Wow, is this big news. And entirely unexpected. While the BlackBerry Nation has been clamoring for an all-in-one BlackBerry app store for a long time, few thought RIM would ever take the plunge and do it. This is big time: way to go Kevin!
According to our boy at CrackBerry, the BlackBerry Application Center will launch with the BlackBerry Storm’s OS 4.7. It will allow BlackBerry users find, browse and install/upgrade 3rd party BlackBerry apps hosted by carriers. The Application Center will display an up to date list of applications availalbe for download, along with description and marketing information about each application. Functionally, the App Center will consist of the device side client and a a server backend hosted by RIM that the application will interact with to retrieve up to date application list of applications hosted by the carriers.
Obviously, this is significantly different that Apple’s iTunes app store, in that it is designed to make it easier for carriers to display and sell their applications to users, rather than cut them out of the picture. I wonder if we’ll see a lightsaber application for the BlackBerry Bold… Kevin is hinting that RIM will make a major announcement about the BlackBerry Application Center during the BlackBerry Developer Conference (sweet!), so stay tuned for more info. Wow, BBDC has quickly turned into the must-go event of the year!
BlackBerry Application Center Features
* The Application Center will be available on 4.7 Storm devices and will be designed for the Storm touch screen UI.
* Carriers will be responsible for hosting the application data and sending updates to the directory to RIM.
* The main application screen will provide the user with a list of all applications that are available for install from the particular carrier for the specific device model and OS version. Incompatible applications will not be displayed.
* The main screen will provide the user the ability to quickly browse the application list, then view the available information about each application in a detailed description screen which shows the logo and full description. Installation will occur with one click (launches the web browser).
* The user will be able to access the Options > Applications screen from within the App Center (allowing the user to delete applications directly from within the App Center).
* The user will be provided with various status info: date the app list was most recently updated; notification that updates are available; option to reapplication list was completed, etc.
* Since the download and installation will be handled by the browser in this first release, the Application Center will not be capable of restarting the application / download intelligently.
* The Application Center will automatically check for updates daily.