Following in the footsteps of Apple and Google, Research in Motion is planning to open an online store for its popular Blackberry smartphone. The store, dubbed Blackberry App World, aims to be a “convenient location for BlackBerry owners to download ‘games, social networks, personal productivity applications and so much more.'” App World will feature freeware apps along with for-pay apps. The pricing for applications will start at free then jump to $2.99 at the low end and $999.99 on the high end. At the moment Blackberry App World is only open to developers, but there is a sign up page for users who want to be notified of when App World goes live for the public.
A centralized repository for Blackberry applications is a good idea. There are a plethora of applications and themes for Blackberries, but they are scattered about the Web on, sometimes confusing, websites. The problem is compounded when the software is installed via the Blackberry Desktop Software rather then being downloaded directly onto the phone. Sometimes, it’s just nice to download software to play with. If the easy to navigate and the software is easy to install while using the phone, the store will be a big step up.
While the store is a good idea, it’s not above criticism. Some people are criticizing the $2.99 minimum price as being too high, citing the $0.99 minimum at the iPhone store. Along with the $2.99 minimum, RIM is charging a $200 administration fee for every 10 application submissions. While people aren’t happy about the decision, it could work to keep the clutter down, and it has been suggested that Apple should implement a similar policy to cut down on the chaff in the App Store.
Platform fragmentation is another concern. App World will only stock software designed for Blackberries with OS 4.2 and a trackball, but the current Blackberry line is a hodge-podge of phones with varying equipment levels. The Bold has WiFi, GPS, 3G radio, and QWERTY keyboard. The Storm has GPS, 3G radio, and a touchscreen, and the Curve and Pearl are older pre-3G models with their own hardware specs. Developers are worried about having to support all of the devices or being locked to one device.
Once RIM opens Blackberry App World, only Nokia’s, Microsoft’s, and Palm’s store will be left waiting in the wings.
How long has this been possible? How many years has RIM and all the phone manufacturers and the carriers had a head start on Apple and yet–and yet they *only now* decide that an easy to use app portal is a good idea.
This is called competition and I hope RIM and the carriers choke on their damn app stores for holding us all back for so many years.
> While people aren’t happy about the decision, it could work to keep the
> clutter down
The ‘clutter’ includes many useful applications, and a $0.99 pricing both encourages users to use them and developers to write them. Examples include the ruler, the flashlight, and the periodic table. As a user, paying more than $1 for these applications seems overpriced, and I would start wondering how much I need them instead of just buying them. Developers may start producing such applications for free (as many do now), but then a lot more developers would be encouraged by the fact that (1000 users x $1 x 70% of the payment goes to the developer) = $700 for an application that takes 1 hour to write.
Simply put, disallowing prices between $0 and $3 just hurts applications that are worth exactly that amount.
Maybe I’m being silly but who in their right mind is going to pay $999 for an app that costs a darned sight more than the device itself and one that can so easily get lost or stolen.
I just wonder many PC apps out there charger $999 for their clients. Not many methinks.
Nice try RIM but it sure ain’t going to beat the iPhone store. $0.99 is a good starting point. At this level you can try something out and not feel to pissed off if it is not really what you want. at $3.00+ this is not so easy to write off.