All work and no play makes you a dull boy…or girl.
Know the feeling? We bet you do. That’s why we’ve collected the following five free BlackBerry downloads that aren’t purely work related – though they could be used for business purposes.
Our past Tips of the Week included a variety of BlackBerry software-free, open-source and otherwise – but most of those applications were strictly business-focused. This week, in the spirit of summer, we’re loosening the tie, undoing our top buttons and giving you five free BlackBerry downloads designed for your life outside the corporate walls.
So sit back, grab a refreshing beverage and fire up the BlackBerry. Oh yeah, don’t forget to check out our BlackBerry memory optimization and performance tips, should you find yourself running more free software than your smartphone can handle.
1. Ready for Your Close Up: Flickr Photo Uploader for BlackBerry
We’re big fans of Yahoo’s Flickr, the online digital photo sharing and archiving service. And when you combine the functionality of Flickr with an Internet-enabled, digital camera-equipped mobile phone the possibilities are infinite.
Flickr Photo Uploader for BlackBerry
You can snap a photo at the beach, for instance, and share it with friends and acquaintances instantly by launching the Flickr app, which lives on your BlackBerry home screen in the form of a Flickr logo icon. Next you simply browse to the location of your photos, on your microSD media card or your device’s internal memory, for instance, and click on the file you want to upload.
Next, just give the photo a name and choose your privacy settings-Private, Friends, Family, etc. – pick the size in which you want it to appear and hit “Upload.” Within seconds, your image will be available on your Flickr page. And you can then send along the URL to your public images page to your friends and other interested parties so they can periodically check for updates.
The Flickr Photo Uploader for BlackBerry is available for free on RIM’s website, and all you need is a Flickr account, which is also free.
No worries, RIM is reportedly working on a Picasa for BlackBerry app, as well.
2. Know the Score with MLB Desktop Icon for BlackBerry
We don’t take baseball lightly. In fact, we’ll outwardly admit that we just might love America’s favorite pastime a little too much-just ask our significant others. That’s why we’re such big fans of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Desktop Icon for BlackBerry, which places your favorite team(s) icon on your BlackBerry home screen for both easy access to related scores and information, as well as some unique home screen decor.
MLB Home Screen Icon for BlackBerry
Whenever you click your squad’s logo, you get a listing of the team’s next game along with a schedule, news headlines, league standings, team and player alerts, roster lists, stats and more. You also get one-click access to the MLB.com mobile site.
And if your team happens to be playing, you can click your icon for real-time scores. So the next time a meeting and ball game overlap, you’ll have discrete and near-instant access to scores and game highlights. (If you get caught checking scores while the CEO’s talking, remember, you didn’t get hear about this app from us.)
The MLB Desktop Icon for BlackBerry is available for any of MLB’s 30 teams, and it can be downloaded for free over the air directly to your BlackBerry-data charges may apply-or you can choose to install via PC.
3. On the Money: BlackBerry Wallet
If you’ve ever wished for a safe, secure and simple digital storage option for your e-commerce information, BlackBerry Wallet may be just what you’re looking for.
BlackBerry Wallet from RIM
An evolution of RIM’s older Password Keeper app, the free BlackBerry Wallet stores all the information you need to shop via BlackBerry-payment card data, shipping addresses, gift card numbers, loyalty program credentials, and more-in addition to user names and passwords.
It’s also designed to integrate with sites that support the application so your information can be automatically entered into forms whenever you decide to make a mobile purchase. All you need to do is create one central password, fill in all the necessary information, and then click the Wallet icon on your home screen and login.
A big downside: The application doesn’t yet work with a very wide variety of sites-at least that we’ve seen. In fact, we only know of one website that currently works with BlackBerry Wallet, BPlay.com, a BlackBerry software retailer, but assuming RIM can convince a few major online retailers to back the application, this digital wallet may go a long way towards replacing your out-dated, leather billfold. (RIM will still, however, need to assure consumers that it’s safe to make financial transactions via mobile devices-which may be the greater challenge).
BlackBerry Wallet is available for free, over-the-air download.
4. TV Show Info on the Go: TV Guide Mobile for BlackBerry
Scenario: It’s Thursday night, 7:30 PM on the nose, and you just remembered the season finale of “Lost” is on ABC…at least you think it is. You’re still sitting in traffic on the expressway, hoping you get home in time for the opening sequence-which is starting to look less-than-likely.
TV Guide Mobile for BlackBerry
In comes the TV Guide Mobile for BlackBerry application from mobile software developer Handmark. With just a couple clicks you’ve got access to the full lineup of the night’s TV shows, as well as personalized recommendations and access to related news stories.
So in seconds you’re able to see that “Lost” isn’t on this week, and there’s no need to rush home. TV Guide Mobile also lets you send program reminders via SMS text message so you remember to leave work in time to get home next Thursday.
The application creates an icon on your BlackBerry home screen for easy access, and you can change your locations at will to see TV listings when you’re travelling.
TV Guide Mobile is available for free over-air-download, and it works on the vast majority of newer BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices-Windows Mobile 5.0 or higher is required.
5. Locate Your Car from Afar: CarFinder for BlackBerry
Ever parked the car in the vast shopping mall parking lot only to find yourself wandering aimlessly in the sweltering sun hours later in search of your vehicle? Yeah, us too.
But thanks to Neosistec, a Spanish software development firm, and its CarFinder for BlackBerry app, you’ll never find yourself wandering up and down aisles in search of your car again–no matter how large the parking lot. That’s because CarFinder uses your phone’s internal GPS to “tag” your parking location for future reference.
CarFinder for BlackBerry
You just mark your location as soon as you leave your vehicle, and whenever you’re ready to return, click the CarFinder icon on your BlackBerry home screen to launch the application. Then pick whether or not you want to find your car using CarFinder’s built-in compass or your BlackBerry Maps app, if available, and you’re car-ward bound.
CarFinder is available for free over-the-air download from RIM’s mobile.blackberry.com website.(Note: We were unable to give the CarFinder app a hands-on test drive, because we don’t have a BlackBerry with internal GPS and the application didn’t seem to work with our external GPS puck. The app just said “Waiting for GPS Signal” over and over again. So users without built-in GPS appear to out of luck.)
(Note: We were unable to give the CarFinder app a hands-on test drive, because we don’t have a BlackBerry with internal GPS and the application didn’t seem to work with our external GPS puck. The app just said “Waiting for GPS Signal” over and over again. So users without built-in GPS appear to out of luck.)