blackberry app world: a great approach

December 8, 2010

Essentially every major mobile device vendor is trying their hardest to get into the app game, to reach the heights of Apple’s iOS platform. iOS represents, whether or not you’re a fan of the actual product, the pinnacle of mobile application distribution. It created a whole new paradigm in the industry, and just about every other company is still scrambling to catch up. Google’s Android is getting there, with many developers warming to the platform, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is a great step up for Windows Phone itself, but it still has a ways to go to draw in developers, and WebOS still lags behind.

Blackberry, with the announcement of it’s Playbook tablet, seems to have finally ‘gotten it’. They seem to have finally grasped the importance of drawing in a strong bunch of developers and applications, and they’re doing some great things to make that happen:

  • Waiving Registration Fees: Registering for Blackberry App World originally cost $200: double that of Apple and eight times that of Google. This was a wildly counterproductive move by the company, why would developers be interested in even testing a platform with a far smaller user base and a much less fluid implementation when the cost of registration is so much higher than competing platforms? Recently, this fee has be waived by the company – and this will encourage huge numbers of indie developers to the platform, who otherwise wouldn’t have been interested.
  • Free Playbooks: RIM has recently announced it will be giving away free Playbook Tablets to developers who submit applications before its release. This is a very smart move by the company, it again provides the necessary incentive to attract the all-important indie developer base to the platform, and increases the likelihood of said developers distributing the application for free – a great result for consumers.

Other vendors should take a look at the approach of RIM in building up it’s Blackberry App World developer base, I have no doubt it will result in a massive increase in the uptake of the platform by developers and consequently, by consumers.


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