Bill McCandless is attending CTIA in Vegas this week.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- BlackBerry maker Research In Motion ( RIMM) has struggled to keep pace with Apple ( AAPL) in the smartphone applications war. Developers complain about the complexities of building for BlackBerry, and many corporate users are blocked from downloading available apps.

As we did with our Best Android Apps, we've wrangled the best free and paid apps for BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry App World was launched about a year ago, marking RIM's reaction to the robust iPhone app store and a move to try and keep RIM's non-business user base RIM from switching to Apple or one of phones running Google's ( GOOG) Android.

Our experience in building TheStreet mobile for BlackBerry was great as our developer and a representative from RIM worked together well. Yet unlike working with the folks at Google on our Android app, RIM doesn't offer developers a review or critique of the app to make sure it takes full advantage of the OS.

Apps will be one of the factors in the health of a company's OS going forward; RIM would do well to get more involved and follow Google's lead. This look at free and paid BlackBerry apps is by no means complete -- new BlackBerry apps come on line all the time. Please comment and give us your reviews and opinions.

ScoreMobile for Blackberry

Built from the ground up just for BlackBerries, ScoreMobile provides updated sports scores, box scores, top stories, gamer previews, fantasy player stats, betting odds, recaps and standings for football (NFL, NCAAF, CFL), baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA, NCAAB), hockey (NHL), golf (PGA), auto racing (NASCAR Sprint Cup) and soccer (EPL, MLS). As you might have guessed, ScoreMobile is affiliated with TV network, TheScore.


Available for nearly every smartphone OS, Pandora personalizes your radio listening by allowing you to program your favorite songs and artists into "stations." In addition to suppling you your favorites, Pandora slips in suggested tunes that usually flow perfectly with your selected artists -- making Pandora enjoyable to listen to for hours at a time. Just don't forget to keep some battery charge for phone calls and e-mail.


Poynt lets you locate important stuff right near wherever you are. Poynt helps you find people, places and things like movie theaters, restaurants, and businesses by tapping in to your BlackBerry's GPS or cell-site proximity locators. You can use Poynt as your personal concierge in The United States, Canada, Germany and the U.K.


Love your music? Shazam is a music purchase-and-download conduit that lets you discover, download and share tunes on your Blackberry. This free version of Shazam gives you as many as five "tags" a month. Upgrade to the pay service ($5) for unlimited "tags", reviews, bios and discographies.


Kobo is a global e-book store and depository that offers everything from best-sellers to free books that you can download to your Blackberry. Kobo says that for most titles, you can download the first chapter for free to preview whether or not you want the rest of the book. Kobo's got thousands of e-books with more being added each week. Despite what it says in App World, check to see if Kobo allows the sale of books in your country.


Xenozu is a free YouTube video player for your Blackberry. Within seconds of starting a video, your smartphone screen becomes a mini-theater. Some users report that Xenozu actually provides a better user experience than the official YouTube applet for BlackBerry handsets.

Navita Translator

Navita is a translation client developed specially for BlackBerry smartphones. It can translate words and phrases in e-mail as well as from texts and brower typing. The program currently supports English, Portuguese and Spanish interfaces and translates to-and-from 52 languages. It's also compatible with all BlackBerry devices.

This applet lets you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while simultaneously handling BlackBerry email. reads your SMS text messages and email out loud. You can also pay for the "Pro" version, which eliminates having to listen to sponsor messages along with your mail.


This game is described as a high-pressure, falling-blocks game with a twist. There are two block types but only the Ka-Glom "jelly" blocks are explosive. Connect four Ka-Gloms of the same color to start an explosive reaction that eliminates all connecting blocks of the same color. Huge chain reaction explosions multiply the bonus points. It's fast-moving, addictive.


Self-promotion alert! This app offers the best of the best when it comes to keeping up with what's happening and why on Wall Street, as well as what to expect next. Get access to breaking news, up-to-the-minute stock tickers and Jim Cramer's insight. And the best part of all -- TSC's BlackBerry applet is free.

--Written by Bill McCandless in New York

The Best Android Apps >>

Bill McCandless is the executive editor for multimedia at TheStreet.

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