One of the major shortcomings of Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry mobile OS is that it requires a user to store any and all "active," or installed, third party applications within a small section of their BlackBerry device's internal storage memory: the application memory.
In other words, BlackBerry users can only download and employ as many applications as will fit within their devices' app memory. And the largest amount of app memory available in any current BlackBerry device is a meager 256MB.
If you asked RIM about the issue, as I did last year, you'd hear some kind of explanation about security and the relative small-size of BlackBerry apps themselves. But even the BlackBerry-maker is aware the app-memory situation isn't ideal for users, and it's working on new methods to give BlackBerry users access to more applications.
In a recent upgrade to RIM's mobile app store, BlackBerry App World, the company addressed the issue by enabling "app archiving" for software downloaded via App World. BlackBerry users can now choose to archive, or save, any apps they don't use frequently but may still want to hang onto, to their external microSD memory cards, though each app needs to be reinstalled before you can access it again.
Archiving isn't a perfect app-storage solution, since it's only available for apps downloaded from App World and many BlackBerry users still choose to procure software elsewhere. The process of reinstalling archived apps isn't exactly speedy, either. But the option to archive App World apps is certainly a step in the right direction. Here's to hoping RIM takes it a step further and allows archiving of all BlackBerry apps. Who knows, perhaps the BlackBerry-maker will even let us store active apps on a memory card someday.(GASP)
Until then, archiving will have to do. Here's a quick walkthrough of how to archive an App World application and then reinstall it at a later time, along with advice on organising archived apps (Note: BlackBerry App World can be downloaded from BlackBerry.com).
How to archive BlackBerry App World apps
To archive a mobile application downloaded from RIM's BlackBerry App World, simply open up App World, sign in to your account and navigate to the "My World" section, where all apps acquired via the storefront should be listed. Remember, you'll need a microSD memory card to archive App World apps.
Next, scroll over the app you wish to archive and click the BlackBerry Menu key, located directly to the left of your trackball/trackpad. From the popup menu, choose the "Archive" option, then wait for App World to do its thing. The process may take a few minutes, depending on the app's size, but your software should now be archived to your device's memory card. Just restart your BlackBerry, if prompted, and you're good.
Once an App World app is archived, its icon appears on your BlackBerry with a green, leftward-facing arrow across its base and the word "(Archived)" within its title.
If you install and archive lots of BlackBerry applications, it's a good idea to create a specific "Archived Apps" folder to reduce clutter on your device's application screens or additional app folders. After moving all archived apps into a dedicated folder, you'll be able to quickly locate and install such apps whenever you may need them in the future.
Reinstalling archived BlackBerry App World software
After archiving all the App World software you want to hang onto, but don't necessary need installed at any given time, you can access and reinstall any of the apps by simply clicking on an archived icon. You don't need to open up App World to reinstall archived apps, but you do need a wireless connection.
Be patient after clicking to reinstall an app, as the process isn't exactly rapid. It could also take a few minutes for a reinstalled application to show up on your device, and you may have to reboot to access it again.
After a formerly archived app reappears on your device, you can always "re-archive" it when you're done with the software to free up app memory by repeating the process listed above.