3 Blackberry App Store comparisons (App World, Crackberry, MobiHand)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 14:02

It’s no secret that the App Store wars are nearing full swing in a multi manufacturer sense as you app stores already launched or in the process of from Apple, Android, Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM.  RIM’s much hyped Blackberry App World has the Blackberry user base in a frenzy as they have for quite a while now wanted a more unified app system.  After Apple’s amazing success with their app store everyone changed course from hardware being number 1 to software and app stores.  However, unlike Apple, RIM has several “in-house” competitors breathing down their neck from the likes of Crackberry.com and Mobihand.  What do these other Blackberry app stores have to offer?  Come inside for a shmorgusboard of pictures and words that will fill completely fill your head.

*Early mock up…Not actual App World*

We’ll start off with RIM’s Blackberry App World.  Of course, this is the defacto standard app store for Blackberry users as it is developed solely by RIM.  App World will be a great way for developers to share their works of coded art with the masses and make a few bennies on the side.  Features of Blackberry App World are as follows:

  • Apps must either be free or $2.99 or greater
  • PayPal only payment option available at launch
  • $200 developer fee includes 10 application submissions (updates to a particular app do not count against app count)
  • Older Blackberry models such as the 7290 not supported.

A few caveats with App World are of course the submission fees, pricing requirements, and lack of device customization goodies such as themes.  Will this be a deal breaker for RIM?  We will soon find out.  For more information on App World, visit the home page and sign up for an email letting you know when it’s ready.

Next up is Crackberry.com’s on device app store powered by MobiHand.  As mentioned below, while Crackberry is powered by MobiHand, the Crackberry on-device app store and MobiHands stand alone app store may seem identical, however they have different branding (obvisouly) and are two completely different portals to access in reality the same store.   If you aren’t familiar with Crackberry, it is a Blackberry enthusiast site that is barely more than 2 years old yet has become one of the biggest sites in the Blackberry world.  Incorporated in Crackberry is an entire store much like you would find at many other websites allowing you to buy any accessory, software title, theme, etc that your Cracked out mind can think of.  The Crackberry On Device App Store is a direct port of their desktop version and includes:

  • Easy checkout and downloads
  • “Deal of the Day” means you save on cool apps…Daily
  • Hundreds of apps…THOUSANDS of themes
  • Detailed app descriptions
  • OTA downloads
  • View/Post product reviews and ratings
  • Browse categories including: Best Sellers and new or search
  • Easily view account history and re-download apps
  • Compatible with ALL blackberry models
  • Tons of free apps and paid apps starting at $0.99

The two biggest things you’ll immediately notice the Crackberry Store has over App World is the support for truck loads of themes (a big draw on the consumer Blackberry market) and support for all Blackberry models.  App World won’t funtion on older Berries.  Sorry guys.  Two down…one more to go.

MobiHand is a popular online store for mobile content from many manufacturers as well as the newest entrance into the Blackberry app store battle as it was just announced today.  Many online stores are built around MobiHand’s store front.  You’ll notice above that while Crackberry uses MobiHand as their online store front, it is a seperate store from MobiHands (branding as well as different appearance and slightly different features).  This Blackberry specific portal of their store means you can have access to a wide group of developers who don’t care to associate with a single “fan” site instead going the dedicated online store route.  MobiHand brings many great features to the table such as:

  • Over 5,000 free and paid software titles at launch
  • No stupid pricing requirements
  • Clean and simple (yet eerily similar)  design
  • “Deal of the Day” ala Crackberry Store offers discount on select app rotated daily

I joke about the UI of MobiHand’s blackberry app store because it is pretty much a direct rip off of Apple’s App Store.  I know some with complain of yet another iPhone reference but the proof is in the pictures.  Nit picks aside, all three Blackberry app stores: RIM’s App World, Crackberry’s On Device App Store, and MobiHands App Store all have what it takes to be the leader.  Being the in house app store, I see App World staying on top for that reason alone as RIM has plenty of money to throw around with marketing.  Crackberry and MobiHand however have a large foot in the door as they offer the “Deal of the Day” feature, don’t have “requirements” in order to sell, fees for app submissions, and support themes.  Themes may not sound like a deal breaker.  But, consider the whole reason for the app store, to gain more market share in the consumer market.  And who buys apps and more specifically, themes?  That’s right…the consumer market.  I can’t see RIM excluding themes and customization features too long from App World as they will from the start be missing out on a large chunk of revenue.

So after a look at three app stores, which one has your gold star of approval?  Do you have a favorite?  Least favorite?  Who do you think will claim the crown as app store extrodanaire?  For your viewing pleasure, below are several screenshots of the newest Blackberry app store to be announced, MobiHand’s App Store.

Source: Business Week, Crackberry, Boy Genius

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