The BlackBerry receives its share of criticism for lack of apps. With over 500,000 apps available for the iPhone, 400,000 available for Android, the 60,000 available in BlackBerry App World pales by comparison. Of course, when you take into account the amount of duplication, the difference grows smaller. Taking into account sources stating that 26% of downloaded apps are used only once, the difference grows smaller still.
With any platform, you find apps whose names continue to be mentioned again and again. They appear on every list of the “must-have” apps. With the BlackBerry, popularity is not what makes something a “Super App.”
The primary characteristic of a “Super App” is the way it integrates with native BlackBerry apps, such as the Calendar. This post covers three Super Apps which make my life easier.
If you do much travel, and especially if it involves flying the friendly skies, BlackBerry Travel is huge. To illustrate, I place a call to a hotel to book a stay. That’s it…one phone call, and then I hang up and do nothing else. In a few minutes, I received an e-mail not only from the hotel, but also an e-mail from BlackBerry Travel reviewing all of the details (type of room, confirmation number, room rate, check-in and checkout times, etc,). Most of all, the BlackBerry Travel App went into my calendar and entered the hotel stay on each day along with creating a name for the trip itself (which I could edit).
A link in the note section of each entry opened all of the details about the hotel stay or a birds-eye view of the trip as a whole. I could see flight arrangement and rental car arrangement that I had either made, or notification that there were none associated with that trip. I can make those additional arrangement from inside the BlackBerry Travel app. I also saw all of my LinkedIn connections who live in the area to which I was traveling.
When a flight has been delayed, BlackBerry Travel notifies me by e-mail. When it’s time to check-in, I get a reminder from BlackBerry Travel along with a link that takes me straight to check-in.
Certainly, I am capable of entering this trip information on my calendar myself and making sure I have a hotel room for each day between my flight’s arrival and departure. I could also sign up for an alert from the airline for each flight. But when this app does it all for me, life becomes easier.
What makes BlackBerry Travel a “Super App” is the way it interacted with my calendar and my LinkedIn account. By the way, it’s free.
In short, BlackBerry Traffic is a GPS. It interacts with the GPS location on the BlackBerry to determine the starting point. It will interact with e-mail to send a pre-formatted message announcing your expected arrival time and the address to which you are headed to anyone you wish.
The app will search for nearby gas, food, etc. and even telephone your selection with one touch. While we have all paid well over $100 for a GPS, not to mention charges for updates, BlackBerry Traffic is free. Again, the interaction with your email and the BlackBerry’s GPS location makes this application a “Super App.”
When you open Poynt, you first see the current temperature at your GPS location. The program will allow you to find people, businesses, gas, food, movies, or events. With movies, for example, you can start by searching for movies or for theaters. Either way, you wind up with the ability to view trailers, buy tickets, and get directions to your location. When you decide when and where you want to go for your movie, Poynt will put that information on your calendar.
The “People” section will allow you to input a name, address, or phone number. No matter which of the three you choose, you are given the other two pieces of information together with how far they are from you. Mapping the location is also easily done.
The ability to interact with your GPS location, place information on your calendar, and interact with your phone makes this application a “Super App.” Poynt is free.
For information on other BlackBerry “Super Apps,” read this information related to the following Super Apps (all of which are free):
- AccuWeather-Get local weather for your GPS location, weather anywhere in the world, daily forecasts in your e-mail, and forecast for each day on your calendar.
- ScoreMobile-Put a team schedule of your choice in your calendar. Get scores and notification of game start times.
- Pageonce-Syncs online banking, bills and travel accounts. In general, the program puts all of your personal finances in one place.
- eBay-Places reminders on your calendar of when bids of interest are closing and receive alerts when another bid has been placed.
- 1-800-Flowers Mobile-Allows you to order flowers for special occasions, checks your calendar for special occasions and alerts you. The app also integrates with your address book.
- Foursquare-Alerts you when friends are nearby and allows you to get recommendations on what to order at restaurants.
- Urbanspoon-Suggests a restaurant in your location. You can narrow to certain cuisine, price range, or neighborhood.
If you already use any of the Super Apps, I would welcome your comments on what you think about them. If you try one based on what you read here, let me know about it.