RIM Opens Beta of App World 2 with Credit for Mobile Download Buys
Research in Motion and AT&T have a big event planned for Aug. 3 in New York City, where the smartphone maker is expected to introduce its new BlackBerry Bold 9800 and BlackBerry OS 6.0. Now it looks like a re-launch of the BlackBerry app store, called App World, is also in the works.
RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) has begun opening access to a beta version of BlackBerry App World 2.0 to developers on a waiting list. RIM first launched the service in April 2009, but it was criticized for limitations on finding mobile apps and for payment options.
With today's announcement, RIM is taking steps to address those concerns.
For instance, App World 2.0 will introduce the option of paying for purchases by billing it to your phone or your credit card. The original App World only allowed for purchases through PayPal. Also, it will be possible to tie mobile app purchases to an account, not just a phone, so transactions will be transferable between phones.
"BlackBerry App World continues to grow with a rich catalog of personal and business-oriented applications that further enhance the BlackBerry smartphone experience," Alan Brenner, senior vice president of the BlackBerry platform at RIM, said in a statement. "The new features in BlackBerry App World make it even easier for customers to find, purchase and maintain applications for their BlackBerry smartphone."
RIM is also improving navigation of the site, with things like Top 25 lists (something Apple's App Store has), a user purchasing profile, the ability to keep track of your downloaded applications and support for QR barcodes.
Administrators will be able to set policies and restrictions, so employees can be limited in what apps they purchase, or prevented from downloading anything at all.
RIM claims it has almost 30 million App World subscribers and almost 1 million apps are downloaded daily. But it's still lagging behind the App Store. App World only has 6,500 applications, while the Android market numbers more than 50,000 and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store has topped 225,000.
More tablet rumors
Separately, Bloomberg BusinessWeek is the latest to pick up on rumors of a forthcoming tablet from RIM. The publication said the tablet will ship in November, sport "roughly the same dimensions as the iPad," and use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to the Internet through the BlackBerry phone.
RIM has repeatedly declined to comment on rumors of a tablet device.