Five useful apps for your Blackberry

18 Mar

Blackberry smartphones may be the phone of choice for many journalists, largely due to their emailing functionality, but they fail to garner much recognition for the mobile app capabilities. The iphone, on the other hand, is renowned for the ease with which users can download and use applications.

Blackberry models can be more clunky (think the popular Bold and Curve models) and most lack the touch-screen capabilities of the iPhone (barring the less popular, but growing, Torch and Storm models) so many feel the iPhone lends itself to app use more

Blackberry Curve


But the Blackberry App World is a treasure trove, where many of the apps are free.

Here, we look at 5 apps that Blackberry-wielding journalists shouldn’t do without.

(1)    Vlingo

The app is a voice recognition programme that ‘turns your voice into actions’. You can send messages, open applications, search the web and update your Twitter and Facebook status using the app, but its greatest feature doesn’t use voice recognition at all.

Using the programme’s SafeReader software, you can choose to have your emails or text messages read out loud by your Blackberry. As journalists we obviously rely on the Blackberry email service but in certain circumstances reading them is either a nuisance or unsafe. While driving, for example, the function can be particularly useful. Or, if bashing out a word article 1000 in your office due in two hours time, you can still keep an ear to your communications without needing to be distracted by a screen.

(2) Twitter

The Twitter app is an obvious one, but essential nonetheless. The app allows you to receive direct messages as soon as they arrive, teaming up with the Blackberry’s email function.

It’s also a great tool for crowdsourcing when on the move and immediately puts you in touch with a huge community no matter where you are.

The app also allows you to upload photos directly from your smartphone to your Twitter feed, meaning the possibilities for breaking news and sharing info through visuals are endless.

(3)   BeReader

Covering up for Blackberry’s poor integration with Google Reader is BeReader, a programme that allows you to access all your Google Reader feeds. By synchronising with your Blackberry at all times, the feeds are always available even when you have no network coverage.

You can also share articles via email, Twitter or Facebook which can obviously can help your connectivity while on the move. And the app will also update you if certain articles become available.

To help matters, it looks great too, presenting your feeds in a simple and easy to access manner. One problem though is the price (£8.29) but it’s worth it.

(4)   Dictionary and Thesaurus

This inclusion may be due my inner-sub coming out, but a dictionary, in my opinion, should always be at a journalist’s side. There are obviously occasions though, when that’s going to be a difficulty, which is what makes this app so appealing.

Instantly, what would otherwise be a great big lump of paper, is reduced to a quicker, smaller and easier to use version that you can carry with you at all times.

And the app features more than 325,000, so it’s unlikely to miss your demands.

(5)   Evernote

Evernote acts as a place to store information. You could start writing a story on your Blackberry, for example, and its then synchronised with the web, where you have permanent access.

The app also lets you add audio notes and pictures so you can build a fairly comprehensive picture on the move which you can then access on your desktop.

The ability to search through data you’ve uploaded is a huge advantage.

The programme has huge potential for journalists on the move. It is though let down slightly by its performance. Many users have complained about the speed with which notes are uploaded to the net and also about the lengthy installation process.

As an idea though, Evernote is up there with the best for journalists. If these glitches could be ironed the app could go from strength to strength.

Photo: AdamParton


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