RIM's growing app collection bolsters my opinion of BlackBerry

Summary:Research in Motion is quietly growing its app collection and altering my love-hate relationship with the BlackBerry Storm more in the company's favor.

Updated: Research in Motion is quietly growing its app collection and altering my love-hate relationship with the BlackBerry Storm more in the company's favor.

With my contract running out on Verizon, I've been actively pondering the alternatives to the BlackBerry Storm. First, Motorola's Droid was in the running. Then I was going to hold out for the Nexus One. But then there's a supported tethering conundrum that is worked out for the most part. The Palm Pre Plus is also an option for its hot-spot technology. Pick the latest greatest device and I can find a flaw that makes me think twice about it based on how I use that smartphone

Simply put, the move to ditch the Storm for something better seemed be a foregone conclusion. Then a funny thing happened:

  • The stream of the latest greatest devices has picked up to the point where it's freezing my buying plans. If the smartphones are cool now just wait until December.
  • BlackBerry has added apps that actually matter to me and make me more inclined to stick around.

The first of these apps was the Sirius app. OK, there's no Howard Stern, which for my listening purposes makes it 50 percent useful, but it is handy on the go.

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Then there's the Amazon Kindle App, which became available Thursday. Here's my 60 second review: It works well, picked up my Kindle library and the spots I left off in my various books. For me that's good news since I don't own an e-reader anymore (like smartphones it's probably in my best interest to wait).

Toss in other apps from Ameritrade and the Twitter beta, which also works well, and the BlackBerry Storm is suddenly tolerable. Simply put, I don't need a million apps on the phone---I just need the ones that matter to me.

My perception tweak had me searching around App World, RIM's App Store clone, and I couldn't help but notice that the selection is growing. It's unclear whether the BlackBerry app collection amounts to any gaudy number, but it's certainly more formidable than before.

Update: A RIM spokesperson says there are more than 5,000 applications in BlackBerry App World. RIM also allows other sites and stores to sell BlackBerry apps, so it’s hard to get an accurate number of the total apps available for the platform.

For those keeping score at home Apple's App Store has 140,000 apps. AndroLib estimates that Android has nearly 30,000 apps available.

Is the Storm the perfect device? Nope. But the app collection coupled with operating system improvements have at least made me slow my plans to jump ship.

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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