Ten must-have BlackBerry 10 apps

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BlackBerry’s latest operating system, BB10, has been around for six months now and the number of apps available in the BlackBerry World store has definitely grown in that time. There is even a good selection of specifically South African apps, with more on the way thanks to initiatives like the BlackBerry Jam putting the power of its relatively easy-to-use development tools in the hands of knowledge-hungry locals.

In the six months we’ve spent with BlackBerry’s Z10 smartphone, a lot of time has been spent trying out tons of apps on BlackBerry World, and we can now present to you ten apps we feel every BlackBerry 10 user should install. They’re all completely free, too, so trying them won’t cost you a cent.

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Ster Kinekor

SterkinekorSouth Africa’s biggest cinematic entertainment company has shown some serious commitment to its online portals, including its mobile ones. The Ster Kinekor BlackBerry app is as nice to look at as the company’s non-mobile website, and it’s possible to watch movie trailers, see what’s showing at your local Ster Kinekor cinema and even book tickets using the app. It’s actually the most polished app we’ve seen, on any platform, and we believe Ster Kinekor deserves a lot of credit for the hard work being put into ensuring a 21st century experience for its customers.

 

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Waytag

WaytagA Waytag is a way to identify physical locations, substituting addresses involving street names, suburbs, cities and postal codes with a simple description preceded by an exclamation mark the company refers to as a “bang”. It relies on people creating Waytags on their mobile phones, using their physical GPS data to tag locations that can then be shared with others, making it easier to find things than it is using conventional systems like online maps, with the added bonus of better accuracy. The Waytag app for BlackBerry 10 works beautifully and is very simple to use.

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WeChat

WeChatThis cross-platform chat app is taking the world by storm, and it’s faster and more reliable than alternatives like Whatsapp. It’s basically a voice-and-text chat application for talking to friends, either individually or in groups, and it works much like BBM does, just without the option of using video or talking to friends that aren’t BlackBerry users. We had no trouble with our messages going through almost immediately using WeChat, a pleasant change to Whatsapp which often took up to ten minutes to deliver individual texts.

 

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DropBox for BlackBerry

DropBox

DropBox is a great way to store files in the cloud, and access them from whatever device you’re using when you need them. You get 5GB of free storage when you sign up, with 250MB being added to that total for every person who signs up on your recommendation. You can choose which files to sync with your phone, and also to only synchronise files when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, so there’s no need to worry about incurring ridiculous network charges for downloading gigabytes over your cellular data connection.

 

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SA Events

SA EventsThis rather basic app is as clever as it is simple. All it does is provide you with information on events taking place in your province by using your phone’s GPS radio to figure out where you are. You get to see the names and dates of the events, and contact information for the people or companies behind them. It does warn that its information might not be 100% accurate up front, though, so it pays to investigate interesting events further before committing. It doesn’t update very often, though, so some events it brings up have already passed.

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News24

News24Do you know the best way to get all of News24’s excellent local news coverage without being exposed against your will to the verbal struggles that take place in the comments? By downloading the BB10 app, of course. That way, you get quick access to the top stories of the hour, and when you press on them you’re taken to a page with a small picture, and the story text on its own. The commenting system isn’t absent from the app, it just requires deliberate navigation on your part in order to find it, leaving the option wide open to wade in if that’s what you feel like doing.

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MXIT HD

MXITMXIT is undoubtedly one of the biggest, and busiest, social networks in Africa with over 10 million subscribers across the continent. The look and feel of the BB10 app for MXIT is a mix of “polished” and “basic”, with some interface elements looking slick and professional, with others looking like a high school programming project. Still, the app does what it says, and will connect you with other MXIT users according to the parameters you specify when you go looking for chat partners, as well as give you access to a vibrant online marketplace and even the option to buy prepaid electricity vouchers.

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PriceCheck Mobile

PricecheckOur experience of PriceCheck’s mobile app is actually even better than it is when using the website from a PC. It just seems more polished on mobile, and its results are less cluttered with ads and each page of search results are formatted in a way that makes it very easy to find exactly what we were looking for. We have found no better comparative-shopping app on BlackBerry World for South African shoppers, and highly recommend you download this one if you’re ever in need of quick, nicely-presented comparative results.

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Bidorbuy

BidorbuyAs with PriceCheck, Bidorbuy’s BlackBerry app offers a much better shopping experience than its web-based counterpart. Its various categories are attractively-presented and search results return quickly, and in an easy-to-browse format. You can bid on and buy things by logging into the app with your Bidorbuy website credentials, and tagging product auctions to keep an eye on them is a simple matter of pressing the “Watch” button. We were very impressed with the Bidorbuy app, and if you’re currently using the service and you have a BB10 phone, you should definitely download the app.

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Photo Studio

Photo StudioPhotos taken with your phone are not always the best, and even though the Z10’s camera tries really hard, sometimes the results leave a bit to be desired. Photo Studio can help: it’s a free app that fixes photos, adds effects and filters and even frames to make things look better. There are sharpening tools, blurring tools and tons of filters to make photos look grainy, black & white, old-fashioned, saturated and more. It’s quite fast, too, and very simple to navigate, and it took us mere seconds to fix some of our more awful-looking pics.

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Notable through their absence…

For reasons unknown, the following apps are still not available for BB10 phones despite huge popularity on other platforms. While it is possible to run some of these applications, in their Android form, using the BB10 Android emulator, the experience is not ideal.

Emulated apps also don’t take advantage of any of the inherent functionality baked into BB10, including gestures, notifications, and integration with the BlackBerry Hub.

Recent upgrades to BlackBerry 10 have added a lot of functionality to the OS, which makes us hopeful that app developers will see BlackBerry’s commitment platform and port their popular wares.

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YouTube

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Instagram

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Spotify

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Vine

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Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.

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