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The five best open-source downloads for your BlackBerry

Keep passwords secure, improve RSS, use GPS

We've spent hours trawling the web to bring you the five best free open-source BlackBerry applicationss that we know you'll like. With these tools you'll be able to keep passwords secure, a set of tools to give you more control over your BlackBerry's backlight and messaging options, and a GPS location logger for your BlackBerry.

Funambol for BlackBerry

If your RIM smartphone is connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), you very likely already received 'push' email, at least from your corporate Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise mail account, and can sync PIM data such as calendar and contact information via USB.

But users who want push 'email' for web mail and OTA PIM sync have largely been out of luck... at least until Funambol released its latest free, open-source software.

The software consists of two parts: a push email component and PIM sync component. The push mail functionality works with popular web mail services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail and it also supports any POP or IMAP server, according to Funambol.

BlackBerry users wirelessly sync PIM data with a Funambol server, which in turn can sync with a variety of additional mail and PIM systems. The software is currently available for the full line of BlackBerry 8xxx series devices, as well as the as-yet unreleased Bold 9000.

bbTracker

The bbTracker application is an extremely simple, easy-to-use piece of open source software that could prove particularly valuable to road warriors, athletes and outdoorsmen. GPS functionality is a must, however, so users need a device with internal GPS or an external 'puck'.

The free BlackBerry download tracks users' coordinates and/or altitude; records recently travelled paths, which can be displayed via line graph; tracks and charts elevation and speed over a given time period; and then exports it all to a mapping service such as Google Earth so you can follow a path you travelled while carrying your BlackBerry. The software is not a full-fledged GPS application, though, and as such it does not provide on-screen maps or directions.

BlackBerry Tools

BlackBerryTools is not a single free application - rather, it's a package of five open source downloads that give users more control over BlackBerry functions such as the backlight, message reply options and spell checking. The utility also offers various weather and device status information, such as battery life and messages received.

BBLight lets you modify your device's backlight setting so your display can remain lit for as long as you desire. BBToday displays the date, current time, messages, appointments and tasks. Weather information and forecasts are available via BBWeather. BBReply helps modify your message reply-to addresses, and BBCorrector helps spell check messages.

  1. Keepass and Berry Bloglines
  2. Funambol, BBTracker and BlackBerry Tools


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