Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blackberry App Store Launches

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...

Image via CrunchBase

I woke on this fine April Fools Day to discover an e-mail in my Inbox from RIM announcing the availability of App World for Blackberry devices.  Certainly not a bad way to start the morning, and not a few minutes later I was up and running.

I was a bit worried about what I would see.  Recently most of the cool application announcements for the Blackberry have excluded the Storm.  What apps would be left in the store for me to download, and maybe purchase?

Overall, I think that my review of App World is pretty positive.  A few things to make note of.  It provides all of the features I would have looked for in the store, and it has a lot more applications on day one than I would have thought.

  1. The App Center software itself makes good use of the touch screen on the Storm.  It fills up the large screen nicely and the navigation by touch is quite nice.
  2. The App Center gives you the option to review what you have installed and remove unwanted applications from the store itself, much better than digging through the BB options menus.
  3. The Storm was a little slow to load the images of the apps into the store.  That could be related to the relatively weak 3G signal I have at home.
  4. There are a fairly large number of applications, each divided up by category.  Most of the applications cost between $2.99 and $4.99 in my quick looks around.
  5. The store does offer free trials on some applications, as well as screenshots and reviews.
  6. I wish there was a section for themes, and I wish that the store had a way of denoting if an application was designed for a particular model of BB.

I downloaded the Slacker Radio and I Heart Radio applications.  Both seem well designed for the Storm.  I also downloaded a tip calculator application as a free trial.  It was text based, and appeared to be designed for a non-Storm BB.  In general I will be looking at the UI and the use of the Storms screen before I buy any applications from the store.

I am glad that App World is available now.  I really wish though that Pandora and Sling would reconsider making their applications WiFi only.  I would buy both of those in a heart beat, but can’t.  I assume this is a decision that is being made due to pressure from the carriers.  I know Sling works over 3G because I use it when I am tethered on my EEE PC.  I would much prefer Verizon to just tack another 5.00 on my bill each month for “special” application bandwidth use.  Hopefully, this will change as time goes on.

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