RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

Summary: Research in Motion launched its BlackBerry application store---dubbed App World---and the pricing model will immediately draw comparison's to Apple's App Store set-up. That comparison, however, only goes so far.


Research in Motion launched its BlackBerry application store---dubbed App World---and the pricing model will immediately draw comparison's to Apple's App Store set-up. That comparison, however, only goes so far. 

For starters, RIM's App World pricing model has raised a bit of a ruckus since it veers a bit from Apple's scheme (Techmeme). But a business audience isn't going to sweat a $2.99 application compared to a 99 cent minimum priced app. And RIM's audience is likely to even pay higher prices if the App World can actually deliver software with a real business use. And there are so many tiers to the App World model---including one labeled "free"---that RIM could have said "charge what you want."

But the biggest takeaway from the App World pricing model is that higher prices and multiple tiers mean more money for developers (see FAQ). RIM needs more developers on its bandwagon since the iPhone is the shiny object in the mobile world. Simply put, money talks and RIM plans to use it. Matthew Miller notes that RIM's pricing model shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Sure RIM does offer free apps, but developers aren't likely to offer them. Given developers pay an upfront fee why would you pay RIM to distribute a free app? RIM's message with App World appears to be: Frivolous and fun apps need not apply. 

Will RIM's App World work?

My hunch is that RIM's App World will do well, but isn't going to a success as measured by Apple's store. RIM's store is likely to be more BlackBerry-ish---the applications will be more business focused, tool oriented and won't feature hot games. 

RIM also has an app management issue on its hands. Apple's App Store has to support just the iPhone and iPod touch. RIM's applications will work on these models:

  • BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphone
  • BlackBerry Storm smartphone
  • BlackBerry Pearl Flip Series
  • BlackBerry Curve  8300 Series
  • Black Berry Curve 8900 smartphone
  • BlackBerry 8800 Series
  • BlackBerry Pearl Series

The experience on all of those models will vary. For instance, a game on the Storm will be different than the Bold and Curve. How will RIM navigate that conundrum? As a developer those models mean more complications. 

Other takeaways from the RIM App World effort:

  • A PayPal account is required with App World for customers and developers;
  • Developers from around the world can contribute except for those from Belarus, Myanmar/Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
  • To submit an application there's a $200 fee, which will be refunded if the software is rejected.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry

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  • Unless I'm missing something...

    ...the minimum price is actually 'free'.

    As for the lack of a $0.99 price point that's not a bad thing as most of the equivalent apps that iPhone/iPod Touch customers pay this fee for are free under S60 and WinMo. There's no reason to assume RIM's store will be any different.
    Sleeper Service
  • RE: RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

    When is this going to be avaliable??
    • Tracking this down

      Best we have so far is "coming soon" unless I missed it somewhere
      Larry Dignan
  • RE: RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

    If I could get a few good apps, I mean really good ones, I would be happy to pay for them. Why not, if it means more productivity for my business.
  • RE: RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

    The real problem with the RIM Store, is that something like
    80% of the Blackberry handsets out there are locked down by
    the IT departments that issue them. Another issue is users,
    people buy iPhone/Android devices to surf, install
    applications, etc. The average BB user leverages email and
    voice, and possible SMS. I predict low adoption.

    • Or maybe BlackBerry will end up ...

      ... going mainstream! Its business focus has been its strength but an app store could allow it to branch out into more consumer-oriented services.

      Sure, my employer got me hooked but I hooked my wife, who is a consumer, not an employee. And, if I switched employers tomorrow, I would keep my BlackBerry service.
      M Wagner
  • Failure... Doom... Big Fat Flop

    How original... Gee, one would think a company like RIM could do more than copy Apple...

    Oh hey everyone.. Let's copy Apple... It worked for Microsoft...

    Er.. yeah.. Different time.. Different era... That has all changed with updated copy write laws and increased understanding of intellectual property regarding technology.

    Also... The iPhone has proven itself better than the crack berries as a business smart phone... RIM is S.O.L. A year late and 10 years behind.

    Seriously.... Who would bother coding for crackberry when coding for the iPhone is so easy an 8 year old kid COULD and HAS done it. Not to mention you can make millions, and iPhone users are far more likely to download and install apps.

    Apple made it incredibly easy to install apps on the iPhone... Will RIM do the same??? Yeah... Didn't think so. 2.99 for an app??? How bout 199.00 for an iPhone and all the enjoyment that goes along with it.

    All your bases belong to Apple...
    • Apple Need Not Apply

      Look, I like the iPhone but why do iPhone users always feel the need to put down others? Why are you so paranoid? You sound like Richard Nixon during Watergate.

      Lets face it, competition is a good thing. It will only make Apple and all the others better. And how about i8thecat's dumbass statement, "oh hey everyone..Let's copy Apple.." Dude, get a grip on things. You act like Apple invented the touch screen. Not! Or the apps store is so unique. Not (Remember Palm?)! Guess what Apple did? They COPIED others and made it better (or so he thinks). Apple does not invent anything. Just like the iPod. They copy it and try to make it better, which is a matter of opinion not necessarily fact. Even their Mac operating system is an Unix knock-off.

      Can you name one thing that Apple actually invented? One thing...come on lets hear it.
    • Followers can be come leaders ...

      ... very quickly. Some comments.

      1) Actually, Microsoft did NOT copy Apple. The "windows" paradigm was invented at Xerox PARC (along with the mouse and Ethernet) and Microsoft, Apple, and MIT all copied the original Xerox "windows" paradigm.

      2) The iPhone is still behind regarding PUSH processing. Users have to check to see if they have e-mail. The BlackBerry has always received e-mail without user intervention. Some third-party tools may have solved this problem but it is not an Apple solution.

      3) I download apps for my BlackBerry all the time (and have done so since 2004.)

      4) Most BlackBerry apps today install OTA. In most cases, synchronizing to a PC is simply unnecessary. The same is happening on newer models for OS upgrades.

      5) I don't think RIM will sell many $29+ apps but a lot of stuff out their is free and most of the rest is $7 to $10.

      6) Why would I spend $199 for an iPhone 3G when I can get a BlackBerry Storm for $199 and get a SECOND Storm FREE with a two-year contract? Other BlackBerry Models sell for as little as $0.00 with a two-year contract? Besides, the AT&T 3G network is still in many fewer markets than the VerizonWireless 3G network.
      M Wagner
  • RE: RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

    RIM (retards in motion) did not even know what an app was 6
    months ago. Of course it will fail. I am guessing that these
    empty suits exchange places with the empty suits at
    Microsoft, and nobody notices.
    Paypal is for losers.
  • "If the shoe fits!"

    Well, the model is successful, but as per past products, the
    implementation of it will destroy the advantage.

    As stated earlier, most BB's are locked down by IT departments, so
    those that can afford the apps, won't be installing them. Probably only
    IT departments putting on "required" functionality, not users trying to
    "stretch" their purchase.

    You can see immediately from all the tiers, that BB are already running
    scared. A tenet, seemingly lost on 99% of management, is the KISS
    principle. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). So; apps work on all models, only
    one commission level, easy for developers to code, etc, etc.

    How many of the listed BBs are out there vs iPhones/touch iPods? I'd
    guess - a lot less. So the complexity (of tiers, pricing and
    development), RIM greed (or desperation), market size, lack of user
    control, and plain old functionality of the device all weigh up to "a big
    gasp for air".

    They may have broken new ground with push email to a portable, but
    those laurels are well into Autumn (Fall) now, so I'm afraid RIM, it's
    time to think of something NEW, COMPELLING, DESIRABLE,
    FUNCTIONAL, and either PRICED for the mass market or for a select
    • Lots of assumptions there!

      There have been lots of BlackBerry apps out their since at least 2004. Most free. Most of the rest are under $10. By marketing those, RIM will merely provide a central location for apps which already exist.

      I wonder if most BBs really are "locked down" by IT departments. Ours are not. Nor is the BlackBerry a business-only product. My wife (homemaker and mother) is hooked as well. Carriers provide robust e-mail service even without BlackBerry Enterprise Services.
      M Wagner
  • RE: RIM carves out its own App World: Will it work?

    It will work if RIM has the foresight to partner with and market the already significant pool of BlackBerry apps to insure that prices stay low (preferably free) and that developers get their fair share.
    M Wagner