I got a chance to speak with RIM’s Director of Developer Relations, Mike Kirkup, about BlackBerry App World. The BlackBerry global app store has undergone some big changes since it’s launch in the fall of 2008, with lots of exciting things happening in the near future.
In that time, RIM has noticed some developer issues when bringing mobile apps from other platforms over to BlackBerry and App World. Many developers, in an effort to rush to market have discovered just how fickle the platform can be. Many problems arise from the large amount of device and OS combinations, resulting in a laundry list of bugs. Other apps are not optimized for the BlackBerry, or simply don’t apply some of the advantages the BlackBerry platform offers such push data services.
This minor epidemic of well-intentioned but badly executed apps has caused the App World experience for some developers to be a bit sour, especially when users give apps a bad rating for not performing as intended. Bouncing back from a bad rating in App World is quite difficult, as bad ratings curb downloads and users are less likely to give a badly rated app a good rating further exacerbating the problem, even after the bugs have been fixed.
Enter Super Apps – RIM’s effort to educate and encourage developers to boost the quality and usability of BlackBerry applications. Mike said, “all focus is towards developing a vibrant developer ecosystem.” He goes on to say that he would much rather quality applications in App World rather than a large quantity of available apps.
In the near future, RIM will launch App World 2.0 and introduce both carrier billing, and credit card billing. Two undisclosed carriers have already signed up and are currently testing the new billing system.
Both of RIMs newly launched devices, the 91XX Pearl and the 9650 Bold are the first devices to come pre-installed with BlackBerry App World. With every new device released running App World, it won’t be long until the install rates climb. Currently, 20 million of the approximately 41 million BlackBerry devices in service have App World. There are also over 1 million application installs daily.
With all these factors coming together it won’t be long until the dream of building a vibrant developer ecosystem becomes a reality. I find it interesting how feedback from badly coded apps in App World have led to a whole program geared toward driving app quality up.
With Mike Lazaridis setting a goal of 100 million smartphones, 100% install rates on new devices, carrier billing and a developer culture embracing quality, we are certainly looking at a killer App… World.