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Review: This Week’s Top BlackBerry OS Applications

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StormSliderStormSlider – The iPhone-esque app for Blackberry users

StormSlider is an application made specifically for the Blackberry Storm 9530, and is a new way for RIM users to do something incredibly simple in a different way. Typically, the Storm can be put in lock mode by using either the convenience key at the top, or by finding the Lock application within the menus. All that is required is another press of the Lock key.

The iPhone has a slightly different system: users lock their phones in a similar fashion, but when it is locked, a new screen appears. The screen contains a touch-sensitive slider, which will open up the menus once it is moved across the screen.

Storm Slider provides this feature to the Storm, plain and simple. The application is available in Blackberry’s App World in two additions: free and paid. The free version presents the application in the menu, but does not allow the user to use this as a replacement for the lock key. The paid version does exactly that, so that the menu screen isn’t cluttered-up with a lock application.

tweetcasterTweetCaster – Just Another Mobile Twitter Client?

Twitter has become an essential part of social networking, and with this status, it has become a major part of mobile communication. Unlike social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace (both of which have their own application available at the App World) it seems that everyday there is news of a new developer coming up with a program for mass-messaging 140 characters at a time. TweetCaster, developed by Handmark, is the latest addition to the ever-growing list of Twitter clients.

TweetCaster is worthy of the avid tweeter’s attention though. It is far different from most similar apps, in both its functionality and style. First off, it looks like a legit and well thought-out application, and not just a web link or series of clunky menus.

It is set up similar to the Blackberry Facebook application, with a menu bar at the top with several different tabs. Here, the user can access tweets, replies, favorites, direct messages, followers and more. All of this works well, looks clean, and loads within a decent amount of time.

The best feature of this app is that it doesn’t constantly refresh the timeline. While apps such as Twitterberry and UberTwitter reload the timeline at a designated time interval, TweetCaster does it only when a refresh button is pressed, located in the tweets menu. Other applications drain precious battery life by refreshing at a user-determined time interval. Even at long periods of time such as four hours, those with one-hundred or more friends to follow will have their battery drained significantly due to the large amount of data being transferred.

Overall, this is a fantastic application for any Twitter-fan who has to look at what their friends are up-to on a constant (or not-so-constant) basis. It is incredibly refreshing to find a Twitter application that will not deplete battery levels so rapidly, and is still fully functional. The application is free for download, and only costs a tweet for its promotion. It can be found at the publisher.

ubbcoperad-6Opera Mini – The Almost Perfect Backup Browser

Blackberry’s browser is a very efficient, simple, and somewhat boring application. It has quite possibly the simplest launch menu one could imagine, but still has all the basic features a web browser essentially needs. For those who cannot stand the dullness of the default browser, or find that they have too many problems with it, a backup browser is always recommended. For this, Opera Mini is a terrific choice.

Opera Mini is the mobile version of the desktop web browser, which is actually far more famously used for mobile devices.

The launch screen has a set of bookmarks which can be accessed via hot keys, and has a much more stimulating feel to it. Its red highlighted menus are far more pleasant to the eye then the grayscale of the default browser’s. Opera also loads many pages quicker or better, as it is a more widely used web application.

There is one major drawback to this application for some users though: the browser is almost non-compatible with the Blackberry Storm 9530. While it can be used on the device, it doesn’t work well, and wasn’t made for a touchscreen device, let alone the Storm’s SurePress clickable screen. To select something, a touch of the screen is required, opposed to a click of the screen. This may seem simple and unworthy of mention, but this will surely throw Storm users off quite a bit. It also requires heavy use of the menu button on the Storm, for so many things as simple as bringing up the keyboard.

For all other Blackberry devices, Opera should be perfect as a backup browser, or even a replacement for those who really despise the default one. Storm users should probably explore other options though. For the rest of the RIM users out there, Opera is a very capable and clean browser, that looks good too. Best part of the whole package is that it is free It can be downloaded at Opera.

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By , RIM-affairs Correspondent on Jul 25th, 2009 GMT +2

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