Polishing a nerd
RIM got the memo that people want a nice lot of apps on their smartphones earlier this year when it grudgingly offered people the ‘tonnage of apps' they seem to need by making Android apps compatible with the BlackBerry PlayBook platform, which will also begin to appear in its smartphones next year.
"There's no compromise here. You've got the tonnage of apps. And you've got the performance," said co-CEO Jim Balsilie, at the time. "Do I think the tonnage is overplayed? Yes. But if you think it's about having a couple hundred thousand apps, there you go."
There's clearly some corporate resentment that BlackBerry is being stigmatised by having so many fewer apps available than competing platforms such as iOS and Android. And there's some validity to that argument; the vast majority of app use is represented by the top 100 apps, and the thousands of other ones are used by relatively few people. Nonetheless users are reassured weight of numbers.
Since it's unlikely BlackBerry is ever going to attract the number of third-party developers of the big two, it makes sense for RIM to concentrate on what it can control - the look and feel of the app store experience on its devices.
So we had the announcement of the third version of BlackBerry App World today, with the claim that it makes discovering and downloading apps, games, and themes easier than ever. It will be delivered over the air to users of BlackBerry 5.0 and above in the next few days. Here are the new features, according to RIM, and they include some novel ideas, such as social app sharing.
- Sleek New Design - The BlackBerry App World experience has been enhanced to help users discover the latest and greatest apps and content, starting right on the BlackBerry App World home screen where rotating spotlight banners show off all that's new and exciting.
- New Channels - Apps, Games, and Themes now have their own channels so users can get to what they want even faster.
- Introduction of My Account - My Account makes managing BBID and payment options easy with direct access to all account information from the home screen.
- New My World Features - My World gives users a streamlined view of their apps and status, and now at a glance, in addition to seeing which apps are installed and uninstalled, users can manage subscription content and services. When new updates or subscription renewals are available for apps, users will be notified using push technology.
- App Social Sharing - When a user finds an app they can't live without, they can share it directly from the app details screen through BBM, Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS.
- Evolved App Details Screen - At a glance, users can get a quick summary, check out reviews and star ratings, take a look at screen shots, and more.
- More Search Options - Quickly find apps with a Search Bar now appearing on the storefront home screen and search results are presented across Channels as well as My World. Search Bars are also within each Channel and users have the ability to filter by App Name, Price, Rating, Newest, Best Match, or Popular.