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I have a blackberry Curve 8320. I do not have a data plan. Why you say? Well, I just don’t have the need for it. You see, I am 90 percent of the time in places where I have access to Wi-Fi. When I am on the road I have free access to AT&T hot-spots (I am an AT&T DSL subscriber), which includes McDonald’s, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and who knows what else.
So I wanted to find free apps that would allow me to use my IM accounts, publish Twitter and Facebook updates, check weather and use my Gmail account. I also did not want to have to tweak my Blackberry in any way. I wanted apps that work out of the box!
A bumpy road
I guess I am too naive. The first thing I did was going to the Blackberry site to happily download Facebook for Blackberry, Twitter for Blackberry, MSN for Blackberry and so on. But of course, Blackberry is a business, they want you to pay for a data plan, thus most applications don’t run over Wi-Fi. I started searching on-line, some people claimed that this or that app would run over Wi-Fi by setting the Blackberry to use Wi-Fi and not the data plan. In most cases this is not true because the apps were designed to run only over the data plan.
I installed many apps, tried them and eventually had to remove them. At that time I was not thinking on writing this blog post and unfortunately I did not keep a list of the ones that failed.
The ones that worked!
If you like this article, please comment or hit the “like” button, I appreciate your input.
I have not tried every single app I could find, thus the list here may not have the best free apps that run on BB over Wi-Fi, they are the ones I know so far. And again, you can trust they actually work over Wi-Fi because I do not have a data plan. Here they are:
Bing for Blackberry m.bing.com/download/ You get Search, Maps, Top News, Business Directory and Get Directions. Pretty sweet. My favorite SE is Google, sadly Google Apps won’t run over Wi-Fi. I found some people were able to make Google Apps run by using a program called WiFiX. WiFiX is an app that will fool your BB into believing it is using your data plan, tunneling the connections through your Wi-Fi. I tried it and did not like it, I don’t think it is yet ready for prime time. I’ll keep an eye on it though.
Opera Mini mini.opera.com/ This is a nice and fast web browser, much faster than the default BB browser, the only limitation I found is you still need to use the BB browser to install apps, but I can live with that.
Snaptu m.snaptu.com Snaptu gives you a lot, it is like a portal with a list of apps you can use, the ones I care about are Facebook, Twitter and Weather, but you have others like movies and games. The Facebook and Twitter app are very basic, but again, they are free and work over Wi-Fi! For Twitter there are several options, but for Facebook this is the only one I have found so far, if you know of a better one, please let me know. Warning: People with data plan should now that there is a bug in this application that causes Snaptu to use the data channel. If you do not have a data plan you should be ok. Thanks to Kalt for pointing this out.
UberTwitter ubertwitter.com Thanks to Husss and Jason I tried this one, and I was blown away! This is by far the best free twitter client I have tried for BB that works over Wi-Fi. It has all the features I wanted to have. And it is fast too. If you use the free version it will display ads, but they are really not that intrusive. I recommend this app for Twitter.
TwiXtreme twixtreme.com/ This is a Twitter app, I prefer this one to the one included in Snaptu.
OpenBeak m.openbeak.com Another Twitter app, not as nice as TwiXtreme but faster, nicer than the one included in Snaptu.
Nimbuzz get.nimbuzz.com This is an IM app that work with the following networks: Windows Live Messenger, Skype Chat, Yahoo, Facebook, Google Talk, AIM, Myspace and ICQ.
LogicMail logicmail.org/ota This is a nice e-mail client that you can configure to get your email from any email account that supports POP or IMAP. I use it to read my Gmail. The details on how to configure it for Gmail are here
I am very friendly, let me know what you think about the article, what could be added to it, whether you were surprised or disappointed. Lets start the conversation!
Do you know a better app?
If you know of better apps for the categories shown above, or apps you cannot live without, please comment and let us know. I will update the post, so more people can take advantage of the Wi-Fi, even if RIM and the Carriers don’t want us to.
Note: I am not a Blackberry expert. I am a regular BB user who is publishing his findings on apps that work over Wi-Fi so others can benefit. I cannot give expert advise on how to install them in different versions of BB OS, different devices or tweaks.