Blackberry App World RocksBlackberry App World Rocks
The Blackberry's progression into a mobile platform which puts the iPhone to shame continues apace with RIM's new Blackberry App World. So now Blackberry has added the one ecosystem component it was lacking in its competition with Apple. And I have to tell you, App World rocks.
April 9, 2009
The Blackberry's progression into a mobile platform which puts the iPhone to shame continues apace with RIM's new Blackberry App World. So now Blackberry has added the one ecosystem component it was lacking in its competition with Apple. And I have to tell you, App World rocks.True, App World is not as glitzy (nor as intrusive) as Apple's iTune App Store. If Apple is the "hey, look at me, I'm cool" company -- and of course it is -- App World mirrors the RIM culture. Which means it's less about the company, and more about the customer. As in, it just works.
One sees this from the get-go in that (and this is its one deficiency) Blackberry App World is not in your face. If you don't go looking for App World, you're likely to continue to use your Blackberry while remaining blithely unaware of its existence. I never received any kind of notification from RIM or from my service provider, AT&T. Or maybe I did and I just didn't pay attention, because it looked like ad spam. That's probably why I'm a week late with this post. (The store launched April 1.) Anyway, so the other day I did a search on "Blackberry App World," which took me to www.BlackBerry.com/AppWorld . Once there, you click the "Download Blackberry App World" button. Then, the easiest thing to do is fill in your e-mail address in a box provided on that page, and RIM will send you a message with a link to download App World. Alternatively, you can go directly to blackberry.com/appworld/download on your phone's browser. But I think the whole point is that, prior to having App World, browsing on the Blackberry (at least on my BB Curve) was a painful experience. (It's gotta be painful if I'm doing mobile gyrations to avoid the direct download.) After loading up App World -- easily accomplished by just clicking on the e-mailed link, and getting past a few pointless dialogues (yes, I do want to allow my device to access the http server) -- it's another story. The Bloomberg app, for example, completely made me forget I was browsing the Web on a Blackberry. Bloomberg, which presents all the stock market indices as well as a bunch of the latest business stories, is presented in a funky user-interface skin which wouldn't look out of place on the iPhone. Plus, it's wicked fast -- so fast (to mention it yet again) I forgot I was essentially browsing the Web on an EDGE Blackberry. Hey, maybe I can get my company to spring for a 3G-based Blackberry Bold (hint, hint). Then I could really mobile-surf at super speeds. The other quick app I played with is the Weather Channel widget. It doesn't really do much expect put up an icon on your home screen which updates every 15 minutes with the latest temperature and conditions. Right now, it's 37 degrees with a few clouds. (That's actually what it says -- "A few clouds.") So now I've got another excuse to stare at my screen in meetings. In terms of my overall assessment, it's abundantly clear to me just how smooth and cleanly designed App World is. I'll admit that browsing through all the available apps isn't as easy as on the iPhone, which is why I've only tried out a few so far, but that's largely a function of my Blackberry Curve's small screen. (Which is why I want the Bold. Hint, hint.) Once again, though, Blackberry's lack of calling attention to itself is putting it, at least publicly, in the shadow of Apple. Take Business Week, which characterized users' response to App World as "muted applause." Writes Business Week: "Modeled on the iPhone App Store, it aims to distribute lots of cool new BlackBerry programs. While App World will get RIM partway to its goal, it shows once again that imitating Apple is harder than it looks." I actually don't think RIM has imitated Apple, I think it's surpassed its iPhone competitor. To once again make the glitz versus down-to-business comparison, with App World I didn't spend much time mobile window shopping and pouring through my billion and one options. I did, however, download a couple of apps within five minutes and start using them. BTW, Business Week's other criticism, which is that App World uses PayPal to collect the money for its non-free apps, rather than build out a proprietary payments system, doesn't resonate with me. I'm fine with PayPal; why would I want to have to open yet another account just for this store?
What's your take? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at [email protected]. Like this blog? Subscribe to its RSS feed: (here)
For a microblogging experience, follow my daily observations on Twitter: (@awolfe58)
My videos on ( YouTube)
Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like