Free BlackBerry Apps: Five Can't Miss Software Downloads

These five great free BlackBerry applications can help you stay up to date on news, keep in touch with colleagues and friends, communicate with social networking contacts and instantly diagnose the "health" of your handset.

By
Wed, September 24, 2008

CIOResearch In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry users have no shortage of free application for their smartphones. A Google search for the terms "Free BlackBerry Apps" turns up pages and pages of possibilities. But who wants to sift through all the garbage to find the good stuff? Lucky for you, we already weeded through the pile to identify the software that's worth installing and using.

Over the past few months we've offered several lists of BlackBerry software downloads--free software, open source apps, RIM executives' favorite downloads--and we don't plan to stop anytime soon.

This week, we've got an innovative mobile news reader; a feature-packed, BlackBerry-specific instant messaging application; a great way to track your BlackBerry's performance and usage metrics; a unique local search utility; and a piece of software that can provide all the hockey-related news and information one could desire.

Get the Scoop with Associated Press Mobile News Network for BlackBerry

The Associated Press (AP) is to U.S. news and information what McDonald's is to fast food. If you're reading an American newspaper, chances are good that you'll end up scanning an AP story. Now, thanks to your trusty BlackBerry smartphone and the new Associated Press Mobile News Network (MNN) application, a world of--easily accessible--information is never further away than your mobile device.

AP Mobile News Network for BlackBerry
AP Mobile News Network for BlackBerry

The new AP MNN app offers users a variety of news types, including top news, local, U.S., tech, showbiz, sports, world, elections information, from greater than 700 "trusted sources," according to the AP. The application is completely customizable so you can pick the content you want and ditch what you don't. You can also save specific stories and share them with friends via e-mail. Note that the software isnâ¬"t perfect, however, as it's still in beta test.

Many of the stories in the AP MNN feed have a small thumbnail image and you can access and view additional video and photo galleries. The AP MNN search function also makes it simple to find specific stories that may not have made it into your feeds.

If you're at all familiar with the WSJ.com Mobile Reader, you'll likely recognize the AP MNN program. That's for good reason: Both applications are based on FreeRange Communications' platform and function in much the same way, though their sources of content differ greatly.

If you're a news junkie looking to explore all the mobile content delivery options, you'll also want to check out Viigo, our recommended mobile RSS reader. (Watch our video tutorial to see Viigo in action.)

UPDATE: We've been informed by the AP that the full MNN application will be available within the coming weeks. You'll be able to find the app at bb.apnews.com when it's officially released.

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