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  • Must Have Apps for BlackBerry

    Posted on September 8th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    It’s been ages since I wrote about my gadgets, thanks to my love affair with the Xbox 360. Right now my Xbox is setup at work for a big Guitar Hero 5 and Beatles Rock Band event tomorrow.  I’m here talking about my other big obsession, applications for BlackBerry.

    As far as BlackBerry’s go, I’m somewhat of a n00b. My first berry was the Storm 9530 on Verizon, which after 5 months, I switched to AT&T and got the Bold 9000. Don’t worry, I have been a smartphone junky for 6 years now, just recently new to BlackBerry.

    So, now onto my list of must have applications for BlackBerry. I’m going to spare the suspense and jump right into my #1 app and work my way down to the minutiae.

    1. PodTrapper (Versatile Monkey) – This is the premiere podcast player for BlackBerry.  I’m a heavy podcast listener, and in the past used iTunes on my Windows computer to download podcasts.  Then I’d transfer over via Windows Media Player syncing.  Basically, it was a crappy kludge, and I never much liked all the steps to get podcasts on my device. With PodTrapper, all podcasts can be downloaded over the air (OTA), via cell signal, WiFi, or USB. There’s even a pseudo-store front for browsing known ‘casts. The app lives within BlackBerry’s limited usable memory, but the podcasts live in the microSD (or on-board 1GB flash) memory. I use this app several hours every day. It’s available at www.versatilemoney.com for $9.99.
      If you are wondering, the podcasts I most listen to are 2old2type Radio, BB Geeks, CrackBerry.com, Jay Severin, PalmCast, Pandora Presents…SANS Internet Storm Center StormCast, Starpower, The Live Music Podcast, gspn.tv Weekly Lost Podcast, The Xbox 360 Fancast, Major Nelson.
    2. Garmin Mobile GPS – This full-featured GPS is just as good as the stand-alone units and costs the same as the cheap units, but offers features that some of the high-end units can’t match. The benefit of Garmin Mobile for BlackBerry is that your BlackBerry has a cell phone radio in it and the software uses the cell radio to assist in location finding. You may know of tower triangulation, which uses your cell phone radio to determine roughly where you are.  Well, Garmin uses both the on-board GPS and the cell phone radio to locate you (better known as aGPS), which just about every stand-alone GPS does not have.  Also, Garmin Mobile is a very small application and there is no downloading/installing maps. The maps all come to your BlackBerry real-time, OTA. So, as maps (in the Garmin cloud) update, you get them immediately without having to purchase maps every year. Garmin Mobile has the features you’d expect, audible turn-by-turn announcements, 2D, 3D, text views that update as you progress in your trip, speed, and estimated time of arrival (which updates as you progress). It also has traffic warnings, which is another benefit of the cell phone radio. Garmin Mobile will determine the best route if a major road is known to have traffic or construction. On the somewhat downside, if your phone cannot get a cell signal when you start Garmin, the app will not open. It needs a cell signal to get the initial maps. If you lose cell service during your route, that’s ok, as long as your phone can access GPS satellites, your route will continue. For Storm users, you have full touch screen capability, making it even better to use, plus the portrait or landscape layout is very nice. I chose Garmin Mobile for my Bold and my wife’s Storm, instead of paying $100+ for a stand alone unit. It’s available at http://www8.garmin.com/mobile/blackberry/ for $99, but can be found for $79 if you do a little online searching.
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    4. Slacker Personal Radio – This is a free music application that has access to over 100 pre-programmed (and unlimited custom made) radio stations. It’s based on the popular browser based streaming radio at www.slacker.com, and is used daily on my BlackBerry. It has taken over as my primary music player, used more often than the built in BlackBerry Media Player. For Slacker, you pick a station and songs play at random. Stations can be cached, which helps reduce data usage and saves battery. The app is free and all music is free with an occasional advertisement. There is a paid option for about $4 per month, which supports no ads, song lyrics, and other features. You can download it at www.slacker.com.
    5. SocialScope Lite– This is one of the many Twitter applications for the BlackBerry.  Previously, I used TwitterBerry and UberTwitter. I switch out Twitter apps like underwear. This current favorite, also integrates Facebook support into a single feed, which is a good thing for me. I have noticed though, that during times of limited BES coverage, SocialScope does not update, but UberTwitter figures out how to reroute traffic through a different port and works fine. That is something SocialScope, I hope, will fix in their next update. The app is still in beta. It’s free (for now) and can be located at http://www.socialscope.net/.

    Some other mentionables include: GymTechnic, WeatherEye, CaptureIt, LeaveItOn, and I Love BlackBerry.

    I’ll cut there for now. How about you BlackBerry owners, what apps are you using every day?

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