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20 Top Picks from BlackBerry App World by PC Magazine

Posted by freeappsblackberry on December 29, 2009

BlackBerry App World , Research in Motion’s new mobile app store, already packs more than 500 programs-any of which can be delivered to your handset via a nifty portal that installs right on your BlackBerry’s home screen. Since it’s only been around for a few days, the store isn’t perfect yet. Some users have balked at first-week glitches including slow performance, and the need for a PayPal account, among other things.

But there’s plenty of time to iron out the details. For now, it’s easy to browse, buy, and install apps, which is all that really matters, right? We’ve rounded up the best applications currently available in the store, along with a couple of our favorites that we hope make it there soon. If you’re looking for apps to help save-or kill-time, you’re bound to find just the thing. The best part: Plenty of them are free.

Apps for Keeping in Touch and Informed

AOL Instant Messenger (Free)
AIM’s BlackBerry app lets you send and receive messages with all of your desktop buddies-not just your Mobile list. It can also keep track of several conversations at once. Not an AIM fan, or have additional friends on other services? Don’t miss the free Google Talk, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger clients also available in the store.

Facebook (Free)
Facebook for BlackBerry isn’t perfect-it’s still essentially the same app it was when it was released over a year ago. As a result, it doesn’t handle comments, hidden feed items, or any other recent Facebook changes on the desktop. But the native mobile app is still the fastest way to check your friends’ status updates, send messages, and upload photos right from your BlackBerry.

MySpace (Free)
Facebook may be winning the buzz race these days, but MySpace is still pulling in well over 50 million unique visitors each month. It’s similar to the Facebook app; users can send messages, update mood and status, view or send bulletins, and post photos. It’s also faster and easier to navigate than the site’s WAP page.

Viigo (Free)
Need an on-the-go RSS reader? Viigo lets you manage dozens of feeds, grouping them into categories and offering ultra-fast navigation along the way. Essentially, it gives you instant access to breaking news, flight schedules, restaurant reviews, sports scores, weather updates, and just about anything else-all within the same neatly designed, customizable interface.

News, Events, and Travel Apps

Bloomberg (Free)
This isn’t your garden-variety Web shortcut. Bloomberg offers a condensed version of the classic black Bloomberg terminal screen, with detailed indices, graphs, and moving currency data, along with an up-to-date index of top worldwide financial news stories. As useful as it is, you may want to limit your exposure given the depressing state of today’s economy.

Ticketmaster (Free)
Out with the guys making plans to hit the next Yankees home game? Lots of mobile sites let you get concert and sports event info on the go, but few make it as easy to buy tickets on the spot as Ticketmaster for BlackBerry. Within moments, I was able to bring up plenty of events and check available seating for different ticket configurations-that is, once I scrolled past pages and pages of legalese. (Man, what a buzzkill!)

Trapster (Free)
Beat the fuzz with your BlackBerry. Hook the app into your handset’s GPS radio or just enter locations manually, and Trapster will let you in on all the nearby speed traps, including police with live radar guns, known hiding places, and red light cameras. You can also rate traps to let other users know if they’re accurate, or report new traps right from your handset. The interface isn’t pretty, but who cares if it saves you from coughing up for a pricey ticket?

WorldMate Live (Free)
Expert travelers need fast, useful information on the go, and WorldMate Live delivers it. The app lets you check flight status, book hotels, connect with friends, and share your itineraries right from your phone. There’s also a currency converter, a time zone calculator, and BlackBerry Maps integration.

MP3 and Radio Apps

FlipSide ($9.99)
Today’s BlackBerrys come with a solid built-in media player, so a third-party solution may seem superfluous. But FlipSide does more, including displaying full-size album art, offering extra info about artists and albums, and helping you generate playlists on the fly. This full-featured music player app was $19.95, but now it’s half price.

Pandora (Free)
Take the Music Genome Project with you: As with Slacker, Pandora Radio lets you generate custom radio stations on the fly based around a single artist. Pandora also displays album art and lets you rate or skip tracks from your BlackBerry. Its algorithms are so good that I was sad to move on to test the next app.

Shazam (Free)
If you can still stand corporate-controlled radio-or just want to figure out the name of the song playing in the coffee shop-Shazam tags and identifies tracks by listening to them through your handset’s microphone. Once you know what you’re hearing, you can see album art or buy the track. After the trial period expires, the app is still free, but you can’t use its other features (such as e-mailing info to friends), and you’ll be limited to five tags per month.

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Slacker Radio for BlackBerry (Free)
To listen to music on the go, you have two options. You can set up playlists, transfer music via memory cards, get bored and do it all again next week. Or you can listen to Slacker, which hooks into your desktop Web account and gives you an unlimited supply of new tunes. Get all of the surprise of a veteran DJ’s picks with very few of the commercials. And you can cache channels to play later when you don’t have a signal.

Games

Civilization IV: War of Two Cities ($9.99)
Initially, I was disappointed to find out that this title isn’t a duplicate of the PC version; instead, it’s dedicated to city-on-city fighting in lieu of map-based development. Still, it offers unique strategic game play, with the ability to choose from among four civilizations. There’s also a deep, expansive feature list that reveals itself as each game progresses.

Guitar Hero World Tour ($11.99)
There’s not much to be said about Guitar Hero that you haven’t already heard. Except now, in addition to your game console, you can rock out with your BlackBerry. The game comes with 15 tracks, and can be controlled with multiple columns of keys on your handset. It’s a bit of a thumb-twister, but in most ways it’s just as much fun as, um, holding a “real” fake guitar.

New York Times Crosswords ($4.99)
Try your hand at 30 classic puzzles designed by Will Shortz, the famed New York Times editor. The game divides the puzzles in order of difficulty by weekday. Mondays are the simplest, with each day getting progressively more, well, puzzling. There’s also a comprehensive tutorial, and you can save games in progress.

Vegas Pool Sharks Lite (Free)
Most BlackBerrys aren’t all that great at playing 3D games since they lack the proper video hardware. But a slower-paced title like Vegas Pool Sharks Lite-which gives you custom views of the table, plus close-up looks at tough shots-suits your average Curve or Pearl just fine.

Apps We Like That Aren’t in the Store Yet

Google Maps Mobile (Free)
Many of today’s BlackBerry handsets come with built-in GPS. Even control freak Verizon Wireless is beginning to loosen its restrictions on which applications can make use of it. One of the best is Google Maps for Mobile, which offers most of what you love about the desktop version-including satellite views, turn-by-turn directions, and local business searching-and adds a GPS-enabled, location-based search component for use with your BlackBerry. To get there: m.google.com/maps.

Opera Mini 4.2 (Free)
RIM bundles a halfway-decent Web browser with its latest handsets. But for real speed and desktop page rendering power, install Opera Mini 4.2. It offers RSS feed support, an easy-to-use zoom box, a switchable mobile view, and flexible bookmark management. Opera Mini lacks comprehensive Adobe Flash support, but so does every other phone browser on the market. To get it, key mini.opera.com into your current mobile browser.

SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry ($29.95)
Anyone who already owns a Slingbox and a cable box or DVR, along with a compatible handset, should check out SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry. It gives live cable television or access to recorded and TiVoed programs on the go, all for the price of two months of mobile TV service from the major cell phone carriers. It’s available at mobile.slingmedia.com.

TwitterBerry (Free)
Twitter addicts know that a key purpose of the service is to stay in touch with your friends and colleagues on the go. While you can do that with SMS messages or Twitter’s WAP page, TwitterBerry is a far better way. The app aggregates status updates and offers simple, one-click delivery of your all-important 140-character missives-perfect for that inspired existential insight that pops into your head while you’re waiting in line at the bank. Direct your BlackBerry’s browser to orangatame.com/ota/twitterberry/, to get it.

Source : http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2344443,00.asp

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