At BlackBerry 10 Jam in Orlando Alec Saunders announced that RIM would be offering a $10,000 guarantee for BlackBerry 10 apps that meet a quality criteria. Most of the details of this program have not yet been announced, but we do know that in order to qualify for the guarantee an app must reach at least $1,000 dollars worth of sales. This offer will have a direct impact on the apps that are initially available on BlackBerry 10.
Details are not yet out on what the quality criteria will be, but most likely it will involve creating an app following RIM’s design criteria for BB10. This will most likely mean writing the UI for apps in either bbUI.js or Cascades. The end result for users will be a lot of apps with a consistent interface.
Higher percentage of paid apps
The guarantee does not apply to free apps, so developers who are unsure of a business model will be more likely to choose going with a paid app rather than a free app in order to take advantage of this offer. There is no word yet if this offer would apply to free apps that make use of in-app purchases. I would hope that these apps are included, because otherwise it is an incentive to go with the model of separate free/premium apps, which is not as user friendly (or as good for the developer in the long term).
No change on the top end
For most top tier apps $10,000 worth of sales will be easily reached anyhow so there will be no real effect on these apps from the guarantee. The effect of this offer is far more likely to have a greater impact on encouraging more app creation on the mid to low end apps that are bringing in ~$1,000 in revenue per year.
More apps available at launch
The best way to take advantage of this program is to submit apps early, and to be a part of it from the beginning. As a result, this offer will help drive more apps to be available for BlackBerry10 on day one.
More advertising of apps
If spending $300 on advertising brings in an additional $100 worth of sales, then the advertising is a waste of money. However with this offer, it is important enough to get the first $1,000 worth of sales that in some cases spending $3,000 in advertising in order to guarantee that you hit the threshold will be well worth it.
Little incentive to encourage incrementally better sales
With this program, there is a lot of incentive to reach $1,000 in sales. For apps that sell more then $10,000 there is the normal monetary incentive to sell more. For apps stuck in the middle there is little incentive to drive sales. For an app that has already crossed the $1,000 threshold and seem unlikely to surpass ten grand there is no incentive at all. This may result in a good number of apps that don’t receive much in the way of updates or support during their first year.
Let us know what you think!