So, RIM have finally released their Application Store (hereafter called AppWorld) Let's take it for a spin on a BlackBerry Bold (9000 running 188.8.131.52 for those who care about such things). All screenshots taken with the magnificent CaptureIt from The Tech Mogul.
You can grab it by pointing your 'Berry at http://blackberry.mobi/appworld.
There's a fairly large selection of applications already available - not as many as iPhone, but this is a lot newer. The applications have a more professional feel. There are a few "fart" apps - but not the hundred which clog up Apple and Android.
Interestingly, RIM have chosen PayPal to handle the billing. This means they don't need to do deals with carriers or set up their own payment gateway. I can't help but wonder how much they will have to give away on each transaction and how many people will be turned off after suffering PayPal's lousy customer service.
A note to Apple - you don't need to sign up to PayPal in order to download free apps. Take the hint!
Overall, this is a really solid offering from RIM. They've taken their time and come up with a quality product. Very interesting to note that while there are some free and sub-$9.99 applications, there are some apps ranging from $49.99 to $200. Wow. These apps are obviously targeting business users who haven't quite get their head around the credit crunch yet.
Only two things spoil the party.
1) Pricing is in USD - there doesn't seem to be an option for GBP or CAD (the AppWorld is currently only available in US, Canada and UK).
2) I made it crash
While a loading screen is running, hit the BB button, then select "Read Reviews".
The crash is nothing too serious, but it does point to a little lack of testing.
Very impressive RIM, let's see how it evolves.