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15 Must-Have BlackBerry Apps for Newbies

Which BlackBerry applications should every new RIM smartphone owner download immediately? CIO.com's BlackBerry expert Al Sacco lists the best choices -- and all but one of these mobile apps are free.

Must Have Apps

Over the past few years, I've recommended hundreds of great BlackBerry apps on CIO.com and elsewhere. Every couple of weeks, I offer up reviews of new applications, and I'm always looking for the next must-have BlackBerry app-particularly the next must-have, free BlackBerry app. (Check out my BlackBerry Bible page for a look at past recommendations.)

In this recent compilation, you'll find descriptions and images of the 19 best BlackBerry apps I've found while combing the Web for great BlackBerry software; these are the free apps that each and every new BlackBerry owner should download and familiarize themselves with just as soon as those new devices are up and running.

Keep moving for details and download links.

BlackBerry App World

Most new BlackBerry smartphones ship with RIM's official mobile application store, BlackBerry App World, preloaded, but any BlackBerry user with an older device, or one that didn't come with App World, should download this free app immediately for access to a huge collection of BlackBerry apps, games, themes and more. App World is an on-device application, but it's also available in a Web-based desktop version so you can use both your BlackBerry and a PC to peruse the latest software.

Download BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Google (GOOG) Maps for BlackBerry

Google Maps is the must-have mobile-mapping app for BlackBerry. View your current whereabouts on a Google map, based on GPS or cell-tower-location; get walking/driving directions; share your current location with friends, via Google's "Latitude" service; and much more. All for free.

Download Google Maps

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Facebook/Twitter for BlackBerry

All Facebook and/or Twitter users with BlackBerry smartphones should download RIM's two most popular social networking applications: Facebook for BlackBerry; and Twitter for BlackBerry. Both apps are easy to use, with intuitive and visually appealing interfaces. And though neither is exactly "feature-packed,"-more advanced apps, like the invite-only SocialScope, offer more functionality-both provide all the basic social networking features you need for on-the-go access.

Download Facebook and Twitter for BlackBerry smartphones via App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Pandora for BlackBerry

A number of cool, free Internet radio applications exist for BlackBerry smartphones, but none offer the same quality music catalogue and customization options as the free Pandora for BlackBerry app. Pandora is quick and easy to setup and use: Simply pick an artist or band you like and the application creates a custom "station" based around that artist, with similar tunes, selected by other like-minded listeners.

Download the app from Pandora.com or via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

BlackBerry Instant Messaging (IM) Apps, from RIM

If you employ any of the most popular IM services, including Google Talk, AOL (TWX) Instant Messenger (AIM), Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo (YHOO) Messenger, RIM has a free IM app for you. All of RIM's free IM apps bring the basic desktop IM functionality to your BlackBerry smartphone. And because they're created by RIM, many key features are integrated with the BlackBerry OS, so, for example, your IMs can appear in your BlackBerry inbox. And you can set custom notifications.

Download all of RIM's BlackBerry IM apps via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Poynt for BlackBerry

Poynt is the only mobile, local-search application for BlackBerry you'll ever need. The app uses your current location, based on GPS or cell-tower location, to find the closest nearby businesses, retailers, restaurants, gas prices, events and much more. Poynt offers a dedicated weather section, too. You can find local movie theatre listings and purchase tickets via BlackBerry. And the app integrates with your BlackBerry calendar and address book so you can quickly add contacts or events.

Download the free app from Poynt.com or via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Kindle

The Amazon.com Kindle for BlackBerry e-reader application brings Amazon.com's collection of more than 800,000 digital books directly to your smartphone, so you can purchase books any time you have wireless connectivity and read whenever you have battery life. Many classic books are free, and best-sellers start at just $9.99-cheaper than you could purchase a print version in a book store. You can preview books before buying and read them on multiple Kindle devices, thanks to the app's Whispersync technology, which transfers bookmarks and other annotations between devices.

Download Kindle for BlackBerry from Amazon.com

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Flixster for BlackBerry

Flixster for BlackBerry is the BlackBerry-toting movie buff's best friend. Find the closest nearby theatres using the app's GPS or cell-tower location, and mark your favorite theatres for easy access in the future. View show times, trailers and reviews from popular services like Rotten Tomatoes. Buy movie tickets using your BlackBerry. And peruse Flixster's collection of more than 50,000 DVDs for future viewing.

Download Movies by Flixster via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Movela Netflix Queue Manager

No official Netflix for BlackBerry application exists at the moment, but the next best thing is surely Movela's Netflix Queue Manager for BlackBerry. Priced at $5 on App World, the Netflix Queue Manager isn't free, but considering it's one of the only BlackBerry apps that lets you search Netflix's movie library and browse films by category, manage both your DVD and "instant" queues, rate movies and find recommendations based on your viewing habits, it's well worth the asking price.

Download Movela Netflix Queue Manager via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Urbanspoon for BlackBerry

If you've ever found yourself in a strange city with an empty stomach and a hankering for some quality cuisine, Urbanspoon for BlackBerry is the app for you. Simply enter in your location, pick the kind of food your want, specify a price range and then "shake" the app for restaurant recommendations that fit your parameters. And you can click on the suggested restaurants for more information, including contact details and maps, reviews and both Facebook and Twitter integration for sharing your choices.

Download the free app from Urbanspoon.com or via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

BlackBerry Travel

RIM's brand new BlackBerry Travel mobile application is a must-have for the BlackBerry-packing road warrior. Plan trips, book flights and hotels and manage arrangements via BlackBerry. The application recognizes many itinerary-related messages as they arrive in your inbox, and pulls them directly into your schedule to save you time and effort. BlackBerry travel offers real-time flight information and travel alerts, so you'll be notified of any delays as they're announced. And the app provides a variety of travel utilities including a currency converter, local search and weather information. You can even share travel plans with your LinkedIn connections.

Download BlackBerry Travel via App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Capture It for BlackBerry

Capture It for BlackBerry is a simple, screen-capture utility that lets you quickly snap images of your BlackBerry's display and then save them in your media folder. It's easy to use: Just assign the app to one of your BlackBerry convenience keys and press the corresponding button whenever you want an image of your smartphone screen. Or, if your convenience keys are already dedicated to other applications, just choose the Capture It option listed in your BlackBerry menu or click the Capture It icon.

Download Capture It for BlackBerry via BlackBerrySites.com

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

LinkedIn for BlackBerry

LinkedIn for BlackBerry brings all the basic functionality of the popular business social network into the palm of your hand, including the ability to check your news feed, view profiles for your connections, search for people you know, accept and send new-connection invites, read messages and more. And the app integrates with core BlackBerry apps, including your inbox and address book, to provide notifications and update contact information as new details become available.

Download the app from LinkedIn.com or via BlackBerry via App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Starbucks (SBUX) Card Mobile for BlackBerry

Get your caffeine fix faster and easier than ever before with the free, Starbucks Card Mobile application for BlackBerry smartphones. Connect your Starbucks card and rewards account to your BlackBerry by registering the card in the BlackBerry app, and you'll be able to use your BlackBerry to buy Starbucks coffee and other goods. Your neighborhood barista simply scans an on-screen barcode when you're ready to pay and you're good to go. You can also use the app to reload your card, check balance and reward information and find the closet nearby Starbucks locations.

To download Starbucks Card Mobile for BlackBerry, text "GO" to 70845

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone

Amazon MP3 for BlackBerry

The latest, possibly greatest-and certainly my favorite-online music store for BlackBerry smartphones is a must-have for all mobile media enthusiasts. With simple navigation and a clean user interface, Amazon MP3 for BlackBerry makes it easy to find and purchase the songs and albums that you seek, over Wi-Fi or your cellular network-no 3G required. Free "Songs of the Day" mean you can frequently download new music without ever dropping a dime. And "Daily Deal Albums" are always available for $5 or less.

Download Amazon MP3 via BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Your RIM Smartphone