One of the best things about Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphones is their ability to download and install external applications.

Every download adds a new level of value and customisation to the devices, and BlackBerry users who don't take advantage of this functionality simply aren't getting the most out of their smartphones.

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But like most things in life, the best BlackBerry downloads don't come free – the exception being the following six applications. They include a free mobile RSS reader that delivers whatever feeds you select in real time; an uber search application that scans everything from websites to online telephone directories to local business listings; an invaluable travel tool that provides so much information it gives new meaning to the phrase "don't leave home without it"; a mapping application that provides satellite images of any location in the world, along with driving directions, traffic updates and local search for many regions; and two mobile applications that keep you connected to your favourite social networking sites anywhere you can fire up your BlackBerry.

Viigo: The true mobile RSS reader

Today, just about every website worth visiting has an RSS feed or feeds that serve up fresh content to readers so users don't even need to type in a web addresses to find the content they seek. There is a plethora of choices for desktop and laptop users, but there aren't very many mobile readers that deliver the same quality, especially free readers. That's what makes Viigo special. Viigo provides instant access to any RSS feed available on the web via an easy to read and aesthetically-pleasing interface. And it supports the popular Google Reader service so users can import existing collections of RSS feeds from computers to mobile devices.

The application works with any BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device, and it preserves their user interfaces so there are no new navigation techniques or tricks to learn or get accustomed to. Viigo's simple interface lets users add any feed or "channel" they wish by simply pasting in the feed's web address, and the application offers some 2,500 pre-selected channels. Viigo pushes feed updates to users' handhelds and stores them on the devices so content can be accessed without cellular connectivity.

Viigo Standard Edition (SE) is free for download from the company's site, and there are two versions you need to buy: Viigo Publisher is meant to help content producers or publishers mobilise and easily present their content, and Viigo Corporate Edition (CE) is designed to assist enterprises in provide necessary information to employees via mobile device.

Viigo is not the only free mobile RSS readers for BlackBerrys, but its user interface is easier to read and more attractive than others like NewsGator Go! and Berry Bloglines.

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