Pedro MartinezPedro is a Technology Leader, former CIO/CTO and co-founder, speaker, father of 3, former paratrooper and US Army veteran.  He counts with 19 years of experience in Tech.  Follow Pedro for valuable information about Cloud adoption and overall Digital Transformation.

“You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.”


My Top 10 BlackBerry Apps

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There are a few good applications (apps) out there for BlackBerry© phones, some useful and others extremely useless.  These are the third-party apps for my Blackberry Curve™ 8330 smartphone from Verizon that I, while working at 3 different locations at times, can’t live without:

#10     Qik LiveStreaming

Qik Screenshot

Qik screenshot

Qik is a mobile app that allows users to stream live video from their BlackBerry handheld device to the internet with a simple click of a button.  It is not an app that I use every day, and to be honest, I have only used it a few occasions for testing purposes and for sharing. This clever app provides a sense of security every time I leave home.  It’s like having a witness with you at all times.  I’m streaming from the Chesapeake Bay this Fall.

#9     Mobile Banking (Bank of America & SunTrust)

Mobile Banking Screenshot

Mobile Banking Screenshot hasn’t come up with the BlackBerry© version of their services as of yet.  I’m hoping this will change with the recent acquisition of Mint by Intuit for roughly $170 million.   In the mean time, I’m still relying on the Mobile Banking apps from SunTrust and Bank of America.  With these two applications, one is able to:

  • Check your balances on your checking, savings, and money market accounts
  • View your transaction history
  • Transfer funds between eligible SunTrust accounts
  • Pay bills on the spot

This is rated as my #9 because I only use them once or twice per month; when traveling and when needing to make a big last-minute purchase.

Bank of America

#8     Google Maps

Satellite View of Google Maps

Satellite View of Google Maps

So far, this is the most accurate and user-friendly mapping app made for BlackBerry©.  With Google Maps, you can determine your current location with or without GPS, get phone numbers, addresses and other information for local businesses, as well as transit and driving directions.  Some of its features include:

  • Traffic: Real-time traffic helps you find the fastest route.
  • Business listings: Search for any business or category of interest.
  • Driving directions: Thanks to My Location, you don’t even have to enter your starting point.
  • Latitude: See your friends’ locations and status messages. Start Maps and then select “Join Latitude.”
  • Street View: View street-level imagery of businesses and turns in directions.

#7     Gmail

Snapshot of Gmail Inbox

Snapshot of Gmail Inbox

I split my email between my Yahoo! And Gmail accounts to manage multiple domains and businesses.  Until Gmail comes up with an “unaltered text” feature for its service, I would still need to rely on, good old, Yahoo mail to display email the way it is meant to be displayed (especially email signatures).  Some of Gmail for BlackBerry© features include:

  • Conversation view to quickly triage emails on small screen
  • Spam filters to only see important messages on the go
  • Access and save drafts
  • Access attachments including images, Microsoft Word documents, and PDF files

The app is simple, with a clean design, but can be a bit heavy at times.

#6     Evernote

Screenshot of Evernote App Homepage

Screenshot of Evernote App Homepage

I used to write notes on the back of business cards, napkins or simply send an email to myself as a reminder.  With Evernote for BlackBerry©, I can keep my thoughts, one-person brainstorming sessions while driving, parking lot number when parking at the airport, the name of a band I’ve just heard on the radio and more in one single location.  Evernote is a web service and software application that allows users to collect text notes, camera or screen snapshots, audio recording or upload a file through a web browser, computer client app or mobile app, such as the one for the BlackBerry©.

Spending between 8 to 12 hours on the road weekly, I found myself with plenty of time to come up with tons of ideas for new projects.  More states are banning texting while driving; it is not safe anyways.  With Evernote, I can record my voice while talking (to myself) and have the app automatically upload my new recording to Evernote servers for later review.  I have found the app very useful for remembering when I parked my car at the airport.  Take a snapshot of the lot sign and look it up later.

#5     Facebook

Facebook Screenshot

Facebook Screenshot

Facebook is definitely here to stay and its reach will keep increasing each year.  The Facebook app will keep you plugged to your friends’ statutes, and it can integrate 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.  Photos and videos can be tagged and uploaded straight to Facebook.  Don’t feel like calling or emailing your friend?  With the Poke feature you don’t have to; simply poke them to let them know you are thinking about them.

With Facebook app for the BlackBerry you can:

  • Update or view your status
  • Receive instant notifications
  • Post and tag photos
  • Sync your Facebook friends
  • Organize Facebook events

#4     Yahoo Go!

Yahoo Go! Screenshot

Yahoo Go! Screenshot

As I’ve mentioned above in the app #7, I’m still using Gmail and Yahoo! email accounts, in part, due to Gmail’s lack of an “unaltered text” feature for its email service.  You may ask, –“what in the world that has to do with the BlackBerry© client for Yahoo! Mobile,” and rightly so, since it only allows you to display your messages in plain text format.  Well, if Gmail had the “unaltered text” feature as an option, I wouldn’t be using Yahoo! mail in the first place.  Therefore, because Yahoo! Mail is my primary email service provider, I’m sticking with Yahoo! Mobile’s slick user interface.

Besides having access to your email, you may also:

  • Snap a photo and upload it to your Flickr account
  • Find what you need with Yahoo! oneSearch™
  • Get up-to-the minute news, weather, sports (and more) with Yahoo! Go

#3     TwitterBerry

TwitterBerry Screenshot

TwitterBerry Screenshot

I’ve used TwitterBerry for six months and have started to get a bit frustrated with the lack of speed, poor customization and issues with uploading photos.  TwitterBerry is a mobile client for posting updates to Twitter.   It works over the data network, so SMS doesn’t have to be used.  The app is very simple, and it’s probably one of the reasons it became popular in its beginning.

#2     ÜberTwitter

Screenshot of UberTwitter

Screenshot of UberTwitter

I’ve have been using ÜberTwitter for a week so far and loving every minute of it.  The app is another mobile client for posting updates to Twitter.  It is a full featured Twitter client that is fast and very customizable.  Vastly different from the above mentioned TwitterBerry.  I’ve finally decided to give ÜberTwitter a spin and have started to use both to determine which one is the keeper.

I’m currently using both Twitter update apps until December 31st.

#1     Blackberry OCS Client

OCS Client for the BlackBerry

OCS Client for the BlackBerry

This app is no freebie.  The BlackBerry© Microsoft Office Communicator Service (OCS) client is an instant messaging client programmed to talk to a Microsoft Communication Server (MCS). The BlackBerry© OCS client has a similar look and feel to that experienced with GTalk, Google’s instant messaging client.   You will need the MS Office Communicator server in order to be able to utilize this app. This is something that most medium to large companies have, but not something easily affordable nor is it necessary for personal use.  If your company does not provide employees with a BlackBerry© and/or provide access to a MCS services, you should be using an iPhone.

Apps to be tested soon:  Google Mobile Apps (currently using the web browser for searching) and Google Voice and MTCS app for the BlackBerry©