No Luggage: The Essential Apps I Added To My BlackBerry

The original inspiration for this week's No Luggage challenge was the realisation that I could do my entire job using my BlackBerry Torch rather than my PC. Here's a list of the apps I've added to my Torch to make that process easier.The most crucial apps I need -- email, a browser, MemoPad for writing and tracking tasks, and the calendar app -- come built-in on the BlackBerry. As Lifehacker's editor, my basic job is to research and write, so those tools are crucial. I don't need a super-fancy text editor -- ever since MemoPad got spell-check, I've been happy to write using it.

However, a handful of extra BlackBerry apps make my life much simpler. Most are available in free versions, though I'm happy to pay for the full-price versions where they exist.

WordPress: Lifehacker uses WordPress for publishing; while I can access this via the browser, that's a super-fiddly process compared to using the BlackBerry app. Free.

Dropbox: All my existing work documents live on Dropbox, so having client software to browse it is essential. Free.

Twitter: The official Twitter BlackBerry client has recently been enhanced with tag auto-complete and some other tweaks. Even when I have access to a PC, I prefer to use my Torch for tweeting - the client is much cleaner and easier to use then Twitter's site. Free.

Google Maps: I find this much better than the native Maps app. It can be a battery hog though, so I make sure to only open it when I actually need to check a location or deal with my non-existent sense of direction, and then close it afterwards. Free.

VR+ Voice: I've already mentioned how this gives me longer recording times for interviews and voice notes. Free to trial indefinitely; the full version costs $16.65.

Photo Editor Ultimate: Useful for photo resizing and retouching (in practice, I've mostly been using it for resizing, though other effects are available). Free; the $2.25 paid version adds cropping and more image enhancement tools.

Screen Capture: Few people use screen capture tools more than journalists. There was no free screen capture app around when I added this to the BlackBerry, but $1.15 isn't a lot to pay.

BlackBerry Protect: I made sure I did a backup with this excellent over-the-air utility before heading off, so that there would be an easy way to restore my own data and settings if I suffered an unexpected hardware disaster. I've also been doing additional backups during the week. (You can automatically schedule backups, but I'm sticking to a manual process to manage power consumption and take advantage of faster syncing over Wi-Fi.) Free (and free to use).

An honourable mention goes to BlackBerry Travel. I'd already put all the schedule data for this trip on my device before the official travel app got released, so I didn't get to take full advantage of it. I will definitely be using it for future travels however.

For the No Luggage experiment, Angus Kidman is doing his normal job while travelling Australia for a week with not much more than a BlackBerry. For some reason, this also involves eating more bacon than normal.


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