10 must-have free BlackBerry apps

Do more with your BlackBerry -- without spending a cent.

Your BlackBerry might be plenty powerful out of the box, but there are hundreds of third-party applications out there that can make the device even more useful.

Adding the apps to your BlackBerry is a breeze, because they can all be installed "over the air," either by visiting the app's site with your BlackBerry's built-in browser and downloading the file directly, or by having an e-mail sent to your BlackBerry with a direct download link.

Even better, some of the best of these apps are totally free. Here are 10 of the best free apps available for your BlackBerry.

Viigo

Viigo is a full-featured RSS feed reader that lets you read your favorite feeds and keep up with important news wherever your day takes you.

You can add your own feeds (Viigo's auto-detect function can discover the feed address for most Web sites), but Viigo also comes well equipped with a variety of tech, politics, sports, weather and other feeds.

Preconfigured feeds also allow you to easily set up traffic alerts, stay up to date with flight information, and track packages from UPS, the US Postal Service, FedEx and DHL. The new version, now in beta testing, adds support for custom search alerts and even podcasts.

Vlingo

Although recent BlackBerries support voice dialing, the speech-recognition app Vlingo goes far beyond dialing numbers from your address book.

Using only your voice, you can run Web searches ("Find post offices in Punxsutawney"), launch built-in BlackBerry applications ("Open Calendar"), compose e-mails and send text messages.

The transcriptions tend to be very good, so you don't have to worry about double-checking before sending. Vlingo takes over the application key on the side of your BlackBerry, making it easy to access even while driving.

Google Mobile

Access the entire suite of Google's mobile-friendly services in one place with Google Mobile. A single interface gives you one-stop access to Google's Gmail and Maps applications (the latter of which can integrate with your built-in GPS tool, if your BlackBerry has one).

It also includes links to Web services including search, Google News, Google Reader, Google Docs (which is read-only on mobile devices), Picasa photos, and your Google Notebook, all of which open in your BlackBerry's built-in Web browser. Google Mobile also includes the Google Sync service, which allows two-way synchronization between your BlackBerry's built-in calendar and the Web-based Google Calendar.

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Logan Kugler

Computerworld
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