SmartFlicks: Netflix for Your BlackBerry
I'm an unabashed film buff; I love movies and DVDs. But it's been quite some time since I stepped foot into a brick and mortar movie rental joint like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to pick up a flick. I've long been a user of the Netflix DVD mailing service, as the price is right, selection is great and you can't beat the convenience of having movies delivered directly to your door.
I've always wished for more though: Wouldn't it be handy if you could access your account via mobile device, and add movies to your online queue whenever, and wherever, you might be. Thanks to Pyxis Mobile and its SmartFlicks app, my wish is now a reality.
The SmartFlicks free BlackBerry app lets you manage and update your NetFlix account from anywhere there's cellular connectivity. You can not only add and remove titles from your movie queue, but also reorder them at any point with no restrictions. You can even add films to your "Instant" queue for future viewing on your TV. (A Netflix compatible DVR, Blu-ray player of other peripheral is required for Instant viewing.)
The free BlackBerry app also offers up-to-date movie news, recommendations for future rentals, a film search feature and "What's Hot" and "Coming Soon" tabs for information on the most popular films and actors at a giving time. And its clean, intuitive user interface makes employing SmartFlicks almost as much fun as watching the movies it helps you procure.
Where for BlackBerry: Your GPS-Based Search Companion
You can find plenty of local search applications for BlackBerry devices -- some free, some not; others GPS-based, others not. One of my early favorites in this category was Beyond411 for BlackBerry. Then there was Poynt. Now there's Where.
What's truly valuable about Where? You can customize it to your own specific needs and tastes: the app uses your phone's built-in -- or externally connected -- GPS data, along with a set of custom widgets, to let you know what sorts of businesses and establishments are around you at any given time. And you can also use Where to find out information about those specific establishments.
For example, the free Where app comes with widgets for finding gas prices in your area; pinpointing events; locating the nearest Starbucks and digging up local user reviews on Yelp. But that's not all; Where lets users download a variety of additional widgets that provide information on items like local golf courses and the "10 Best" food/travel/hospitality recommendations for specific cities.
Where is available to users of BlackBerry Bold 9000, 8800, Curve and Pearl series devices, though whether or not the app will work on your smartphone depends on your wireless carrier. T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless users appear to be out of luck, for now at least, but AT&T, Boost Mobile, Helio, metroPCS, Sprint and Virgin Mobile customers shouldn't have any issues with Where.
Capture It with On-Device BlackBerry Screen Shots
Have you ever wanted to take a picture of your BlackBerry device's screen, to help a friend with a handheld-related issue or describe a problem of your own to your IT help desk? If so, your days of fiddling with a camera to get a decent shot of your BlackBerry's shiny screen are over.
Thanks to Capture It, a free, on-device application that grabs images of whatever's on your BlackBerry's display and saves them as .jpeg files in your Pictures directory, snapping BlackBerry screen shots couldn't be easier.
First you download and install the app to your device, set it as a device convenience key and you're good to go. (To assign Capture It as a BlackBerry convenience key, launch the Options icon, click Screen/Keyboard, scroll down to the "Convenience Key Opens" section and choose Capture It from one of the corresponding drop-down menus. Finally, hit the Escape key to exit the Screen/Keyboard screen and then save your modifications when prompted.)
Taking BlackBerry screen shot from there is as simple as tapping the corresponding convenience key whenever something you want to capture is on screen. And you can transfer the jpeg files from your BlackBerry to a computer or other device using Bluetooth, USB, e-mail or MMS.
This story, "Five Free BlackBerry Must-Have Downloads" was originally published by CIO.