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An Explanation From RIM on Why App World Updates are SLOW


Any hardcore BlackBerry user can tell you that updates in App World are ridiculously slow. This is simply mind blowing for a company that prides itself in push communications. A developer friend of mine sent me over a link to a RIM document that explains why App World updates are so pitifully slow. It just blows my mind that it can take 7+ days from when a developer posts an update for an app until when it appears in App World for everybody.

RIM’s servers cache data for 24 hours. That means after a developer posts an app in App World it can take up to 24 HOURS for it to appear for anybody! It gets even crazier when you add on the ridiculous “client cache” which is set for a even more ridiculous 7 days. That means when a developer makes a modification or maintenance update for an existing app it can take up to 7 DAYS for all users to see the upgraded release, new or changed screenshots, or new icons.

The best part is RIM’s disclaimer at the bottom of their explanation:

Currently, there is no way to clear the cache or expedite these timings.

Oh and to make things even better once a developer submits an app it can take 8-10 business days from when the app is submitted until it is approved. The thing is even if these numbers are the exception instead of the rule it is mind blowing that App World is designed to be slower than the US Postal Service! Who in their right mind would thing it is acceptable for it to take up to 7 days for all users to be notified of an update? Did RIM never hear of selective cache purging? We know they use Akamai for caching and I know for a fact that Akamai offers them the ability to selectively purge cache items. I always thought that these slow updates were the exception but the fact that RIM thinks a 7 day cache period is normal is just plain…

I am still at a loss for how RIM can explain their 7 day cache period so I wont digress. Please wait up to 7 business days before commenting on this article… :) I am hoping RIM sees the error of their ways and at least sets a slightly less ridiculous cache period like 12 hours.

24 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Let me tell you something, Mr. Halevy. After UberSocial went back online and your esteemed blog posted a direct download link, that particular build happened to brick my Torch. I’m still recovering from that, and I don’t mind waiting for the “official” distro on App World because it’s likely that the approval process at least makes sure it doesn’t break the phone.

  2. I can’t believe that it takes that long and that the folks at RIM are ok with this. I hope with QNX and the new ability to make apps so many different ways, things move a lot faster when it comes to updating apps.

  3. Well, how about this email I got from them weeks ago:

    “Dear developer, remember to participate in the BlackBerry Challenge campaign. The deadline is March 31 for you to submit your BlackBerry application.

    Step 1:
    Become a “Vendor” (*) immediately

    Step 2:
    Submit your application etc. etc.

    (*) This procedure may take from 3 to 4 weeks. You can only submit your application to BlackBerry App World after you have become a Vendor.

    3 to 4 weeks? What is it, the Sears catalog?

  4. And (as Steve Jobs would say) one more thing:

    – Install any application that is available both from App World and the developer’s Web site directly. Install it from the developer’s Web site directly.

    – Uninstall the application. Take note of how long exactly it takes.

    – Reboot the device. Yes, reboot, you just have to, it’s a requirement in the BlackBerry© platform. And wait several minutes until it is finished.

    – Install the application again, this time from App World.

    – Uninstall the application right from App World. Take note of how long exactly it takes. Or rather, place a watch and a camera next to the BlackBerry© before you go to sleep, leave the camera rolling and go to bed, check the video in the morning, because it is going to take FOREVER!!!

    Nothing wastes your time like a BlackBerry©.

    • I think it depends on stuff like your device and OS…

      Uninstall the RIM AIM application from Appworld takes 15 seconds on the Torch +… Not counting the reboot (which is about 1 min) but that’s not exactly immediately mandatory if you are uninstalling the app anyways.

  5. Interesting, I thought it was due to my Old BlackBerry Flip not keeping up with the times but its RIM settings that I get my updates a week later.

    I don’t think its that big of deal but yeah it would be nice to get the update as soon as possible. I mean even Microsoft delays Service Packs for everyone for example SP1 was given to Technet on February 13 and the everyone else on February 22.

    Most people are too busy to notice the App update delay and if they get it will update slowly.

  6. I agree that the delays are ridiculous. Try this example: Right now, if I go into App World on my phone, go to Top 25, and go to Recently Updated, one of the apps listed is Amazon MP3. Of course, when you click on it, it shows version 1.0, which was released in December. Go to the App World website, and it shows you version 1.0, released in December. Sometime in the next 24 hours, the update will show up on the App World website. Sometime after that, it will show up on your device. So the Top 25 Recently Updated apps on your device will not actually be available to update on your device for at least 48 hours.

    I’ve found you can get around this (IF you know an update has come out through some other means) by connecting your BlackBerry to your computer and updating through the App World website. But why on earth should we have to go through that kind of trouble just to update an app? Crazy.

  7. Hahaha! I really get a kick out of all this. It is seriously unbelievable that RIM, the father of push technology, cannot figure this out. App World IS controlled by RIM right? Are we sure its not unionized city workers leaning on shovels all day?

    To most people, instant app updates are not important, but that’s not the point. The point is, that if anyone should be on top of timely updates and notifications, it should definitely be RIM. And yet their explanation makes it sound impossible. Really? There’s NO way to clear the cache or expedite the timings? Doubt it. Get off your shovel and start digging RIM!

  8. This is why I stick to Mobihand. App World is horrible. I know devs make more money and they deserve that, but its ridiculous the way they work it.

  9. Savvy App World users know they can clear the local cache by typing Alt-RST. In fact, I seem to recall reading somewhere that RIM has officially acknowledged this trick in one of their help documents. So while you cannot do anything about the 24 hr server-side cache, you can short-circuit the client-side 7-day cache with the Alt-RST trick.

    I don’t think the 24hr cache itself is unusual. MobiHand’s servers also take about the same amount of time to propagate a new app throughout their storefront.

  10. I forgot to add: if you think App World’s approval times are slow, you should try Verizon’s VCast Apps store. Last time I tried it, it took a couple of months just to push a new version of an existing app through the approval process.

  11. Clearly, APP world needs some cleaning up. Especially with the PlayBook coming out and initially will be solely dependent on APP world to download apps.

  12. Indeed. I made this post over three weeks ago, and it’s only just now showing up.

    It is pretty ridiculous; I understand everything up to the seven day cache.

    When I was considering submitting to the 2010 superapp challenge, they made a lot of noise about the official deadline — but it was only after some digging that you’d find if you were not already in app world, you really wanted to have your app submitted 1 month prior to the deadline, just to be safe. Not quite the same thing we’re talking about here, but an indication of how they really don’t seem to think through management of app world overall.

    (Say – side note /question – can we get the default behavior to be *not* notify; or alternatively only notify of replies to the specific posted comment?)

  13. This is truly sad. RIM wonders why they get beat up by tech pundits? Its BS like this that make the app experience such a pain on BlackBerry. And face it, any more, its all about the apps.

  14. With the PlayBook coming out relatively soon, I hope that they will do something about these delays. It is very annoying to hear about a new version of a program and find that it isn’t listed for download yet in App World.

  15. maybe now that the cat is out of the bag they will speed things up!

  16. i don’t mind that…. it would be ridiculous to me if i get my push emails 7 days after… now that would be a concern to me!!

  17. simple fix: reduce the cache time for 7 days to 24 hrs…or offload updates to appword to the push notification system.

  18. I hope this will not continue to the playbook

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