It really seems like apps sell devices these days. Whether or not it’s true from the retail side of things, it’s definitely true from a media perspective. Much of RIM’s chagrin is due to the perception that developers aren’t interested in the platform because a lot of the latest apps are choosing iPhone first in terms of what to develop for. RIM needs some bold moves to help make it big in the app economy and here are 5 things we’d like to see.
1. Give every new BlackBerry customer $10 for App World – We’ve experienced it countless times. You find someone with a BlackBerry and they go “oh, I didn’t know I could get apps on this.” One of the easy ways RIM could teach everyone about apps and get people hooked on App World, is to give every new customer a $10 gift certificate for App World. Once they spend $10 and get an understanding of the value, they’ll be hooked. Developers everywhere would benefit from this.
2. Send a clear message about apps – Another reason customers don’t know about apps on a BlackBerry is because RIM isn’t sending the message. The company seems more concerned with advertising form factor and BBM than promoting the people who make the platform great. The developers are the new sales people and RIM needs to help them push more units.
3. More developer tools – Any developer knows that RIM is still falling behind in its analytics for App World. Developers need more ways to view their apps and learn from their customers. Also, why hasn’t RIM developed a mobile analytics app for App World? Developers would love a way to keep tabs on their apps while on the go. The CSV reports that App World spits out are insufficient. Developers want rich information displayed visually and presented in a way that lets them learn from the customer and deliver a product that will make more users happy.
4. Move faster – The nature of a big company is that they move really slowly. RIM is going to need to pick up the pace with crucial features that will get more apps on the platform faster. The recent summer delays are coming at the worst possible time for RIM and it seems like the stock price couldn’t go any lower. And it’s not like the stock valuation is necessarily revenue based – it’s mostly perception. So push out more updates faster, and give developers more features to work with. Give us those Android apps you promised.
5. Improve app discovery – Why are we still working with bullshit categories? Apps need to be discovered in more ways than just categories. Even the categories themselves are ridiculously simple. For example, how come eBooks don’t even have Fiction versus Non-Fiction? Lets get some new ways to discover apps that even the other platforms don’t have. BBM is a good start, but lets look at things like Facebook and Twitter app discovery. Something innovative!
It doesn’t look like BlackBerry OS 7 is really going to do much for the consumer or RIM, but QNX could be a big shift. QNX seems to be pushing platform emulation and if they can pull it off, it would be huge for developers and consumers alike. In the meantime, there’s still lots that can be done.