Research In Motion has unveiled the latest version of its mobile software store, BlackBerry App World 2.0, which will support carrier billing for application purchases and enable developers to use QR barcode links for their software titles (and thus make it easier for customers to find applications). Along with the new storefront, RIM will also reportedly implement a singular BlackBerry ID to track purchases and allow for easy software and data transfer from one BlackBerry device to another.
When RIM launched the initial App World in March of 2009, Om declared it to be “good enough.” But by modernizing its BlackBerry App World, RIM is following a proven model when it comes to mobile software — if you remove clunkiness and make it easy to find, purchase and transfer data, customers will buy more software and services. The sales cycle doesn’t end with consumers, though; improving a mobile app store also helps bring developers to a platform. Given the right tools, support and financial incentives, programmers are more apt to create compelling software titles for a device. Without such support, a handset vendor runs the risk of developers leaving for other platforms, creating a downward sales spiral.
Handset makers still need to create desirable hardware, but making smart software available in a simple-to-use and effective mobile store is a key ingredient in the recipe for smartphone success. This is especially true for RIM, as noted in a recent GigaOM Pro report (subscription required). Unfortunately, it’s taken the company until now to figure this out; in the meantime, nimble rivals have perfected the model — and in Apple’s case, used it to generate a billion dollars in revenue for developers. And the clock doesn’t stop ticking with RIM’s unveiling today as it hasn’t yet announced the launch date for the new store. Tick-tock, RIM. Tick-tock.