Best BlackBerry Apps

BlackBerry Apps

Looking for apps for your new Q10 or Z10? See our guide to the best BlackBerry 10 apps.

Why should iPhone users have all the fun? Though Apple likes to trot out stats about its ballooning app store every month or so, BlackBerry App World has its own growing library of third-party apps, and it’s not clogged up with quite as many fart machines and virtual lighters, either. We dug out a bunch of our personal favorites across five different categories to highlight the very best BlackBerry developers have to offer.

This list has been updated since its original publication to reflect new releases and software updates. Also, make sure to check out our list of the best BlackBerry phones, as picked by our expert reviewers

Categories

Productivity

evernote_iconEvernote (Free)

Replace your butt-worn spiral notebook with this 21st century version, which allows you to capture the same brainstorms, thoughts and musings in a much more organized manner. Besides text, you can also file away photos (like snaps of whiteboard) and audio (like a spur-of-the-moment interview) from either your desktop or your phone, then effortlessly search through them later.

evernote

worldmate_live_iconWorldMate Live (Free)

When you’re stranded in Laramie, Wyoming, on a rainy Monday night without a place to stay, sitting in a parking lot with a broken car that won’t be fixed until Monday, you’ll be thankful you downloaded WorldMate Live. Within seconds, you can thumb through a list of hotel rooms sorted by distance from your location, with prices for each room and even a page for booking one. And that’s just scratching the surface of what it can do. You can also use it to track flights, sort itineraries, convert currency, look at maps, and check the weather where you’re headed. Download it before you leave home (and pray for cell signal in Laramie).

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amAze (Free)

TeleNav GPS Navigator has long been the de facto standard for turn-by-turn navigation on BlackBerry devices, but at $10 a month, it’s a lot pricier to keep around than a dog-eared atlas in the back seat. For those who just need the occasional prod in the right direction, amAze offers completely free turn-by-turn navigation with advanced features like local search, built-in weather, and even a library of speed traps to steer you clear of Johnny Law.

youmail_iconYouMail Visual Voicemail Plus (Free)

Jealous of the visual voicemail features on the iPhone? YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus provides the same ease of browsing and playback, along with even more powerful features like the ability to listen to your voicemails from any Internet-connected computer. Although it works by replacing your carrier’s default voicemail service, it works with all major U.S. carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and more – and there’s no fee for usage.

youmail

blurts_pro_iconBlurts Pro ($5.99)

While collar folk don’t often like to admit it, but let’s face it: 90 percent of the day, you don’t really need a smartphone because you’re already planted in front of a computer. Blurt Pro takes advantage of that fact by connecting your PC to your computer via Bluetooth whenever you’re in range, allowing you to see read and respond to SMS messages, place and answer calls, and even display call ID, all from your computer. It beats pulling your phone out of your pocket every time, and a real keyboard sure can come in handy for sending text messages in a hurry.

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Games

Pixelated Plus ($2.99)

It’s a bit like Minesweeper on acid: Turn a grid full of different colored blocks the same color by strategically switching the color of the square in the upper left. Every color swap will allow it to absorb more adjacent blocks, like using the “fill” tool in Paint. As with the aforementioned Windows classic, you’ll need to do it in the fewest number of moves to win, but you’ll probably keep coming back again and again after getting a knack for it.

the_oregon_trail_iconThe Oregon Trail ($4.99)

We love Oregon Trail. Maybe it’s because we’re based in Portland, or maybe it’s just because we grew up shooting 6,305 pounds of virtual buffalo that we couldn’t carry back to the wagon, like every other red-blooded American under age 30. Nostalgia trip aside, you’re still looking at a great role-playing game that will let you manage your family’s resources, meet challenges on the road west, and yes, hunt. Just watch the speed of that wagon on the trail or you’re on the fast track to dysentery.

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ka_glom_iconKa-Glom (Free for limited time, usually $4.99)

You might mistake it for Tetris at first glance, but a simple twist sets Ka-Glom ever-so-slightly apart from its classic Russian counterpart: only half the pieces falling can actually be combined. You’ll need to connect four dots of “Ka-Glom jelly” to detonate the bricks of the same color, making this title a little more challenging, strategic and ultimately more addicting than merely filling up spaces. It also offers normal, time attack and puzzle modes, plus hidden modes which can be unlocked.

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block_traffic_iconBlocked Traffic, (Free)

Much like Unblock Me for the iPhone, and the classic Rush Hour before it, Blocked Traffic presents players with a simple goal: Get a blocked car out of a square packed with other vehicles. The challenge, of course, is that none of them can move any way but forward and back, making it a puzzle game for the ages. The graphics on this implantation are crude, but probably won’t notice after you set to work shifting vehicles around and snap out of it two hours later.

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bubble_defense_2_iconBubble Defense 2, ($4.99)

After dipping its toe in the waters of the tower defense genre with the simplistic Bubble Defense, Second Gear Games is back to perfect it with Bubble Defense 2. Like the original, you’ll use armed towers – including flame thrower and six-barrel towers – to protect your turf. But two new types of towers help liven up the mix, you’ll now need energy to make them shoot, and new maps extend gameplay even further.

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Bubble Army Icon

Bubble Army ($2.99)

Bubble Army is a fantastically simple real-time strategy (RTS) game that puts you in command of a swarm of bubbles, each of which contains a varying number of ‘troops’. Your goal is to take over the entire playing field, but here’s the catch: every time you attack an enemy bubble, the attacking bubble loses a portion of its troops. With varying levels of difficulty and enemy AI, this game is easy to pick up, but challenging enough to keep you coming back.

Bubble Army
Next Dual Pack Icon

Next Dual Pack ($0.99)

This update of the award-winning game Next was re-developed from scratch, making it playable on both touchscreen and trackball devices — and they’ve also added 128 new levels. The object of this puzzle game is to eliminate all colored blocks on the screen. This is accomplished by moving blocks of the same color next to each other, at which point they will disappear. Don’t let the game’s simplicity fool you though, some levels will leave you stumped for days.

Next Dual Pack

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Video & Music

pandora_iconPandora (Free)

The best streaming music site on the Web has gone mobile. Not only has Pandora always done a superb job matching you to music you might like based on artists you already like, the mobile version has been streamlined enough to play just fine over EDGE connections, meaning you’re able to listen pretty much anywhere you get decent signal, not just in major cities. (That also means you don’t need a 3G BlackBerry to download it). You might just find yourself liking the app so much that you don’t even load your own music on your phone. It’s that good.

pandora

slacker_iconSlacker (Free)

Love Slacker Internet radio on the desktop? The slick BlackBerry version works just as well, and offers a feature that other phones won’t do: storing songs for connectivity draughts. Tell Slacker to cache a station and it will fill up with songs when you have connectivity to ensure Slacker keeps playing when you don’t. With over 100MB on tap for any given channel, you should get through your subway ride and then some before connectivity returns, ensuring that you’re no longer beholden to the whims of cell signals.

slacker

scanner_radio_iconScanner Radio ($4.99)

Ever see police cruisers or fire trucks speeding down the street and wonder where they’re headed? Once upon a time, you needed a radio the size of a brick to listen in on emergency response radio frequencies, but not anymore. Radio Scanner offers access to over 1,500 police, fire, railroad and weather channels through the Web, putting the power of a $200 handheld radio into your BlackBerry.

scanner_radio

shazam_iconShazam (Free)

Who hasn’t heard a song on the radio, in a bar, or on the elevator and wanted to figure out exactly who the artist was and what the song was called? Shazam makes it easy to identify it all in a matter of seconds: Just click “Tag Now,” give it a few seconds to record, send to Shazam’s database for identification, and you’ll have the song title, artist name, and album art back before the song is even over.

shazam

VLC Remote Control ($2.99)

Running a home theater PC to power your living room TV? Skip the chunky wireless mouse and keyboard and turn your BlackBerry into a media remote with VLC Remote Control, which pairs with the extremely popular VLC Media Player. Besides offering quick access to the usual controls, like play, pause and fast forward, VLC will let you browse your PC’s files directly from the handheld and choose what to play. No on-screen shenanigans needed. Because it works over a home Wi-Fi connection, you can even use it to control a computer in another room – like switching up the music in your living room from the kitchen.

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Utilities

Opera Mini 5 (Free)

After gliding around full HTML pages on the iPhone or Palm Pre with multi-touch gestures, it’s easy to see why the BlackBerry browsing experience has long been criticized as rather, well, primitive. Opera Mini 5 can’t magically endow your Bold with touch capabilities it doesn’t have, but it does turbocharge loading speeds by compressing pages before loading them on your page, and present a more powerful interface than the default BlackBerry browser with options like Speed Dial for your shortcuts.

trapster_iconTrapster (Free)

Until TomTom or Garmin fulfils our dream of an all-in-one GPS and radar detector, Trapster may be the next best thing. Using a BlackBerry’s built-in GPS capabilities, it will drop you on a map dotted with user-submitted speed traps, red light cameras and other wallet hazards, warning you before you come up on them and allowing you to peg the traps you spot for other users, too. Clearly, it’s not going to be as good as the Valentine One you’ve been eying for a decade, but then again, it doesn’t cost $400, either. It’s actually free.

trapster

call_blocker_iconCall Blocker Professional ($2.99)

In a perfect world where the National Do Not Call Registry actually worked, you wouldn’t need this app. In this world, you do. Call Blocker Pro allows you to block unwanted calls with all the precision of a trained operator answering your phone 24/7. You can block specific numbers, block all numbers not in your contact list, block by area code, whitelist certain numbers to make sure those calls always go through, and choose what do – like hang up or send to voicemail – for calls you block.

call_blocker

multi_alarm_iconMultiAlarm Pro ($4.99)

For those of you with nine-to-five gigs, the default BlackBerry alarm app might work just fine. But for those with crazier schedules, MultiAlarm Pro makes balancing a number of separate alarms on different days much easier. Any alarm can be programmed to go off only on certain days of the week, the alarm time is totally customizable, and you can also set countdown-style counters to go off in say, 20 minutes, rather than at a predetermined time. (Perfect for those spur-of-the-moment naps.)

multi_alarm_pro

tether_iconTether ($19.99)

Sure, you can technically tether your BlackBerry to your laptop to tap its Internet connection for free, but if you check out the instructions, you might think twice about spending the $20. Tether (formerly TetherBerry) allows you to easily tether your phone to your computer with either a hard USB connection or Bluetooth wireless by installing a small desktop client, then a simple app on the phone. We guarantee it’s easily than “manually disabling IP header compression and configuring your BES,” and cheaper than springing for a dedicated 3G USB modem, too. Just don’t abuse it, since some ISPs will come knocking if they notice you’ve been dragging down 40GB torrent files over your BlackBerry and not paying for tethering.

tether
Pattern Unlock Icon

Pattern Unlock (Free)

Why should iOS and Android users have all the fun? With this app, you too can have the super secure pattern unlock feature on your phone. If you need more security than simply pressing an unlock button, this   lock screen has a total of roughly 389112 unique combinations, so the chances of somebody guessing your pattern are slim.

Pattern Unlock
Drive Safely Icon

Drive Safely (Free)

Avoid distracted driving with this free app that will read your text messages out loud when you receive them on the road. Just enable it when you hop in the car and the app can even send customized pre-written responses to people trying to contact you.

Drive Safely

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Fun

facebook_iconFacebook (Free)

Given the cornea-blistering appearance of most MySpace pages, it doesn’t really surprise us that Facebook transitions to the BlackBerry much more readily. And this smartly designed little app doesn’t hurt, either. Besides making it easy to drain hours reading the pointless minutiae of other peoples’ lives, it integrates into your BlackBerry calendar, contacts and messages, making it possible to do things like set someone’s Facebook picture as their contact photo in the phone – automatically.

facebook

ubertwitter_iconUberTwitter (Free)

Meet the ultimate Twitter client for BlackBerry. Not only can you send out the infamous 140-character messages to the world, you can upload photos and videos, update your Google Talk status simultaneously, include your current location through Twitter geotagging, see other Twitter users nearby, and dabble with a host of other advanced features.

ubertwitter

easybartender_iconEasyBartender ($3.99)

Even if you can pour a shot from five feet and ignite a row of Flaming Doctor Peppers with a single plume of blazing Bacardi 151, we still doubt you have the bartending chops to remember all 9,000 drinks indexed in EasyBartender. Besides acting as a bartender’s cheat sheet when you can’t quite remember the ingredients or proportions in a single drink, you can enter the liquors with the My Bar feature, then discover new drinks by browsing the cocktails you can create with only what you have on hand.

easybartender

BigTinCan BuzzMe Premium ($4.99)

Much like its predecessor on this list – Color ID – BuzzMe lets you assign different ringtones and LED colors to different callers and e-mail contacts. But that’s just splashing around on the surface on the almost frightfully deep pool of features BuzzMe offers. You can set how long your phone vibrates, set it to buzz at the same time it rings (something BlackBerrys curiously don’t offer by default), and even tie it into apps like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter with third-party plug-ins.

What do you think of our best Blackberry apps list? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.

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Editors' Recommendations