BlackBerry developers get subscription tools

Developers working on BlackBerry apps can now integrate subscription services and in-app subscriptions using the new payments software development kit

BlackBerry has updated its Payment Service software development kit to allow developers to create apps that use subscription payment services.

The new tools — BlackBerry Payment Service SDK 1.5 — will allow developers to create apps that use auto-renewing subscriptions either for the apps themselves or for in-app content, such as newspapers or magazines.

"With the introduction of BlackBerry Payment Service SDK 1.5, developers now have access to a new business model for their application and can easily move to a 'freemium' model if they choose," the company said in a blog post on Monday. "Premium features or content can now easily be offered on a subscription basis. This has benefits for both the customer and the developer."

Developers can offer subscriptions with either seven-day or 30-day renewal periods, and can offer free or reduced-price trial offers to entice new users. All financial transactions are handled by BlackBerry App World.

The updated SDK builds on the first payment kit released in January, meaning that developers will not need to relearn a new API, RIM added.

The SDK also provides APIs for checking a subscription's status or cancelling it, as well as managing subscriptions and sending out reminders and receipts to users. However, users wishing to use subscription-enabled apps will need to have BlackBerry App World 3.0 installed.

RIM began rolling out the BlackBerry App World 3.0 update on 7 September. Notable additions include a revamped home screen and icons, channels to make it easier to find apps, and a feature that allows users to share their apps with friends via email, BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook.

The update also introduced a new feature called MyWorld, which manages subscription content and services, and keeps users informed about the apps they have installed or uninstalled.

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