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BlackBerry PlayBook Apps: 10 Must-Have Downloads, All Free

Quality apps for RIM's new tablet are few and far between right now, but they do exist. Here are 10 great PlayBook apps currently available and worthy of your attention.

The Background

Just last week, Research In Motion (RIM) (RIM) released its first tablet PC, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Few quality apps are available at this point. However, some cool and valuable software is out there for PlayBook owners, if you know where to look. And lucky for you, I spent the last week perusing RIM's PlayBook app store, BlackBerry App World, to come up with the following list of 10 must-have PlayBook apps for all RIM tablet users.

(Note: You must employ BlackBerry App World with a valid BlackBerry ID to download the apps spotlighted in this post. Find more information on BlackBerry ID on RIM's Website.)

Poynt for BlackBerry PlayBook

Poynt for the BlackBerry PlayBook, a local search application, is my favorite app currently available for RIM's tablet. The software is truly a "super app" - Poynt for PlayBook lets you search for nearby businesses, restaurants, people, movie- and theatre-information, and the lowest gas- prices in your area. Even better: Poynt for PlayBook does it all in style, with a snappy, intuitive and great looking user interface.

Download Poynt for BlackBerry PlayBook free from App World

LaterDude for BlackBerry PlayBook

The initial version of RIM's PlayBook tablet doesn't come with a native task or to-do application, but thanks to BlackBerry developer Fabian Heuwieser (@FabianMH), you don't have to wait for RIM to release one. LaterDude for PlayBook is a very simple tasks-app that lets you quickly add to-dos to yellow, Post-it-like tabs, for quick and easy access. Just leave the application open and then scroll between apps to see your tasks list, or simply launch LaterDude for a quick look whenever you need it.

Download LaterDude for BlackBerry PlayBook from App World

OANDA Currency Converter for BlackBerry PlayBook

PlayBook-toting international travelers will find a friend in the free OANDA Currency app, which lets you quickly and easily convert cash values into more than 180 foreign currencies. The app uses OANDA Rates, the same exchange rates used by major auditing firms and banks, according to the developer.

Download OANDA Currency Converter for free from BlackBerry App World

Netflix Queue Manager for BlackBerry PlayBook

Managing your Netflix queue via the PlayBook is a breeze thanks to RIM's new Webkit tablet browser. What makes the free Queue Manager for PlayBook app worth a download is its simple, streamlined interface. Queue Manager lets you add and remove films from your queue, search for specific titles, browse for new potential additions, view your saved discs and past "rental" history, and much more, all from one central landing page. Unfortunately, Queue Manager doesn't let you stream video and it only works in the United States.

Check out BlackBerry App World to download Netflix Queue Manager for free

Hockeycentral for BlackBerry PlayBook

It's NHL Playoffs time, and thankfully a great PlayBook app for keeping track of the latest professional hockey scores, news and statistics is already available: Hockeycentral. The Hockeycentral app, powered by Rogers Sportsnet (Sportsnet.ca), allows you to select an individual team, so you see only information that's relevant to you. The interface is both intuitive and good-looking. (Oh yeah, I almost forgot: GO BRUINS!)

Download Hockey Central for free from BlackBerry App World

DoodleBlast for BlackBerry PlayBook

DoodleBlast for the BlackBerry PlayBook is a simple, addictive and surprisingly challenging game of skill that all RIM tablet owners will appreciate. The goal of the game is simple: A number of balls are suspended above an obstacle course, and your job is to draw lines with your limited supply of ink, in order to safely direct them through the course and into a bin at the bottom of your PlayBook display. Trust me, that task sounds much easier than it really is.

Download DoodleBlast for free from BlackBerry App World

The Big Package for BlackBerry PlayBook

The Big Package for BlackBerry PlayBook is an easy-to-use FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) package-tracking application. You simply enter a valid tracking number for either shipping service, you can then follow your package from destination to destination, via text descriptions or maps, until it arrives on your doorstep. The app also lets you name and save specific packages so you don't need to repeatedly enter tracking info. Unfortunately, the software does not appear to support USPS tracking, even though App World says it does.

Download The Big Package for free from BlackBerry App World

FancyTran for BlackBerry PlayBook

FancyTran is a full-featured mobile language-translator app for the BlackBerry PlayBook, with support for a wide variety of common languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese and Chinese. You simply type text in one language and then tell the app which language you'd like the text translated to. FancyTran even has feature that can detect the language of specific text, in case you're unsure of its origin.

Download FancyTran for free from BlackBerry App World

FourPlay for BlackBerry PlayBook

PlayBook owners who employ the foursquare location-based social network will be glad to hear that a great foursquare app, FourPlay, is already available for RIM's tablet, thanks to developers Kyle Fowler (@kfow35) and Jason Cipriani (@MrCippy). The FourPlay app is basic, but it gives you access to all the core foursquare functionality, including the ability to keep tabs on your connections, view information about specific venues and "check-in" to locales around you.

Download FourPlay for free from BlackBerry App World

Car and Driver Time Trial for BlackBerry PlayBook

I'm not much of a car guy, so the content within the cool, new Car and Driver Time Trail for PlayBook app was a bit lost on me. But the presentation, look and feel of the app grabs attention, regardless. The app brings Car and Driver's annual Lightning Lap feature, which puts some of the year's hottest cars to task, to the PlayBook via descriptive text and high-quality images and video. I can only hope other magazine publishers bring their content to the PlayBook in such glorious form.

Download Car and Drive Time Trial for Free from App World