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Free BlackBerry downloads: 5 open-source mobile apps

Al Sacco | Jan. 8, 2008
Over the past few months, we've made it our mission to dig up the best free smartphone applications available.

The program imports users' existing Bloglines RSS reader account feeds, and unlike some common RSS apps, it offers not only short summaries of content within feeds but lets users read full articles without clicking to separate pages. It also integrates with Google's mobile content reformatting service so external pages reached via Berry Bloglines are optimized for mobile device screens. And once you've checked out a story via BlackBerry, it's marked as read in your desktop Bloglines interface.

The Berry Bloglines full source code is available here. (Note: Despite its RIM-specific name, Berry Bloglines works on any Web-enabled smartphone.)

Funambol for BlackBerry-"Push" Mail Sans BES, Exchange and OTA PIM Sync

If your RIM smartphone is connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), you very likely already received "push" e-mail-at least from your corporate Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise mail account-and can sync PIM data like calendar and contact information via USB. But users who want push "e-mail" for Web mail and OTA PIM sync have largely been out of least until Funambol released its latest free, open-source software.

The software consists of two parts: a push e-mail component and PIM sync component. The push mail functionality works with popular Web mail services like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! And it also supports any POP or IMAP server, according to the company. 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. It can be downloaded for free from the company's website, and the software's full source code is available here.

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 like 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.

bbTracker can be downloaded OTA, and its source code is available here.
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 like backlight, message reply options and spell checking. The utility also offers various weather and device status information, like battery life and messages received.


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