Times are changing at Research in Motion's App World. In February, it was announced that in-app payments are coming to the platform for the first time - potentially providing just the fiscal stimulus the platform needs to attract more developers. But it's hardly struggling as it is. Especially after it was recently confirmed as the second largest app market in terms of revenue - placing it ahead of both Android and Nokia and just behind Apple.
Here, we take a good look at the download store's latest arrivals to help you get the most out of your messaging focussed marvel.
1 BlackBerry Travel
Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, this more than lives up to its ‘super app’ billing. Essentially, it’s an all-in-one travel service for your smartie to ensure your mini break or business trip goes without hitches.
Features include updates to keep you in-the-loop with flight changes and cancellations, the option to re-book flights and hotels within the app when things go awry and integration with emailed itineraries. You can also check out the best eateries and shops in unfamiliar locales via Yelp and convert currencies using the most up-to-date exchange rates, so you’ll know just how much foreign funny money you’re getting through.
2 Schedule Send
Schedule Send is an SMS and email app that enables you to set in advance when you want to send a message. A practical application for it? How about those tipsy moments when you’re considering sending a message to an old flame? Instead of covering yourself in shame and waking up convulsed with remorse, you can compose the message and see if you feel the same when you’re a bit more clear-headed.
3 Runtastic Pro
When I was a young ‘un in the 1990s I wore out the suffix 'tastic' through overuse. It just had so many applications. Cheesetastic was reserved for easy listening tunes I approved of. Sextastic was for the ladies in their scanties in Loaded. And lametastic for my teenage spin on so-good-it’s-bad.
Runtastic Pro is starting the 'tastic' revival. It’s also a great app, bringing Nike+ esque functionality to BlackBerrys, including the option to track your runs, work out how many calories you’re burning through and keep a training log for reference. It also harnesses your phone’s GPS and BlackBerry Maps to enable you see your route and plot new ones and share your best performances with your mates and rivals on Facebook.
4 Excuse Generator
Bad liar? Excuse generator is here for you. In a nutshell, it serves up excuses for tardiness, missing your sister’s wedding and work deadlines.
Some of the excuses aren’t too credible to my ears (CF: 'there’s a chance I may have to do jury duty’). But, hey, sometimes its the biggest lies that are the most plausible.
5 Mega Tower Assault
Gaming on BlackBerrys lags behind the likes of the iPhone and Android. But this neat take on the classic tower defence title would cut the mustard on any platform.
The BlackBerry version offers eight towers to build, upgrade or capture, plus eight different types of enemy. It’s also not bad graphically compared with some of the lo-fi visuals to which BB owners have become accustomed.
6 BlackBerry Protect
This is just a brilliant security app that allows you track down your BlackBerry on a map in the event that it gets stolen, set a password or remotely wipe it to keep sensitive info out of the hands of sticky-fingered imps. You can also back up the data from your phone wirelessly or display a message or make it ring especially loudly.
7 Bunny Buster
Bunny Buster is a triffic little time killer, with lo-fi gameplay lifted directly from those ‘smash the munchkins with a mallet’ machines that used to clog up arcades a few years back. Only with a memory test facet that makes the mindless fun it offers ever so slightly more cerebral.
Launchpad lets you create icons for your favourite sites and plant them slap bang on your homescreen so they’re just a single tap away. You can also make icons for contacts, so that when you press them they'll bring up an array of ways to contact that individual, such as call, email or SMS.
The Top10.com panel awards extra points for Launchpad’s ease of use and the fact that you can have a whopping 25 icons on your homescreen. However, points were deducted because right now it’s only compatible with BlackBerrys running OS 5 and below. With any luck, the latest iteration of RIM’s OS will get an invite to the party soon.
This photographic app lets you apply filters to your photos. There’s some really neat effects to choose from, such as double exposure and saturation. Our favourite, though, is vintage that bathes your snaps in a lovely nostalgic glow.
Once you’re happy with the results, you can then share them via Facebook by linking the app to your profile.
10 Home Screen Notes
My memory is shot to pieces. So Post It notes are a Godsend. Home Screen Notes lets you post a virtual sticky-backed leaf of paper on your home screen to remind you to do important stuff. That’s right where you can’t miss it. It’s also more eco-friendly than its paper predecessor, if you care about that stuff.