I have been extremely happy with an app for my BlackBerry called “Email++.” It does not replace the native BlackBerry email app, but adds additional functionality. The email experience on any handheld pales in comparison to working on your desktop with Outlook, but this app does help to close the gap.

Turn Emails into Tasks, Appointments, or Memos
Those who have heard me talk about getting information from email messages into your Outlook task list or calendar through “drag and drop” know what a valuable tool this is. Email++ has that same capability.

When are You Available?
Think of how many times someone emails trying to set a date and time for a meeting or appointment with you and wants to know when you are free. Supplying this information, particularly if you are working from your phone, can be a real research project. You wind up scrolling through your calendar, jotting down available blocks of time on paper, and then going back to the email to transfer what you had written on the paper.

With Email++ , while reading the email which asks about your availability, you simply scroll to the top of the message, click a icon on the upper right corner, and choose “Availability.” Choose a date (it defaults to the current day) and select whether you are interested in the availability for that day or that week. Your results display on the screen along with a button to click which copies those results. Now, click to reply to the email and paste the results into the body of the message.

The programs setting allow you to define when your “work time” is, so that the program doesn’t say you are available at 2:00 A.M. or on Saturday morning. You get to choose the earliest and latest times you allow for availability and the days of the week on which you work. That setting only needs to happen one time. Email++ takes it from there.

Where Am I?
The same icon which let you choose you availability will also let you find your location. Clicking the “My Location” button provides an option for your results to be your GPS location (if you are outdoors) or the location of the nearest tower. With one button, you can copy those results as well as paste them into an email message.

As email comes rolling in, you see an auto-preview, just like you see on Outlook. This feature is handy for those times you are expecting a particularly important email. Just as with Outlook, you can turn off this feature if you wish.

How Much Is It and Where Do I Get It?
At $4.99 (or $2.99 if you catch it on sale) this app is a steal. You can even try it for free. Read more here.You can download it here at BlackBerry App World.