Six (More) Free BlackBerry Apps You Don't Want to Miss

Some things in life really are free. Check out these six fantastic BlackBerry applications and do more with your RIM smartphone without dropping a dime.

Tue, April 29, 2008
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Opera Mini: A Better Way to Browse

Along with our last BlackBerry apps list, we posted a set of seven free applications for Windows Mobile Smartphone and Pocket PC devices. In that list, we included the Opera Mini browser. Since Opera Mini works on BlackBerry devices as well as Windows Mobile handhelds--and because it's one of the BlackBerry apps we use most frequently--we also decided to introduce those of you who aren't familiar with Opera yet.

Opera Mini from Opera Software, a free browser, runs on the vast majority of BlackBerry devices--from the 5810 to the 8830.

Opera Mini on BlackBerry
Opera Mini on BlackBerry

You need the BlackBerry Browser that comes standard on your RIM device for certain Web-based services and to download some applications. But if it were up to us, we'd rarely stray from Opera Mini. That's because of the software's innovative and unique feature set.

Opera Mini gives you a tiny cursor that you can move around to any spot or link on a page, instead of having to scroll up and down to get to the links you want. Alternatively, you can also use the numeric keypad to move around a page; for example, the 2 key scrolls up and the 8 key scrolls down. (RIM copied a few of these features in the latest version of the BlackBerry browser, and you know what they say about imitation and flattery...)

Opera Mini also uses a "Small Screen Rendering" function to fit any page to your BlackBerry display, whether or not it's WAP-optimized for mobile devices, so you don't have to scroll back and forth to see the full content. And because Opera Mini compresses the webpage data before sending it, the content is delivered more rapidly--and costs less, for those of you without unlimited data plans--because that content is squeezed into smaller packets.

The software even helps you decide where to begin reading the content on a specific page: The "Suggested Starting Points" feature first shows you a page overview--a zoomed out view that shows the entire webpage layout--and then positions the browser over the spot that it deems most relevant. Click your browser's Enter key once to zoom into the recommended spot.

Final bonus: You can easily sync the bookmarks from your PC's browser to your phone using the company's Opera Link service.

(Note: A beta version of Opera Mini 4.1 with many new features is also available.)

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