It took me several years before I finally decided to add a BlackBerry device to my permanent mobile arsenal and my fairly recent T-Mobile Sunset-colored Curve has been performing pretty well. I never thought too much about 3rd party application support for the BlackBerry, but I am finding there are actually lots of cool applications and utilities to let you do even more with the device. Three of the latest applications from Electric Pocket that I have had a few weeks to play with are Ringo, PhoneFace Speed Dialer, and Flipside.
Ringo is a ringtone management utility that is also available for Windows Mobile devices as well. Every device comes with default ringtones and most of them are pretty lame, IMHO, so I usually change them to some other catchy tune and sometimes change it with the season. Ringo allows you to use MP3 or AAC formatted music to create ringtones on your device. Unfortunately, you cannot clip the music file and something like the first 15 seconds plays as the ringtone. Depending on the song, you may want to clip it on your PC and then load the file onto your BlackBerry before selecting it as your ringtone.
You can set personal ringtone and message tones for friends and family, setup different ringtones for groups of people, silence call from unknown callers, and download lots of free ringtones (something like 50) from the Electric Pocket site.
There is a 7-day free trial available and the full retail version is US$19.95. Ringo works on the BlackBerry Pearl, Curve, and 8800 series. I personally think this is a bit pricey for a ringtone management program, but then again when you see people paying $1 to $2 for a silly ringtone from their carrier it is pretty cheap to get as many ringtones as you want on your device.
I only make phone calls to a rather small number of select people and am not on the phone making calls that much so I generally have a small speed dial list. An enjoyable new utility from Electric Pocket is PhoneFace Speed Dialer. With PhoneFace Speed Dialer I actually added a few more contacts to my speed dial/PhoneFace application so that I can more easily find them by their photo and then text or email them right from this interface.
I generally do not walk around taking photos of my contacts with my camera-enabled phones, but PhoneFace has a cool function that lets you download the photo of your contact from Facebook as long as they have a Facebook account. You will need to go to the PhoneFace Facebook application and physically authorize permission for the application to work with the photo importing function. You also have the option of taking a photo from your BlackBerry and storing it with your contact.
As you can see in the video you simply flick your finger across the trackball to scroll through your contacts. With the ability to add the application to the top of most every menu, I use it as a quick way to initiate a call or text message. There is a free 7-day trial version and if you enjoy using it then you can pick it up for only US$9.95.
A major bonus on my BlackBerry Curve is the integrated standard 3.5mm headset jack that lets me listen to podcasts using my own Ultimate Ears headphones. Now with the FlipSide software the media playing capability is so much better. FlipSide is a MP3, AAC, M4A client for the BlackBerry (Curve, Pearl, and 88xx series) that lets you turnn your device into a full digital music player.
There are a few key shortcuts to learn so you don't have to use the trackball all the time to navigate the device. To fast forward or rewind a track, hold down the ALT key and Shift key and use the trackball. You can press the space bar to toggle play/pause. Holding down the space key will skip to the next song.
As you can see in the video, album art is also provided. There is a free 3-day version and the full version costs US$19.95.
FlipSide and Ringo are also both available for Windows Mobile devices and offer the same functionality, with a slightly different menu system/interface.