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Unimpressed by the BlackBerry App World? Welcome to the Club…

RIM has really been building up to the BlackBerry App World launch. The problem is that the App World is just not that impressive. It has extremely limited functionality and nothing truly innovative. It essentially gives you a catalog of applications on your BlackBerry that you can quickly buy and install. I was hoping for some of the ease and simplicity we see in the native RIM OS or even the RIM applications like the IM clients. With over 1,000 applications headed to the App World this week the limited functionality RIM provided is really going to look bad. So I thought I would break it down the way I see it. Let me know if you agree or if I missed something!

blackberry_app_world[1] blackberry_app_world[3] blackberry_app_world[5]

The Good:

  • Both business and personal applications
  • Automatically shows applications for your device
  • Works over Wi-Fi & mobile internet connections
  • Cool interface with Top Downloads section with top 25 downloaded apps
  • Quite a few categories broken down
  • Keyword search capabilities
  • Reviews and ratings of applications
  • Send application recommendations via email, PIN, SMS, or BlackBerry Messenger
  • Keeps track of your downloaded applications so you can easily reinstall them

The Bad:

  • Only available for US, UK, & Canadian users (for now)
  • You can recommend applications to a friend through email, SMS, BBM, or PIN but the links it sends do not work!
  • Only works on OS 4.2+ and devices with touch screens or trackballs (I guess this is RIM subtly telling you to upgrade)
  • Extremely limited in terms of finding new applications
    • Only has Top Downloads area for discovering new applications (which updates infrequently)
    • Does not even have a new releases section where you can see what’s new
    • No way to find top rated applications
  • Does not let you filter results at all so you cannot only view top rated or free applications
  • There is no auto-complete as you type for the search so you need to know exactly what you are searching for
  • No way at least that I could find to rate applications or reviews without installing the app first
  • There are no specials like deals of the day or anything and no coupons
  • Everything is on a different screen. If you want screenshots expect to wait for them if you want reviews expect to wait again… It can take 5-10 clicks just to browse through one app listing

The Ugly:

  • The store is full of useless homescreen shortcuts with no way to hide them
  • THERE ARE NO FREE TRIAL then buy options
    • Applications are either listed as their purchase price or as a free application
    • Free trials are listed as free applications when they are not
    • Applications that do have free trials elsewhere do not have them on the app store
  • No way to just find free applications (This is a no brainer)

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  • It does not include even the most basic BlackBerry applications
    • None of the RIM instant messaging clients are in the app store???
    • None of the Google applications that everybody uses like Google Maps are in the app store


  • There are no options… at all!
  • Last but not least the app gets sluggish very quickly even on the relatively fast Bold lots of hourglasses and “loading” screens.
46 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. This has got to be an April Fools, right?

    The first thing I see in App World are the I’m clients, reviews are present, and the app runs fast on my 8900.

  2. I have allways been a great lover of my Blackberry.
    Even defended Blacknerry with all my iphone friends

    Today is very disapointing.
    Maybe this is their April 1st Joke !!!

    I have a blackberry Storm and Blackberry App store will not even work on it.

    I know people that design apps on a laptop in their bedroom that can design an opp that works on a Storm.

    Why cant RIM as big as there are realese anything recently that either has bugs ie my op system on my storm or even an application that is purpose built for my model and op system

    I almost find myself wanting to buy and iphone !!!!

    Come on RIM getted it sorted Guys !!!

  3. I was actually impressed for the first release. Looks slick, screenshots for a lot of apps, download and install works smooth, some great free apps, etc…

  4. Three words: It is Shit.


  5. I see the IM clients when I first log in and I also see a lot of free trials.

    I do agree it’s a let down as far as how there aren’t that many applications, games, etc. I dont care that this is the first release. As big as they are and being the number one in this business, it seems like they don’t try hard at all to keep themselves in that position.

    I’m still waiting on Picasa mobile….

  6. Partial April fools but in every lie is a grain of truth. In this case a big grain. 🙂

    I am on AT&T with a Bold and no IM clients show up at all.
    I did a search for Google, Microsoft, AIM, AOL, MSN, Live, Yahoo all end up with “No results found”

  7. i have the storm and its fast on mine! dont forget it just came out today! i had an i phone and there app store had a lot of bugs as well and i find the bb app world much faster! you CAN search for free apps by simply typing free into the search! i am sure it will get better in time but what did you really expect

  8. No issues here. IM clients are right when I open the app. I don’t like all the bookmark apps that are in there… but it looks slick and works great on my 8330. I just hope a TON of new apps are released.

    • Just added 4 screenshots to the article showing the searches for IM clients all failing.

      Also searching “Free” for free apps does not work since half of the results are just apps that have “Free” in the description. How long do you think it will take for them to catch on…

      Its a nice first try for RIM but I was just hoping for more. They really did not provide us with much more than they could have done with a simple website with BlackBerry wallet integrated.

      • There seems to be some sort of discrepancy as to what apps some people can and can’t see.

        One user was saying they could not for the life of them find the Shazaam app, whereas most people find it easily in the featured apps, top downloads, etc.

  9. The BlackBerry AppWorld is rock solid on my Curve 8900. I like the sleek interface and the graphic quality is excellent. It doesn’t take more than a sec for different screens to load. I like their interface better than MobiHand (Agreed mobihand has more apps, but keep in mind that AppWorld just got launched!).

    Over all I would give 4.9/5.0 stars!!! I just loved the way the app shows and screen shot viewing is topnotch…unlike other stores where you have to wait to load like I am loading a website! too bad! Other stores like Mobihand need to learn from AppWorld!

  10. Hey at least you don’t have to create an account and give your personal information in order to even download any apps. Works really fast on my 8900 downloaded a 1.70mb app in less than a minute on EDGE 🙂
    Only thing I wish it did have was a tab for new apps. Ect.

    • Yup..w.e would all like osme changes…but till now I am loving it! and believe me the EDGE Speed on Curve 8900 is way faster than the so called 3G…its a shame that peopel are just going gaga over 3G, where as 3G is still in its infant stages, and by the time it gains actual speed we will have 4G (Expected Oct 2010 – First Release) coming out.

  11. Just plain disappointed. Not only, is the storm coming in last for ones like Pandora, but I was hoping for more apps that the iphone has and not so much of the business side, although that stuff is important too (as that’s blackberry’s focus). Specifically I would like to see some good, solid GPS ones. For example: CarFinder, Taxi Magic, one that changes ringer and profiles based on gps location. I also would have loved one for doing fun things with the led light. I know there are ok versions out of some of those, but they don’t work great.

    Maybe I got too high of hopes and that is my fault. Just expected more apps that were not already readily available for bberry online. Give us something new!

  12. I don’t mind the fact that you have to use paypal, but I think it would be nice if you could buy an app and it get billed to you monthly cellphone bill. I mean your BIS account is on your monthly bill, why not just add purchased apps to it?

    I did see the IM clients when I looked.

  13. I also have no problems with speed on my EDGE 8300 through Cincinnati Bell. I think I got an hourglass once in the 20 times i have checked out app world. The pictures load rather fast, and the consecutive pages load fast. I second the whole 3G not what it stacks up to be.

  14. So far the app has been pretty solid. I get the IM clients on my Sprint 8330. I would like to see the app look at what you have installed already and recommend any updates. Also it is a bit disappointing that Google has no apps either.

  15. The 8330 doesn’t get slugish and it has all of the IM apps. This is a horrible article. This is probably the best done app to come out of RIM. I love it and was expecting somethng basic, this app just blew me away. Well done RIM, well done.

  16. Ok, App World looks pretty good (OS 4.6 based) and works verry good on my 8800. No problem with EDGE speed and speed at all. No problem with downloading free applications (havn’t PayPal account so i cant check with payable applications) on Orange network in Poland.

    My rating: 4.4/5.0 points

  17. Seriously guys I am just as big a blackberry fan as you are but I like to call a spade a spade.
    Practically everything in the new app world is something you could do before. So why would I be impressed?
    Have you ever tried handango’s inhand application? Its the same thing as the app world just not as pretty. I was not waiting for months for a pretty interface…
    Also not having free trials at least docks it a point in my book. That along with the lack of ability to sort or filter your selections is just unimpressive.
    RIM essentially regurgitated exactly what handango, mobihand, berrystore and others have already done. At least some of those had free trials.
    Oh and the fact that the App store is inaccessable from your PC is just another oversight by RIM.

    • Correct Ron – Its everyone’s way of looking at it. Some would like it and some would not. Like for example some like iPhones (I love Blackberry) and like Blackberry. So everyone things different. You didn’t like the AppWorld so much, you have every right not too 🙂

      I am enjoying it and I am sure slowly the apps would add and new features would come. As per the launch, its fantastic for me 🙂

  18. Is anyone else having the issue where it says that you can’t connect to the App World Server??

  19. Free trials are app-by-app, presumably determined by the publisher. Example: “REXconnect” shows “Download Trial” and “Purchase” buttons on my T-Mobile 8900.

  20. And all Curve/Bold users on Orange in the UK are completely locked out of the store … not even install works. Go figure.

  21. I’m not overly thrilled (there ARE after all already THREE fart apps on day one!), but I give RIM props for FINALLY getting the dam thing pushed out after promising it for what seems like forever.

    Not sure what the prob is Ronen, maybe you’re not seeing the IM apps because you have them all installed already or something? Though that wouldn’t make sense since it shows me Viigo and Slacker and I have both installed already. Shame I can’t enter a review or rating since I didn’t “buy” these free apps through App World.

    Not sure I’m liking the misleading “Free” price on trial apps. Like Par72 Golf, it says it’s free and only when you scroll down for details do you find out you can only play the first hole of each of the three courses for free then you have to buy. RIM needs to find a more graceful way of presenting pay apps that offer a free trial version, presenting them as “Free” is misleading the user.

    And I said it in the first thread here, what’s with all the “apps” that are nothing but home screen shortcut icons? Lame RIM, lame. Find a better way to denote right in the listings that something is nothing more than a shortcut.

    So…no Google apps…who is surprised? They have their own app store for Android right, so they would pay RIM to have their free apps listed in App World why???

  22. The UK “purpose built for Vodafone” Storm is definitely the orphan of the family. Not only Blackberry’s own App World doesn’t work, none of the internet radios do either. With iPhone 3.0, HTC Magic and Pre coming out, looks like a good time to move on. Coffin’s gradually being sealed! Poor Storm.

  23. Telemap navigator listed as free but is a trial
    Trimble outdoors ditto

    Flipside mp3 usually has trial but not in store
    Fitdeck mobile ditto
    Quicklaunch ditto if I remember correctly

    In short free is not free but is free but does have trials and does not. Seems like RIM wrongly left it in the developers hands…

  24. I agree. App is Crap!!!
    They should have just bought out BerryStore and built on what they already have.
    Everyones getting a hard-on just because it’s “Officially BlackBerrys App Store”.
    Just another in the recent long line of F-A-I-L from RIM.
    Developers, go over to this link and submit your apps to BerryStore….

  25. I agree with Ronen. C R A P. On my VZW 8330 I had to wait up to 15 minutes for the pictures to load…all the while seeing hourglass after hourglass.

    Since there are no product descriptions I had to use the blackberry in one hand while I googled the App name on my desktop computer to see what it is. Sheesh.

  26. Call me crazy but I smell some people weighing in on how bad appworld is in order to maintain revenue in their current stores…

  27. You’re crazy. If you were referring to me that is. 🙂
    I don’t have any interest in any application store at all, I simply call it how I see it.

  28. I think its ridiculus that I’ve tried to access the app 30 times and only once it connected, but upon selecting an app, it couldn’t find the appworld server.

  29. dude what are you talking about? all the reccomend links i have sent works just fine! and there are a few try before you buy options i have found! i spent an hour with app world and found this. you wrote a whole review and didnt. someone needs to take away ur keyboard and give it back when u know what your talking about. what did u excpect its and app store they sell apps there! what could possibly be “revaloutionary” about it?

    • that is not the point that he was trying to make, he was giving his on personal opinion about it and I see why, there are quite a few things on there that RIM needs to address and with articles such as this is the only way RIM listens for the most part.

  30. Actually I saw a couple apps where there were buttons to download free trial and also a button to purchase. So it looks like some of them have them and some of them dont.

  31. @John
    Let me clarify about the recommended links. Here is a recommended link
    It just redirects you to download the app world if you go to it from a desktop browser? How is your friend supposed to know it will only work from their BlackBerry if at all?

    About the app store altogether I was expecting to be impressed. Apple popularized the idea of an app store and now everybody is copying them. All RIM did is make a copy that has even less features than what they were copying… That is why I am unimpressed and what I was trying to stress in this article.

    They really had a chance to do something out of the box like create a one stop shop for BlackBerry applications. They don’t even have a desktop counterpart for the App World. They could have easily let you select all of the applications you wish to look into on your computer (just like iTunes) and then set them to download to your phone. The idea of an on device store is to pick up a app very quick not to browse. Who is going to browse through 1,000 applications on a 3 inch screen?

    Something innovative would be:
    – create a BlackBerry currency or points for apps
    – innovate with a social network for BlackBerrys tied around the store
    – have a questionnaire that recommends apps according to similar users

    I am not saying these are all good ideas since they are off the top of my head but they are NEW ideas. This is just a bad regurgitation of into a BlackBerry application.

    • “I am not saying these are all good ideas since they are off the top of my head but they are NEW ideas. This is just a bad regurgitation of into a BlackBerry application.”

      Wow, that’s insanely harsh… was terrible…

  32. I found a way to filter for free apps: click on the top downloads button. Every single one of the top 25 downloads is a free app. I predict it will stay that way for a while too, which should serve as a lesson to RIM about their pricing policy.

    Good article ronen. I for one was impressed by the app, but only because my expectations were so low.

  33. Ronen,

    I agree that you’re being overly harsh. I think the problem here is that the app is not made for users like yourself. Power users that already know the ins and outs of BlackBerry are likely not the target here. I believe the main thrust of this application are users new to BlackBerry and new to smartphones.

    You’re right – someone that knew all the BlackBerry blogs and software sites didn’t need this new app. However, there are likely a very large number of users that don’t know about Handango, the various BlackBerry blogs, and the different BlackBerry forums. For these new users, this will be a good place for them to get started on exploring the vast additional functionality that BlackBerry has to offer that doesn’t come straight out of the box.


  34. I actually really liked app world. You can see what programs you can pay and the ones that are free. Iheartradio was the creme of the crop from these. I really liked it. I don’t think it’s going to blow you away. But It is good

  35. I really wish people would stop trying to compare the Apple App Store and Rim’s Blackberry World. You would think people would be more supportive of RIM, but all I see is posts griping about how Skype for Blackberry won’t have true VOIP, etc.

    Did you ever stop to consider that not all Blackberries have Wifi, and they didn’t want to release a product where some would have to call an access number while others could use Wifi?

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