Last week I gave you an introduction to why BlackBerry’s are far superior to Treo’s. This week, I’m going to share a few of the applications I use many times a day on my BlackBerry.
For those of you who live in a Verizon-dominant area, have wanted an iPhone because they’re pretty and wanted the business superiority of a BlackBerry, you’re in luck, the Storm is out now!
Google, You Complete…My BlackBerry
Even though Google has released their G1 phone, they continue to develop applications for the BlackBerry, possibly indicating their knowledge that they are incredible business tools and aren’t going away anytime soon. A few of their killer apps can make your BlackBerry even better.
Point your BlackBerry browser here (https://www.blackberry.com/googletalk) to download Google Talk for your BB. Place the GTalk Widget on your web site or integrate with Plugoo or Meebo and now you have live chat on your web site that goes wherever you do. It also saves me a ton on text messages because I know a ton of people who use GMail, which automatically puts them on my GTalk.
Sure, it’s not turn-by-turn navigation, but it’s free and works very similarly to the regular browser-based GMaps. Head here (https://m.google.com/maps) on your mobile browser to download. For those of you with real GPS* in your BB, it will work automatically. If you don’t have GPS, it will triangulate off the cell towers to find your approximate location. Directions (driving, transit and walking), satellite view, traffic information and voice based search are all included.
*Although Verizon tries to be the “most open”, they cripple their GPS. I have a VZW BB Pearl, which has GPS, but it can only be used with the fee-based Verizon Navigator. So triangulation is all you get unless you buy a separate, external GPS unit.
Yes, you can (and should) setup your various GMail and Mail for Domains accounts with your push email service, but if you’re like me and strive for Inbox Zero, your BB gets cleaned out regularly, yet you still want to access your messages. GMail for BB is the answer! Not only will it allow you to connect to multiple accounts at once, it has an offline mode for those times when you can’t get a good signal. Also, the search is fast and easy so you can always get those old emails even if you’ve deleted them off your push email account. Here’s the link (https://m.google.com/mail).
Google Mobile App
Sorry, this is probably the most boring of them all, but entirely necessary. This application is a quick search tool, application launcher and auto-updater rolled into one. Google has mobile versions of news, reader, calendar, docs, photos and notebook – slimmed down web sites, not full fledged applications. The Mobile App gives you quick links to all of these as well as keeping all of the other apps I’m mentioning here up to date, with the exception of GTalk. Head over in your mobile browser (https://m.google.com)
The Holy Grail. This is what has made Outlook obsolete for me. GSync synchronizes your Calendar and now your Contacts too! So sync your BB with Outlook one last time, then sync it up with Google and all of your contact glory is now pulled into your GMail account. And it’s a two-way synchronization, so whenever you update on one, it’s done automatically on the other. Ditto for your calendar. Check it out (https://m.google.com/sync)!
For me, the only thing missing currently is a BB app for GReader. As soon as that comes out, my BB/Google integration will be complete.
Next week I’ll dip into a few more of what I consider to be must-have applications to round out your BlackBerry as the ultimate business tool (and further push Treo’s into the dirt) 🙂
Mike Stewart, Downtown Vancouver Realtor
November 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm
I’ve been using a blackberry for years in my real estate business and I love it. The ability to use Google anytime anywhere is great, but I didn’t know I could get those other apps. Could you post a link for them?
Also could you tell me more about meebo and google talk and connecting my website and my blackberry for chat? I stopped using meebo as I wasn’t in front of my computer enough.
November 20, 2008 at 10:09 pm
Nick, thanks for the suggestions, I am going to check out sync in the AM, too tired tonight. As a outlook person that would be really cool. We already do the sync with the calendar.
November 21, 2008 at 5:29 am
Pretty much one of the best things about my BB is Google.
But – I could never get the gTalk to work with my site’s widget – it always tried to open a browser rather than talking within the app. Other than that – perfect.
November 21, 2008 at 6:22 am
You have given me a few more reasons to run to Verizon for my Storm!
November 21, 2008 at 7:23 am
there is an app for reader:
It is the only thing that keeps me sane when I wait (and wait) for appointments and at soccer practice!
November 21, 2008 at 9:11 am
@Mike – I included links in each product summary, but here there are again for easy reference, all downloadable from the built in browser in your BB:
Meebo allows you access to GTalk, but if you want a chat on your web site that integrates with you BB GTalk, either look into the GTalk widget (found here: https://www.google.com/talk/service/badge/New) or use Plugoo for direct integration.
@Missy – I was very excited to see the addition of contacts and it worked beautifully on mine.
@Jim – That’s definitely odd, although I’ve heard from a couple of other people they had the same issue. The people I know who it didn’t work for just went to Plugoo and it goes to their BB.
@Paula – let me know how you like it since I have to wait for the GSM version 🙁
@Molly – Unfortunately, that’s not a true app, that’s a mobile-compatible web site. It does come in handy in a pinch, but I’d like something that downloads a certain number of articles, allows for adding stars and notes, then will sync back up with the full-fledged web-based version when I connect again. But definitely better than nothing!
November 21, 2008 at 11:28 am
Google is always my first choice for apps and why pay for text messaging when the email function on the BB is free. Watch out for AT & T to sabotage that. maybe.
November 21, 2008 at 2:43 pm
You are right, no notes-but I often star things to read when they are heavy on links or images when I get back to the desktop.
Clears out the “boring stuff”
November 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm
There is a Google Reader app for BB. I downloaded a bundled package of Picassa, Docs, Reaader, Sync, News, Gmail, Maps, Search and Mobile Updater all in one click.
It even updates all of the apps automatically and syncs my calendar with my Google Calendar automatically when I make a change to it on my BB.
November 22, 2008 at 2:42 pm
Nick, I met a guy from Google at NAR, he told someone in Ann Arbor-Google about me and I got an email from him to go have lunch at Google. He was amazed at how Realtors use Google.
I am pumped !
November 24, 2008 at 6:24 pm
Nick, what a useful article — I thought I was using Google on my BB fully, but looks like I have some apps to add. Cool!
Arlington real estate guy
November 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm
As a new blackberry Storm user that has spent since Sat. working on his new baby, here are some suggestions for managing your blackberries as some of the native apps suck–but this touch screen and push email do rock!
https://www.mycaption.com/home/index Do your email and calendar entries by voice….I’ve tried the email and it’s awesome! free trial see for yourself. Perhaps very useful while driving.
https://www.iambic.com/agendus/blackberry/ still in develop but will leave other calendar apps in the dust– the palm version was incredible and kept many of stuck with treo because we couldn’t bear to leave agendus
https://www.iambic.com/agendus/winoued/default.asp This incorporates an incredible planner/calendar/contact tool into your Outlook system–literally embedded in Outlook and much better in some ways for customizing tasks, color coding, interlinking, contact history, syncing with blackberry, icons, etc. Check out the page and see for yourself the screenshots.
Radio–just found out how to get all you want on your smartphone and I love AM talk radio and have been wanting to get accesss for years: https://www.moodio.fm/node/1 It’s free…actually works great!
I’ll be downloading the google calendar to see if it can act as a good sub for on the blackberry while some of the agendus bugs get worked out, but for the desktop or latptop the Outlook agendus kicks google’s calendar’s arse!
Good luck pimpin’ out your smartphones 🙂
December 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm
I have a quick question. I had a problem with my BB and had to wipe the device. I backed it up and lost no data, but when I did the reinstall I had to redownload my google icons. Why can’t I get my old reader icon back. I need to go through mobile app to get to the reader instead of just having the reader icon on my BB desktop. HELP!
December 4, 2008 at 12:18 am
@Jared – Sorry, Google updated their mobile app at the urging of many users to move the links off the home page and into the new Mobile App. Unfortunately, even if you found an old version, it would force itself to update to the new version in order to update the other apps. I liked having the links I wanted on the homepage too, but I’m out of luck with you.
December 4, 2008 at 7:39 am
Thanks. Lets just hope they come out with a reader program instead of a reader link soon