Keeps track of your data, voice, and SMS usage. It compares it to your plan and provides alerts and alarms when you reach the limits. This can be a great money-saver.
Recovers the lost and used up memory of your BlackBerry device. Boosts performance and makes applications run faster and smoother. You can run on-demand and on a schedule.
This installs onto your BlackBerry Smartphone and enables you to access and view your data from your BlackBerry PlayBook. Access your email, calendar, files, contacts, memo pad, and tasks on the larger tablet display. You can even use the smartphone's data plan to browse the Internet on the PlayBook.
38) Who Is It
See who's calling, emailing, or texting by the color of the front LED light on your BlackBerry. Its faster and easier than reading the caller ID, especially if the phone is out of your reach. You can assign up to 10 colors to different people.
39) Menu Clock
This adds a clock to the BlackBerry menus of all apps. Check the time while playing a game or browsing the web without having to exit the app.
40) Screen Shot FREE
Lets you take, save, and email screen shots of your BlackBerry screen. Maybe capture a high score on a game to showboat to your friends, discuss your favorite apps on a blog, or use to capture an error message for tech support.
Reads your SMS and email messages aloud, so you can concentrate on driving. Also features customizable auto-response and timeout duration. It can help prevent distracted driving and related accidents.
Lookup real-time sports scores, player stats, league standings, recaps, and other sports info and news. You can also track live games with push alerts.
A must-have for Sport Illustrated fans. Stay up-to-date on sports news and topics. Customize it with your favoriate pro and college teams. See and share the SI commentary and photographs.
44) Free Golf GPS Range Finder
Shows the distance to the green and any obstacles on thousands of different courses. You can also tap your touch screen for it to calculate the distance to that point from your current GPS location. You can even checkout a satellite photos of the course and holes.
Easily track time for up to 15 athletes or participates at once. Simply hit Start to begin timing all and then hit each person's individual Stop button. Then you'll get a table and ranking info which you can email or upload to Google Docs.
Measures distance, estimated calories burned, and current, average, and maximum speeds. Great for biking, hiking, walking, and other outdoor activities. You can even publish the data to the SmartRunner site, Facebook, or Twitter.
Helps you plan, book, manage, and share your travel info. Find flights, hotels, and destination information. It can even scan and automatically pull travel info from your emailed itineraries. You get alerts if a flight is delayed or there's connection changes. You can email your travel plans or post them to LinkedIn.
48) BlackBerry Maps
Gives you access to maps, directions, and info on nearby businesses and restaurants. GPS support gives you route planning, turn-by-turn directions, and location updates. You can save locations for later use and share maps via email or text messages.
This ad-supported app can translate and speak words or phrases in more than 50 languages. In addition to typing the words or phrases, you can translate from e-mails, the browser, or SMS messages. Then you can share your translations via Twitter, email, SMS, or memos.
Input or import an address from your contacts to get info on road closures, alternate routes, and the ETA. You can even quickly email or text the ETA info if someone is excepting you.
Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer—become a Twitter follower or use the RSS Feed to keep up with his writings. He is also the founder of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi networks.