10 must-have free BlackBerry apps

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

BBNotePad

Packing a little more oomph than your BlackBerry's built-in MemoPad, BBNotePad is a plain text editor that allows you to write full-length documents or even code wherever you might be.

BBNotePad sports three text sizes for tired eyes, and it saves files as .txt files that can be opened directly on any computer, saving to either your BlackBerry's internal memory or on your removable flash card. It's very useful for sending notes and memos over Bluetooth to other handheld devices.

GridMagic Community Edition

Whether you need to run complex calculations or simply need to organize some information into a table, GridMagic Community Edition from the Simprit Free Software Community lets you create spreadsheets on the move.

GridMagic supports a wide range of mathematical functions, and lets you add formatting to keep everything clear and readable. Typical spreadsheet functions like freeze panes, select by row or column, and copy-and-paste are also available. Spreadsheets can be e-mailed as Excel .xls attachments via a new menu item in the BlackBerry's built-in e-mail composition screen.

Opera Mini

Although a Web browser is included with your BlackBerry, the built-in browser's lack of power and features gives you a limited view of the Web at best. Opera Software's Opera Mini browser allows you to surf standard Web pages and renders quickly and accurately.

The secret of Opera Mini's success is that it processes page requests through Opera's servers, offloading much of the page processing away from your BlackBerry. Its caching is especially good, allowing almost instant return to the previous page; that's useful for checking out Web search results, for example.

Opera Mini includes excellent bookmark features, as well as the ability to view pages as they would appear on a full-size computer screen, zooming in and out with a click of the track wheel.

Mobipocket Reader

You'll always have something to read with Mobipocket's e-book reader. Text is easy to read, even on a BlackBerry's small screen, and you can add your own annotations as you go.

Mobipocket offers a wide range of titles for purchase through its store (which can be accessed on your PC or directly from your BlackBerry), but the .mobi format is a standard offered by most e-book sellers.

What's more, you can use the desktop software to convert documents from PDF, HTML and most word processing file formats to load on your BlackBerry, making Mobipocket Reader ideal for reviewing work and personal documents in addition to e-books.

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Logan Kugler

Computerworld
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