Research In Motion's BlackBerry App World launched in April 2009 with several hundred applications available. App World hasn't grown as quickly as the iPhone's App Store or Google's Android Market, but it has increased its offering to BlackBerry users slowly over time.
This week, Research In Motion noted that the number of applications available has breached the 10,000 figure for the first time. That's a much-needed milestone for RIM, which has struggled to entice developers to create applications for its BlackBerry OS.
BlackBerry App World 2.0 (and BlackBerry 6) are supposed to help RIM sell a better story to developers.
RIM announced BlackBerry App World 2.0 earlier this year. The new version of the Web store -- which was pushed out to all end users several weeks ago -- brings a number of welcome changes, such as carrier billing, better searching, and better management tools for end users.
Developers will be happy to learn that they can now more easily charge U.S. users for their applications in BlackBerry App World 2.0. RIM is moving forward with paid apps in the U.S., though only in baby steps. Developers can sell apps for either $0.99 or $1.99. Developers will be able to charge more for apps at a later date.
At launch, App World only supported PayPal as a payment mechanism. Now, users can purchase applications through their credit card (Visa and MasterCard) or wireless network operator (if supported).
RIM notes that the new version of BlackBerry App World is easier to navigate. It has added new tabs that let users more quickly jump through application lists. Users can also swipe sideways across the screen to look through "Top 25" lists of apps.
App World 2.0 also includes the BlackBerry ID function. BlackBerry ID sets a user-specific identification for App World purchases. This is necessary for credit card payments, but also allows users to move applications (both free and paid) from one BlackBerry to another.
The addition of carrier billing and credit card support alone should provide some enticement to BlackBerry developers, as it is now easier to earn money from their applications.
By way of comparison, the iPhone App Store has over 250,000 applications, and the Android Market is nearing 80,000. Numbers aren't everything, of course, and quality has to play a role somewhere. But with 25 times more apps in the iPhone Apps Store than BlackBerry App World, it's hard to convince BlackBerry owners that they highest quality apps and services are being offered to them.
Here's to hoping that App World hits 20,000 much sooner than it hit 10,000.