The BlackBerry App World store just isn’t working and it’s not just us that thinks that, RIM think it too. Why else would they choose to invest – through their venture capital investment arm BlackBerry Partners Fund –in cross-platform application store PocketGear if they didn’t? If they had faith in their platform they wouldn’t be putting money in to the competition.
To us the BlackBerry App World failure is best characterised by this simple quote from a friend of ours. Our friend has owned a BlackBerry for four months, he’s not unintelligent, he uses lots of features on the phone and he really likes it, but just last week he said, “is there an app store for blackberry like the iPhone app store?”
However even if he had known that the App Store existed he still wouldn’t have had much luck, because the BlackBerry App World just doesn’t work.
We recently wrote a piece for Growing Business magazine looking at the top five BlackBerry apps for Business and it was a nightmare trying to find apps. The App World interface just didn’t allow you to find any useful apps, it was clunky to use, it’s slow, it’s not intuitive, and quite frankly the selection of apps on offer were very poor indeed. Browsing the App World http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/ is a nightmare. For starters it defaults to the US App World, and US dollar pricing. Then to add insult to injury the search box only allows the letters a-z and numbers 0-9. Which makes searching for anything very difficult. Not allowing non-alphanumeric characters means you can’t search for phrases, you can search for word processor but not “word processor” so you end up with lots of irrelevant apps that include the word and processor including password generators. It also won’t allow you to type in a search for any apps from “ispeech.org” as you can’t enter a full stop, or “MMH-IT” as you can’t enter a hyphen. This is just basic usability, this isn’t rocket science, and it’s shocking that the App World should fail on something as basic as this.
We could go on at length about the failures of the store, but we won’t for fear of boring you all. Let’s just say that at best RIM can have one more go to improve the BlackBerry App Store World, and if it doesn’t do it with the next version of the store then they may as well give up.[ad name=”Google Text half banner advert “]