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Summary:

As you may or may not know from reading my posts, I’m an iPhone guy. I’ve had an iPhone since its launch here in Canada, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or at least I thought I wouldn’t, but now I’m not so sure. […]

picture-22As you may or may not know from reading my posts, I’m an iPhone guy. I’ve had an iPhone since its launch here in Canada, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or at least I thought I wouldn’t, but now I’m not so sure. RIM recently unveiled their App Store competitor, dubbed BlackBerry App World, and while home visiting family for Easter this past weekend I had the privilege of installing and demoing it for my father on his Blackberry 8830 World Edition.

Believe me, I went into this with a sufficiently condescending attitude. There was no way I was going to say anything nice about this App Store wannabe, especially not in front of my two cousins, both of whom work for RIM. And I was justly rewarded when I had some trouble installing The Hockey News on my very first attempt. But other than that one minor hiccup, installing and running apps went surprisingly smoothly.

And then I realized why everyone doesn’t instantly fall in love with the iPhone. Having never owned another smartphone (although I did have a couple Palm PDAs back in the day), I’d just assumed that the many kinks that come along with the iPhone, specifically those surrounding not being able to run apps in the background, and the need to power cycle whenever you install to ensure proper functioning, were just part of the territory. It’s also hard to find the good apps.

Aside from the first issue with The Hockey News app, every other app installed and ran fine on the BlackBerry. They just worked. They ran in the background, they supported copy and paste, and I didn’t have to restart every time I purchased one. It’s true that if I’d wanted to download any paid apps I’d have to have a PayPal account, which isn’t ideal, but there were plenty of free apps that covered my needs.

With App World, a BlackBerry suddenly becomes a much more web worker-friendly device. With neither the bugs nor the potential to distract of the the iPhone, RIM’s lineup of smartphones now seem to me to be the route to take if you’re looking for a straight-up productivity aid. Which isn’t to say I’m switching anytime soon, but the iPhone is an integral part of my professional life for other reasons.

What do you think about BlackBerry App World? Has it influenced your choice of smartphone? If you’re already a BlackBerry user, do you find the new store has helped your online work? If you’re not, has it given you reason to consider switching?

  1. I own both an iPhone and a Blackberry Bold. To be honest nothing beats the iPhone app store experience as well as the process of installing and loading apps however I have downloaded Blackberry App World and I’m glad it’s finally there. It’s still a bit clunky compared to the iPhone but a lot easier that it was before to find and download and app. I don’t dislike the Bold at all. I actually love it but in a different more “techie” way.

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  2. If the available Blackberry apps start to rival the iPhone, then Blackberry gains an advantage since it is available for a variety of carriers in the US.

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  3. T1 Rex, You may have a point – to a point but the whole experience of searching, downloading and installing apps as well as paying for them is still very clunky compared to the iPhone experience. I have both. My Blackberry is the bold so I only have half the screen of the iPhone, that alone makes looking and using some of the Apps a much more pleasurable experience.

    One reason I got the Blackberry was two-fold. One as a new media worker and consultant it behoved me to learn about one of the other major mobile platforms. Also I am carrying around 2 phones as the business partner I had left to start a new business and I am using the number she used as the official line and my iPhone and my personal line. I want two phones that looked different so I could tell them apart. I could have forwarded the other number but I don’t want to have to think about how I answer the phone.

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  4. Nice article – totally agree with you. AppWorld is going to be a solid platform for productivity/ business related apps. Which means AW will head in a different direction than the iPhone AppStore, which has become an awesome gaming platform, but still not that great for getting stuff done. (I own both a BlackBerry and iPhone and experience this every day. :-) ).

    Not that we won’t see anything consumer related on AW, but just probably not the rich 100MB games that you can already get on the iPhone.

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  5. > Iā€™d just assumed that the many kinks that come along with the iPhone, specifically those surrounding not being able to run apps in the background, and the need to power cycle whenever you install to ensure proper functioning, were just part of the territory.

    Personally I like that apps are prevented from running in the background, sucking down battery life and introducing god knows what kinds of instability on a device that I rely on heavily. I don’t want my phone to be a place where an app I’m curious about can set itself up and do things beyond my control. With the one-at-a-time format, apps can’t kill my phone because of some bad code.

    As for having to power cycle whenever an app is installed, this seems strange. I install a few apps a month, at least, and have only cycled a handful of times in the 10 months I’ve had my iphone. I think this is more of a ritual brought on by some bad experiences than a necessary practice.

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  6. Apple’s whole deal is that the content in the App Store is made by both big companies and one-man-bands. It costs $99 (for the Standard Program) to submit apps to iTunes — and, for people to legitimately download your app, it must be in the App Store.

    For the BlackBerry you don’t need to be a part of App World to distribute your app. And it costs $200 for every 10 apps you submit to App World, including those that get rejected.

    I don’t know if $100 will really be a deal breaker, but if a developer just wants to distribute a free productivity app, it might be better to not use App World.

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  7. developers get a bigger cut off the profits on blackberry app world (80%) compared to the app world

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  8. [...] Darrell Etherington No Comments In the past I’ve been known to speak rashly. I actually declared the BlackBerry the victor in matters of mobile device web working, but a recent development in the iPhone world has me [...]

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  9. [...] it included the new Tracemonkey JavaScript engine, providing for much better web app performance. RIM launched the BlackBerry App World to try to compete with Apple’s App Store. In the “What’s In Your Bag?” [...]

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