Reckon the Blackberry is only good for email? Maybe when it’s fresh out of the box. But if you want to bump it up a few notches, here are seven powerful applications that can transform the way you use and interact with your BlackBerry.
Jott for BlackBerry
In a previous article, I covered tips for getting more from BlackBerry email. One application I didn’t mention is Jott for BlackBerry, which is an extension of its main service that lets you reply to messages using your voice. Jott transcribes your verbal message to text before sending it on to the recipient and includes a link in the email to hear the voice recording in case of transcription errors. The Jott voice recognition engine is amazing – even my laid-back Aussie drawl, which is usually a challenge for anyone out of the country to understand, let alone a machine, was transcribed with 100% accuracy.
eOffice is the only document editor for BlackBerry currently available, but its real killer feature is integration with Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Using this program, you can open and edit files in your online account, as well as save files you’ve created on the BlackBerry directly to your Google account. But it still needs work: in my testing, the connection would time out more times than not, or throw up errors that the document I was trying to open was empty or invalid.
Another means of accessing files that aren’t stored locally is RDM+, a remote access program that lets you connect to your PC, navigate your desktop using the BlackBerry’s trackball and keyboard, run programs and transfer files between your BlackBerry and PC. Using it over an EDGE connection is interminably slow, but it’s easy to set up and pays for itself the first time you leave an urgent file on your PC and don’t have any other means of retrieving it.
If you use your BlackBerry for time management, PocketDay is a must-have as it aggregates all of your PIM items and unread messages into a single screen. I’ve never subscribed to the idea of having tasks and appointments in separate applications – I need to see all of my meetings and to-do items in one place so I can organize my time effectively, and PocketDay provides that functionality, in addition to letting you save individual emails as actionable appointments or tasks and view other information like weather, stocks, world time and RSS feeds on one screen.
If you use IM for chatting with colleagues and clients, JiveTalk will make your life a lot easier. It works across all major IM platforms, supports file transfers and chat transcripts (and even lets you email transcripts for a permanent record of discussions), and makes it easy to switch between multiple chat windows.
BlackBerry Call Screener
Finally, I’ve found BlackBerry Call Screener indispensable for managing my calls. When I’m ‘in the zone’, I don’t like being interrupted with phone calls, and rather than turn my BlackBerry off altogether, I can set up Antair CallScreener to block all calls save for people on my ‘whitelist’ (mainly my partner and family) – anyone else can send me an email or leave a voicemail! Other options in the program include blocking all calls, blocking all calls save for people in your address book, and allowing all calls except for people on your blacklist.
Got any other BlackBerry applications you can recommend? Let’s hear about them in the comments.