BlackBerry to Push Ahead with Preloaded App World and Quality vs Quantity


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.

  • Eric at Ebscer

    AppWorld pre-installed on all devices? About time…

  • StreetMeatSteve

    AppWorld pre-installed on devices is a no brainer.

    My beef with the AppWorld is the prices. The fact that the minimum price is $2.99 and RIM charges $200 for developers to submit their app is ridiculous. Now they're taking an extra 10% from developers?

    I mean really, do they want apps in the system or not? Everything about their pricing structure deters developers from making apps and distributing it using the AppWorld.

    Until the average price of apps drops from well over 2x that of the Apple's/Google's stores, then BB apps will never compete.

  • Duncan Leung

    Interesting; I didn't know that the pricing scheme was set up as such.

  • Kevin Stagg

    This will all be moot once we get Flash Player installed on Blackberry Devices (once those devices are determined that are considered compatible). Development on the flash platform will enable developers to deploy to multiple platforms at once, so the needs to specifically target the Blackberry OS per se won't really need to be addressed.

  • Kevin Stagg

    By the way - I'd be just a tad freaking disappointed if they don't show SOME kind of beta of a flash app on a blackberry device tomorrow. I mean, surely they have SOMETHING in development by know with RIM, right?

  • Donny

    Hmm interesting. While a agree the $200 fee for developers is far from amicable … I think its not entirely mad. A developer wishing to submit a frivolous apps like a flashlite or fart app will reconsider their leasure time doing so. Those with a real mission creating a useful app that benefits many end users will be willing to put up $200 to certify and submitt their app.

    Either way unless you provide examples of quality and compelling apps on iPhone that are also available for BlackBerry then you're comparing Apple's to Oranges … mind the horrible pun.

    Can you or anyone else name a seriously useful and quality app on iPhone under $2.99 (not on a sale) that is also available on BLackBerry?!

  • GSS America

    I heard that more exited jobs is there in GSS America Address. This is useful for all.

  • Kyle McInnes

    Isn't it? It's interesting that RIM is “soft-announcing” the app world preload. I wonder why?

  • Kyle McInnes

    I really don't like the way BlackBerry brands Super Apps. It's true that BB apps provide more functionality than the iPhone, but I don't think Super Apps is necessarily unique when you compare to Android. I think the Super Apps name is a way of fighting Apple's app numbers, but it ignores the real competitor: Google.

  • Eric at Ebscer

    From a developer perspective, by far the most important AppWorld announcement over in app payments or carrier billing.

    According to RIM 41M blackberry users and 20M AppWorld users. Means that more than half of all BlackBerrys still do not AppWorld installed on them.

  • Donny

    An interesting view point. Right now I see Android as a horrible mashup of abilities not too unlike what S60 was/has been doing for just over a decade. Symbian^3 is cleaner but still a mashup; components breaking too frequently and their interaction into the core system still seems pitcy-patchy - to use an old slang.

    Another interesting bit of news kit is on Tuesday Microsoft gets royalties on ALL HTC Android devices sold due to patents used … VERY interesting considering Google's Android OS is supposed to be OPEN-Collaborative Software effort. Guess it was all just a marketing lie. Don't believe me … search on Thompson Reuters.