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  5. Special report: We name the Top 10 BlackBerry Apps

Special report: We name the Top 10 BlackBerry Apps

Last week, users of BlackBerry handsets finally got an official application store of their very own. The marketplace, which is intended to rival iTunes, marks the continued shift away from the functionality of your phone being determined by onboard hardware. Nowadays, the opportunity to download new apps every week means that you can add new functions every day.

Currently, the store has 500 apps to choose from. Here, we name the ten best available:

10) Bloomberg.

This finance-focussed app delivers market-moving news as well as share price indices direct to your handset. Given the parlous state of the equity markets, we’d say that this is an application no serious investor can afford to be without.

9) Lonely Planet French Phrasebook

This neat translator stands out for being easy to use. It’s also self-evidently practical for those of us who haven’t spoken the language of love since we were at school.

8) MySpace

Perhaps not likely to be quite as in-demand as Facebook among BlackBerry users, nonetheless we expect this to enjoy strong take-up.

7) Facebook

Not for nothing has Facebook become the most popular social networking site. And thanks to the ease of use of this scaled-down version, that level of success has justifiably been emulated with the BlackBerry edition. Hardcore users of the site may miss the lack of comments and hidden feed items, but we love that this is icon-driven and supremely fast to update.

6) Brain Challenge 2: Stress Management

We’re not sure whether Brain Training-style games do really sharpen up your mind as manufacturers often claim. But we do know that they are tremendous fun.

5) Shazam

This brilliant app allows you to record a segment of an unfamiliar song and find out the artist and title in a matter of seconds. It can then direct you to Amazon MP3, where you can buy the song in question.

The BlackBerry version of the service actually improves on the iPhone and T-Mobile G1 editions by adding new functions. These include top 20 charts and recommendations.

4) Trapster

An outstanding app that harnesses your BlackBerry’s GPS to give you the location of tens of thousands of speed traps and red light camera alerts.

3) Calorie Tracker.

The brainchild of Tour de France tour de force Lance Armstrong, this handy bit of software lets you search for the calorie content of more than 525,000 foods. Better yet, it can also calculate the number of calories you’ll burn for 2,000 forms of exercise.

2) Ticketmaster

Lets you browse, search and buy tickets for live entertainment while you’re on the go. Also includes a brilliant music sampling facility that allows you to hear a musician’s oeuvre before committing to a ticket purchase.

1) Instant Messenger

This secures the top spot for adding a host of extra functions to previous mobile versions, including the chance to see if contacts are online, alerts when friends status changes and a set of fun emoticons for customising instant messages.

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