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9/30/2010
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Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Striving For A Higher Quality Application Store

Apple is the undisputed king of apps in its online store for the iPhone with the App Store, at least when it comes to the number of apps for sale. RIM isn't interested in competing at that level. Will shooting for a higher quality selection make an online market more popular than one with a bewildering selection?

Apple is the undisputed king of apps in its online store for the iPhone with the App Store, at least when it comes to the number of apps for sale. RIM isn't interested in competing at that level. Will shooting for a higher quality selection make an online market more popular than one with a bewildering selection?RIM was recently commenting that it had 10,000 apps in its App World, a number that is really a rounding error when compared to the 250,000 plus apps in Apple's App Store. Google's much younger Android Marketplace is nearing 100,000 applications, which still dwarfs RIM's offerings.

Alan Panezic, the VP of Platform Development laid out his vision of App World. "For us, apps are all about adding real value to the end-user's life and creating revenue for developers. We don't need 200 fart apps in App World. Those are apps you'll use three or four times then never open again. You're not looking at ads, clicking on ads or buying premium upgrades, and the app isn't adding any value to your device."

While that may be the case, it is hard to get away from the number count as a measure of an online store's success. For some, just getting an app listed in the App Store gives you extra geek credits with friends and co-workers. The quickest way to do that is to copy another idea rather than spend a ton of time creating and designing something new. Pay Apple the $99 fee and voilà, you have another fart app in the App Store.

RIM can encourage developers to write higher quality apps, and many will, but unless it gets in the business of evaluating the worth of an app, it will have its share of apps that fail to meet Mr. Panezic's standards.

And I have to wonder, if RIM had a quarter of a million apps in its App World while the App Store had only 10,000, would they really care how many fart apps they had?

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