On April 1st, Research In Motion (RIM), threw the doors open on its much anticipated AppWorld. This storefront is their response to the hugely popular iPhone App Store that provides access to over 25,000 applications for iPhone users to choose from. While not nearly as robust (according to MediaPost there were only 500 apps available upon launch out of a promised 1000) it’s a start for BlackBerry users. Honestly, who has the time to sift through 25,000 apps anyway?
Mobile advertising spend is heating up and poised for serious growth in the near future so BlackBerry’s move in this direction is a good one. Other companies aiming to follow Apple’s lead by launching their own app stores include Microsoft, Palm, Nokia and Google.
While one wonders just how many iPhone converts there would be in the world if the AT&T issue was out of the picture, the BlackBerry is still the corporate smart phone of choice. They had better make sure their offering is as attractive as possible for as long as possible as the prospect of the iPhone being more widely available sits at the end of the initial 5 year AT&T agreement.
BlackBerry’s AppWorld is doing its best to make the experience a good one
n addition to offering user ratings, screenshots and app descriptions, App World also lets BlackBerry owners make recommendations via email and other messaging options. A section called My World also lets users keep track of apps they have downloaded and to uninstall any they no longer want.
Downloading applications from App World requires a PayPal account, and users can access the store via cellular and WiFi networks.
One big difference between the BB’s AppWorld and Apple’s App Store is price. There is a $2.99 minimum price on the BB apps and just 99 cents at Apple. That combined with the limited number of apps currently offered by AppWorld constitutes the biggest differences in the offerings.
There are many more apps in the market for the BlackBerry that are not part of the store. The expectation is that most of these will migrate to the store over time since the distribution power will be significant as BB users catch on.
Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis , says that AppWorld rates favorably when compared with the App Store.
“Both are well-organized and offer reviews and app purchases over the air,” he said, while noting that it was still “premature” to do a side-by-side comparison.
It should be interesting to see how the more traditional business user responds to this concept and just what business apps start to become available. Expect some of these apps to be much pricier as well. The BizTrackit app from Shrunken Head Software for professionals with billable clients, for instance, costs $39.99 via App World.
As always we want your feedback. Have you been there? Do you care? Do you dare say that you have a Blackberry rather than the “cool” iPhone at all? Comment at your own risk. For total disclosure, I am a BlackBerry Storm user. Pretty happy with it but now interested to see what else I might be able to do with it in the future.