CTIA 09: Hands-on walk through BlackBerry App World, 30% of apps are free

Summary:We knew the BlackBerry App World launch was coming soon and rumors had it for 1 April. While in a conversation with fellow writers at the Showstoppers event an email appeared on my phone that the BlackBerry App World was available and ready for installation. I pulled out the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 and quickly installed the new application suite to give it a run through. Check out several screenshots in my image gallery and the video below, as well as my more in depth thoughts on this new application store.

We knew the BlackBerry App World launch was coming soon and rumors had it for 1 April. While in a conversation with fellow writers at the Showstoppers event an email appeared on my phone that the BlackBerry App World was available and ready for installation. I pulled out the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 and quickly installed the new application suite to give it a run through. Check out several screenshots in my image gallery and the video below, as well as my more in depth thoughts on this new application store.


Image Gallery:A walk through the RIM BlackBerry App World on device software store.
Image Gallery: BB App World icon
Image Gallery: Most expensive BB app

Apple was the first to come out with a full software store on a mobile device and the Android Market followed when the T-Mobile G1 was launched. The old timers, RIM and Microsoft, are finally getting into the game and today RIM made their BlackBerry App World available for those in the US, Canada, and the UK. Be aware that you will need a PayPal account to purchase applications in the App World as that is the only payment method available.

You can visit the BlackBerry App World store and download it to a PC and then to your BlackBerry or just point your BlackBerry browser to www.blackberry.com/appworld/download and follow the instructions. I installed the 526.5kb file through the BlackBerry browser.

Some minimum requirements include: 1. BlackBerry® Device Software version 4.2 or higher 2. BlackBerry smartphones with trackballs or SurePress™ touch screen 3. BlackBerry App World is only available to customers in US, Canada and UK and may not be available on all networks

I went through the BlackBerry App World store on the Curve 8900 and found there were 381 total apps at launch with 113 of them being available for free (30%). There were only 2 games out of 126 that were free. If an application wasn't free, then the minimum price is US$2.99. The most expensive application was the US$199.99 PEPID Emergency Physician Suite. There are plenty available at all prices throughout the App World store.

Some applications have trials available so you can download, install, and try them for a limited amount of time or uses. BTW, tax was charged for me for each application and I am not sure if that varies by location or if it is global.

When you first launch BlackBerry App World you are presented with large icons for several featured applications (15 at the moment). You can quickly scroll through these with your trackball and see the name, icon, description, price and rating. Below this along the bottom of the display are icons for Categories, Top Downloads, Search, and My World.

Selecting Categories lets you view the applications by categories and subcategories. There is no way currently available to view or filter by price, date, or rating and the currently listed order seems quite random.

The purchase process was quite easy and you simply need to login to your PayPal account, view the purchase details and then select to Buy. You can select to Cancel after your initial Purchase selection if you see the total with tax and change your mind. The My World page shows you the applications that you purchased and installed.

I think this is a good start for RIM, but the store does need some work to make it a bit more functional. I think it should also be made clear how people handle all the apps they previously purchased and installed elsewhere.

Topics: BlackBerry, Apps, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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