With a huge range of third-party apps for BlackBerry available, its hard to know which ones really are a must-have. We spoke to three executives from BlackBerry handset manufacturer Research in Motion to find out just which downloads they cannot live without.

Over the past few weeks we've recommended a number of downloads and apps which are guaranteed to make your BlackBerry even more productive but for the real low-down on the best apps out there we went to Research in Motion, the manufacturer of BlackBerry handsets.

Jeff McDowell, vice president of global alliances; David Heit, director of software product management, and RIM's president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis shared with us the favourite free third-party apps that they find most valuable and use the most frequently.

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TeleNav and Garmin GPS for BlackBerry

Like many executives, Heit's frequently on the move, but he rarely goes anywhere without his BlackBerry. GPS-based apps such as TeleNav's GPS Navigator for BlackBerry and Garmin for BlackBerry help him get where he needs to be on time and as painlessly as possible.

TeleNav's GPS Navigator offers users a choice of voice or on-screen driving directions. It can also help you find and navigate to nearby restaurants, Wi-Fi hotspots, or any of the company's other 10 million business listings. And TeleNav provides traffic alerts and rerouting information based on those notifications.

Like TeleNav, Garmin Mobile for BlackBerry offers voice or text turn-by-turn navigation, although sadly it’s only currently available for North America. It also has some six million 'points of interest' or preprogrammed locales of note. And the Garmin Online service provides traffic information, weather forecasts, local petrol prices and more.

Both services are compatible with a variety of BlackBerry devices, including Pearl, Curve and 8800 series handhelds, and can also be combined with an external GPS 'pucks' to enable devices without built-in GPS functionality to utilise the service.

Users with internal GPS pay $99 (£50) for access to Garmin Mobile for BlackBerry (that covers you for the life of the device) and the same per year for TeleNav GPS Navigator. And folks without GPS can pay an additional $50 (£25) for a puck from Garmin or $99 (£50) from TeleNav.

Visit PC Advisor's BlackBerry spotlight for the latest news, reviews, tips & tricks relating to RIM's handsets and services

NEXT PAGE: Why BlackBerry execs love Pocket Express and WorldMate Live

  1. Downloads BlackBerry execs use to add value to a handset
  2. Why BlackBerry execs love Pocket Express and WorldMate Live
  3. More third-party apps for BlackBerry
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With a huge range of third-party apps for BlackBerry available, its hard to know which ones really are a must-have. We spoke to three executives from BlackBerry handset manufacturer Research in Motion to find out just which downloads they cannot live without.

Pocket Express

Although McDowell was careful to stress the fact that he didn't want to play favourites - he is after all a VP of RIM's global alliances business, which fosters relationships with the developers and vendors who create and market BlackBerry applications - he did offer up a few of the downloads that he uses on a regular basis.

One such app is Handmark's Pocket Express. Pocket Express is an all-around mobile companion for smartphones, provides easy access to travel information, news, weather, maps, sport scores, games, quick web search, multimedia and more, all within one single app.

Pocket Express works on the vast majority of smartphones, including BlackBerries all the way from the 7100 to 8830 handhelds, on most of the world's leading wireless carriers.

Two versions of Pocket Express are available, Express Executive and Elite. The Executive edition of the software offers everything mentioned above, plus a 24/7 MobileConcierge service to help answer questions or make reservations around the clock. The base version of the software goes for $6.99 (£3.50) per month or $69.90 (£35) per year, and the Elite edition costs $9.99 (£5) per month or $99 (£50) per year.

WorldMate Live

Heit and McDowell both had only good things to say about the WorldMate Live travel application. WorldMate Live simplifies travel by automatically delivering content and services to BlackBerrys and other smartphones. There are two version of WorldMate Live, one of which can be downloaded free of charge. The free version features include the My Itineraries function, which stores information on flights, hotels, meetings, public transportation and car rentals on BlackBerrys. The application also lets users export travel information from booking confirmation emails, corporate calendars and more, directly into WorldMate Live, and it automatically assembles their itineraries.

The pay, or Gold Membership, version of WorldMate Live, offers additional functionality including real-time travel alerts, flight and meeting notifications and alternatives to cancelled or delayed flights. The service costs $99.99 (£50) for a year-long subscription.

Facebook for BlackBerry

Another popular app PC Advisor has covered frequently is Facebook for BlackBerry, and it lives on the smartphones of both Heit and Lazaridis.

McDowell says the Facebook app is easily one of the most popular third-party downloads available for BlackBerry, and that's because it does away with the need to type in a web address to access your profile page and see recent events or messages. When you've got Facebook on your BlackBerry, you need only check your profile when an alert is sent directly to your handheld.

Alhough not as feature-packed as the real Facebook site (you can't access groups, for example,) the mobile application displays your home screen notifications, such as status updates, and you can 'poke' or message friends and write on their walls. Lists of friends and their status updates are also available with a single click from the mobile home screen, and photo uploading and sharing is as simple as snapping an image with your smartphone's camera and uploading it to the site from the application's home screen. The application is free.

Visit PC Advisor's BlackBerry spotlight for the latest news, reviews, tips & tricks relating to RIM's handsets and services

NEXT PAGE: More third-party apps for BlackBerry

  1. Downloads BlackBerry execs use to add value to a handset
  2. Why BlackBerry execs love Pocket Express and WorldMate Live
  3. More third-party apps for BlackBerry
  4. Google Maps Mobile for BlackBerry

With a huge range of third-party apps for BlackBerry available, its hard to know which ones really are a must-have. We spoke to three executives from BlackBerry handset manufacturer Research in Motion to find out just which downloads they cannot live without.

FlipSide

Let's face it, the media player that comes standard on current BlackBerry devices is less-than-stellar. Especially since all mobile media players are measured against the current market leader, the iPod and its iTunes software, both of which are famously easy to use.

BlackBerry users who want to get the most MP3-player-punch from their RIM devices are in luck, thanks to FlipSide. This recommendation came from Mr BlackBerry himself, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, who has FlipSide installed on his BlackBerry Bold.

The application plays MP3 files stored on your memory card and displays full-color album artwork along with each track, if available. Creating playlists is simple. You can even find out additional information about your tunes by accessing the program's FlipSide Extras option.

A free demo of FlipSide is available here, or you can buy it for $19.95 (£10) on MobiHand.com.

Viigo

When it comes to third-party BlackBerry applications, we've got one clear favourite: Viigo. And it seems we're not alone in our love of the mobile RSS feed reader. Jeff McDowell and Mike Lazaridis both have Viigo installed on their current devices and use the app on a regular basis.

Viigo provides instant access to any internet RSS feed via a simple and good-looking interface. And it supports the popular Google Reader service, so users can import existing collections of RSS feeds from computers to mobile devices.

The application works with any BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device, and its preserves their user interfaces, so there are no new navigation techniques or tricks to learn. The app pushes feed updates to users' handhelds and stores them on the devices so that content can be accessed without cellular connectivity.

Best of all, the standard version of Viigo is free. The company also offers two pay versions, Viigo Publisher, which is meant to help content producers or publishers mobilise and easily present their content, and Viigo Corporate Edition (CE), designed to assist enterprises in providing necessary information to employees via mobile devices.

Visit PC Advisor's BlackBerry spotlight for the latest news, reviews, tips & tricks relating to RIM's handsets and services

NEXT PAGE: Google Maps Mobile for BlackBerry

  1. Downloads BlackBerry execs use to add value to a handset
  2. Why BlackBerry execs love Pocket Express and WorldMate Live
  3. More third-party apps for BlackBerry
  4. Google Maps Mobile for BlackBerry

With a huge range of third-party apps for BlackBerry available, its hard to know which ones really are a must-have. We spoke to three executives from BlackBerry handset manufacturer Research in Motion to find out just which downloads they cannot live without.

Google Maps Mobile

Finally, the one app that Heit, McDowell and Lazaridis all report using very often: Google Maps Mobile.

"It's a just a great implementation," McDowell says of the app. "I use it a LOT."

Google Maps for BlackBerry provides location-based information and services to mobile handsets with or without the use of GPS. The 'My Location' function employs nearby mobile transmitters to determine rough locations of mobile phone users, so no information needs to be entered.

The application also provides satellite imagery from the Google Earth service and can deliver walking instructions or driving directions with real-time traffic alerts, although this is only currently available for 30 US cities. The application is available for a plethora of mobile phones, free of charge.

Heit jokes that he often uses the app to look at Satellite images of his home, and that he can even see the cars that were in the driveway when the images were captured. Heit also raves about the other Google Mobile services available to BlackBerry users, such as the web search icon, available via the Google Mobile Updater.

Visit PC Advisor's BlackBerry spotlight for the latest news, reviews, tips & tricks relating to RIM's handsets and services

  1. Downloads BlackBerry execs use to add value to a handset
  2. Why BlackBerry execs love Pocket Express and WorldMate Live
  3. More third-party apps for BlackBerry
  4. Google Maps Mobile for BlackBerry