BlackBerry Unveils App Storefront Plans At Developer Conference


Research In Motion will launch an application storefront in March that will allow developers to reach BlackBerry owners worldwide, the company announced today at its BlackBerry Developer Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The store will include both an online and on-device component and developers will be able to start submitting their applications in December. RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) was expected to launch its own storefront in reaction to Apple’s success with the App store, and more recently companies had started talking about how the storefront would become available soon. Release.

On revenue splits: RIM said that developers will be able to keep up to 80 percent of the revenue generated from their applications. That beats Apple’s 70/30 percent split, which T-Mobile USA also plans to maintain with its devPartner Community program. No word on how Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will handle revenue splits — for now all the apps on the Android Market are free.

On billing: One of the big sticking points for on-device storefronts is how the billing will be handled if you don’t have the support of the carrier. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) relies on credit cards, but RIM said it will work with PayPal.

On enterprise control: For enterprises who have rolled out BlackBerries as part of a company-wide program, they will be able to control what applications can be downloaded to the phones.

On carrier involvement: RIM said it is also working with carriers to provide customized application centers “to help foster after-market application downloads.” That means, the BlackBerry application center will allow carriers to offer a catalog right on the device where customers can discover and download applications. RIM already has worked with carriers to provide distribution for applications, such as the popular Facebook app. No word on how revenue-splits may change in this circumstance.

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