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Must Have Apps for the Blackberry
While the iPhone is all the rage, no smartphone says business like the BlackBerry. It's a powerful little device that lets you send and receive e-mails, browse the Web, view documents, keep track of tasks and contacts, and even take photos and videos. You can also make phone calls with it.
The first thing that just about every new BlackBerry user does is load the device with as many applications as they can. Finding applications and choosing the ones that fit your needs can be a long, drawn out process. This Tech Tip looks at some useful BlackBerry software. Some of it will help you be more productive, and some will keep you better informed. Most of them are free.
Before you start installing
Before you put your first application on your shiny new BlackBerry, consider getting a microSD card. Most BlackBerries, especially newer ones, come with a decent amount of internal memory. But you can always use more – whether it's for the applications themselves or for your files and photographs.
Keeping organized and synchronized
One of the great things about a BlackBerry is that it works well with a number of Web-based applications. Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you that I do a lot of work in the cloud. But that's not to say that I completely trust Web-based applications. A number of high-profile outages have occurred and it's always good to have an offline copy of certain information.
If you use Google's applications, you can synchronize your calendar and contacts using the free Google Sync. It's not just for the BlackBerry; there are versions of the software for other mobile phones and smartphones, too.
One Web-based application that many rely on is Remember the Milk. It's an online task management tool, which not only stores details about what needs to be done and there’s a reminder when something needs to be finished. You're probably wondering why I continue to use MilkSync. The biggest reason is that I can synchronize the task that I enter in Remember the Milk with those on my BlackBerry – you can set it up to do a two-way sync. It's fast and efficient and it beats trying to maintain two sets of information.
Information. None of us can get enough of it, and it seems to be something that many BlackBerry users are addicted to. That's where a good news reader comes in. I've tried a number of them for the BlackBerry and the only one that I've found to be a keeper is Viigo. Viigo allows you to view content from literally thousands of sources. You can get news, weather, sports, entertainment, airline flight and travel information, stock quotes, blogs and podcasts, and a whole lot more.
Using the Web
Out of the box, every BlackBerry comes with a Web browser and (depending on your wireless provider) applications that connect you to such popular social networking sites as Facebook and MySpace. The browser isn't the greatest, although it is useful for installing applications over the air. While they have a lot of users, not everyone is interested in Facebook or MySpace.
Say what you will about Twitter but it's become a popular way for people to connect and express themselves on the Web. All you need to do is type 140 characters or less – sort of like a text message.
A Pair of Others
What other software is useful? That's definitely a loaded question. But here are a couple good choices:
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