The Blackberry isn't dead yet. Although tech blogs and other news sites have given heavy coverage to arguably hotter smartphones like the iPhone, Android, and now Palm's new Pre, the Blackberry is still a staple phone across much of the corporate world. If you don't use a Blackberry or have moved on to something else, you may think that the phones are just boring devices - good for email, but not much else. You would be wrong.
Although in the past there have been a few standout social media applications for Blackberry like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitterberry, there haven't been enough of them to make Blackberry as fun to use as the iPhone. But Blackberry owners are not entirely without hope. Before, after, and during CES, we've seen the launch of several new apps that are sure to please those who remained committed to this platform. Here are some of our recent favorites:
Forget TwitterBerry, the latest and greatest Twitter app for Blackberry users is the brand-new Socialscope, now in alpha. SocialScope not only integrates your Twitter feed, but adds in Facebook status updates as well. When you launch the application, you're immediately taken to your friends' timeline where you'll see their avatars, latest tweet, and timestamp. Tabs at the top let you switch between your feed, Facebook, replies, and DMs, or the main SocialScope feed which includes both Twitter and Facebook combined. You can easily reply and message others as well as favorite tweets. There's also a cool option to add users from these social apps to your phone's address book.
You'll need an invite code to get in - try following @socialscope on Twitter then DM'ing a request to them.
SlingPlayer Mobile for Blackberry
SlingPlayer's iPhone app may have made the headlines, but flying under the radar was the announcement that their Blackberry app is now in public beta, too. If you have one of the supported devices and a SlingBox at home, you can watch your home TV and DVR recordings right on your Blackberry smartphone. If you want to test it out, it's available now as a free 30-day trial. Afterwards, if you want to purchase the application it's $29.99.
Unify4Life turns your Blackberry into a remote control. There are actually two applications available: AV|Shadow and Garage|Shadow. AV|Shadow gives you control over your home's audio/visual equipment, including your TV, DVD player, radio, DVR, and more. It even provides an interactive guide for TV listings, search, and favorites. The Garage|Shadow, as you might have guessed, turns your Blackberry into a remote control for your garage. This one doesn't appear to be available yet, but AV|Shadow is...although it will cost you. It's being sold for $99.99.
We just introduced to you to Slacker Radio's iPhone app, but it's available for Blackberry, too. This free music app lets you listen to your favorite radio stations on the go whether or not you're connected to a wireless network. That's possible thanks to Slacker's station caching, a unique feature that lets mobile users store favorite stations to a memory card allowing Slacker to play without a network connection. This option also boosts battery life and enhances the application's performance. Learn more at slacker.com/mobile/blackberry.
BeamReader, a PDF reader application, has been around for awhile, but just recently launched out of beta. With this application installed, you can read PDF email attachments or documents stored on your memory card without needing a data plan in order to do so. In addition to the native PDF viewing, BeamReader is also a file manager which lets you organize and access other document formats, too, including Microsoft Office, images and audio/video files. (Note: viewing Office documents requires Documents to Go, which is preinstalled on Blackberry OS 4.5 and higher)
Oh, and in case you decide to use your phone to actually get some work done, the new Stockstream Mobile application, which comes in both a regular and Pro version, lets you get real-time streaming market data, stock quotes, news, charts, and company research on your handheld. The news comes directly from Reuters and you can sign up to be alerted when there's new information about your tracked investments.
Bonus: Cool new Blackberry Hardware, Zeemote
Zeemote isn't actually a Blackberry application, but it's worth a mention. This bluetooth-enabled controller works in tandem with your Blackberry smartphone to allow for improved smartphone gaming by means of a separate controller. The controller has four programmable buttons. a joystick, and runs on two AAA batteries.
Image Credit: SocialScope courtesy of Crackberry