Exclusive: First Look at the BlackBerry Application Center!

By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Oct 2008 03:46 am EDT

BlackBerry Application Center BlackBerry Application Center

This weekend was HUGE for leaked info on the BlackBerry Storm (thanks BG!). But while all the latest Storm OS eye candy has been sweet to look at and filled in some gaps on how the device's OS will function (like copy and paste functionality), none of the latest info posted has been all that mind-blowingly new for us BlackBerry Addicts. Let's just say we saved the best for last.

Enter the BlackBerry Application Center. What you're seeing now is a first look at RIM's initial response to Apple's highly popular on-device iPhone App Store. Aimed to launch on the the BlackBerry Storm's version 4.7 operating system, the BlackBerry Application Center will allow the user to find, browse and install/upgrade 3rd party BlackBerry apps hosted by carriers. The Application Center will serve as the main interface on the device between the user and the carrier offered directory list of downloadable applications and will provide the user with an up to date list of applications available for download, along with description and marketing information about each application. The complete Application Center solution will consist of a device side application and a server backend hosted by RIM that the application will interact with to retrieve up to date application list of applications hosted by the carriers.

Pretty cool huh? Keep reading after the jump for more images and Application Center features and info.

BlackBerry Application CenterBlackBerry Application Center

BlackBerry Application Center Features

  • The Application Center will be available on 4.7 Storm devices and will be designed for the Storm touch screen UI.
  • Carriers will be responsible for hosting the application data and sending updates to the directory to RIM.
  • The main application screen will provide the user with a list of all applications that are available for install from the particular carrier for the specific device model and OS version. Incompatible applications will not be displayed.
  • The main screen will provide the user the ability to quickly browse the application list, then view the available information about each application in a detailed description screen which shows the logo and full description. Installation will occur with one click (launches the web browser).
  • The user will be able to access the Options > Applications screen from within the App Center (allowing the user to delete applications directly from within the App Center).
  • The user will be provided with various status info: date the app list was most recently updated; notification that updates are available; option to reapplication list was completed, etc.
  • Since the download and installation will be handled by the browser in this first release, the Application Center will not be capable of restarting the application / download intelligently.
  • The Application Center will automatically check for updates daily.

Reading through the feature description, you can quickly see how RIM's initial approach to an on-device app store is differing from Apple's. While the iPhone App Store is the one-and-only hub for developers to sell apps and consumers to purchase them, it seems RIM is really providing the Application Center as an additional tool for carriers to more easily distribute their supported apps (think carrier billing for apps that are not free). At this point I'm not expecting to see thousands of BlackBerry Apps available for purchase on-device anytime soon (carriers tend to be pretty stringent in terms of what they're going to support). Besides...that's what the CrackBerry App store is for (Download at http://crackberry.com/appstore)!!! Also no word yet if/when the Application Center will become available to existing BlackBerry devices.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more about the BlackBerry Application Center in the weeks ahead... the silence up until this point makes me think it may not even make the Storm at launch as we haven't seen it surface with all of the other leaked Storm info (or maybe RIM has just been doing an extra-good job of not letting this info leak). It does sort of seem like a fitting project to keep secret and unveil at RIM's 1st Annual BlackBerry Developer Conference later this month, don't ya think?! Oops. My bad. :-)

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Exclusive: First Look at the BlackBerry Application Center!


I may snag one of the GSM units and unlock it... but I may just break down and grab a 16GB iphone, that coupled with my Bold is a nice mobile arsenal... we shall see.

Sorry for posting this under reply, but I wanted to make sure everyone sees it !! Cnet has a Storm banner ad on their website now !!! The Storm must be coming soon !!!! WHOOOOO !!

its fine if your not excited about the storm, but tech lovers are, oh and dont worry man...youll find your site with naked fat men then you too can be just as excited as he is. dont be an ass!

I'm very EXCITED this is Verizon in the United States, yes the plans may be a tad more expensive but you get what you pay for in terms of service and they have awesome customer support, as well the fastest wireless aircards around. I live in Maui, and Verizon is the only carrier out here with full service EVERYWHERE.

I hope Verizon makes a ton of money off this so they can keep making there network even better!

People, verizon has the exact same prices as att. Exactly. Period. Get it out of your head that verizon is this evil monster that overcharges for everything.

But the difference is that Verizon's network is spectacular and reliable and ATT is worthless and unreliable.

Verizon _Wireless_ has great customer service. _Verizon_ the RBOC sucks balls when it comes to customer service. They should drop the Verizon Wireless name and just call themselves Vodafone in the US as well. Also, no question Verizon's 3G (1xEV-DO Rev. A) network is head and shoulders above the competition. In fact, a year ago, our company dropped 70 lines with another carrier and went with VZW because we need the availability of VZW's network.

As for their "crippling" of service; they are in the business of making money. Perhaps in the socialist nations of Europe (read: France) those things are frowned on, but here the grand U. S. of A., the market is driven by profit and competition, and if VZW found that they lost customers over features, they wouldn't do what they do. However, they are not loosing over features (note that their advertising highlights their network), and it's evidenced in their product offering. Fortunately for us Americans, there are many wireless providers to choose from (AT&T, VZW, Sprint, T-Mo, Alltel, etc.) so you pick what works for you. Oh well.


The problem is that Verizon charges for things that others give away, LIKE GPS!

If I want to use Google maps with the GPS in my curve I should be able to do it instead of have to use the Verizon app. JMTC.

I HATE the way they lockup their releases.
Case in point - my current 8703 has GPS capability built in however Verizon's 8703e has this portion of the OS locked out to prevent you from mapping. GPS Positions are recd by the phone but it is impossible to read the result or pass it to an app for loacation on a map. To do so you need to buy a third party puck.
It competes somehow with their Turn-By-Turn direction service in some way.

Verizon and Sprint have the same damn cards and network, how is sprint faster bro, after all sprint ROAMS on Verizon's data and voice networks.

very nice.. blackberry indeed is getting more and more improved and for me they are the best mobile now. Very incline to technology.

I wonder if this unit will be available in Canada soon. Wonder who would be the provider....anyone knows? I WANT ONE SOOOO BAD!!!!!!

Last I heard Telus and Bell were competing for exlu for the storm (as of last week). Rogers is not in the picture at all.

I call these fake. Not only did they "borrow" some of the icons from Synaptic Packet Manager, but it just so happens to be the exact same font from the default load of Ubuntu (and I'm sure a couple of other distros as well).

I could probably take a screenshot of the Add/Remove Programs from Ubuntu and have the same "App Center" look.

I'm going to have to also agree, these screen shots look a bit sketchy. Like someone else said, they borrowed icons. Also, the "spinning gear" looks A LOT like the one found with Apple products. To me it just looked like someone just copied stuff from other computers and created an "App Center". Who knows, I might be wrong, but right now I just don't believe it...

As far as the spinning gear goes, I had a theme on my Curve which used that exact same thing when loading. Whatever though. No one is going to be satisfied and stop doubting the features of the Storm until they have it in hand.

Definitely, definitely, definitely not fake my friend. I wouldn't doubt if the look was different/improved when you see this go live (RIM has been working on this for a while), but these images are definitely legit.

The information is not fake. Maybe the screen shots are fake. Possibly someone decided to put what they read in visual form. But the text info is definitely real.

now were cooking with gas! killer stuff rim is on the move man, look out - new things bust'n out

All this Storm stuff is getting nuts! Lets see some action from RIM on the U.S. version of OS 4.5! The rest of the world has it, yet their largest consumer base is left behind in the dust? That is crazy!

I'm very excited for this phone, but just to let everyone know as far as I was told this phone has wifi. This will be the iphone killer. And because it's verizon it will have way better service.

So I can't wait for the Storm to come out, my one question is, RELEASE DATE?!?! I've been hearing Nov. 1st and Nov. 4th? anyone? confirm, deny?

And to those who say fake -
If the pics. are fake, they're fake, but its still gonna be AWESOME!!!

Well OS 4.5 has already been approved and ready to release on Verizon, we are just waiting on a date from our data engineers as to when it will be released.

VZ already has the pathetic "Get it Now" feature for all their phones running the VZ handset software. The only way I can see them offering anything in the way of a "BB App Store" is to port out all of their current pathetic "Get it Now" software and create versions that are compatible with BB (if that's even possible). If it isn't easy to incorporate what they already do, then I don't see them investing the time, effort and support to make this work like it should. Time will tell whether VZ or any other carrier is smart enough to see that they could stand to make a ton of money on 3rd party apps. if they would just do it right. I'd like to see the RIM business model/contract between the carriers and RIM regarding this. It all comes down to acountabiltiy and support.

Correct, I'm obviously not a programmer. But this even furthers my point that VZ wouldn't likely incorporate a supported J2ME environment (or other) in addition to their current BREW environment. I think Kevin is right, that's what the Crackberry apps store is for! http://crackberry.com/appstore

Personally I am pretty happy with the Crackberry App store shortcut on my BB!! That thing makes browsin' new apps fun and I can do it anywhere.

I don't realy see this as being a big success... because ultimately the carriers are going to be in control of the content in the store. That means little to no third-party apps... especially FREE ones.

I'm an IT director. I currently have a Palm 755p with Verizon but have been considering switching to AT&T just for the iPhone and because it supports Active Sync for MS Exchange.

Any idea if the Storm will support that or will we be stuck with BES again?

I hope Verizon doesn't disable GPS and only allow their VZNavigator for directions. It seems from this information though that they won't do that though :keeping fingers crossed:

Nobody might read this and someone might have said something of the sort, but as far as my Storm goes on VZ I use GPS with blackberry maps and Verizon's own app. So I'm not sure but to me it seems unlocked.

People are complaining about the network blocking 3rd party programs, but I thought (mind you I never used a blackberry before) blackberrys could install 3rd party apps? Hence the "Software Roundup" that often posts on this website.

The lady at my local verizon store is getting a storm on the 14 she said it will be availbe on the 14th. Why wouldnt they advertise that?

If she works at the store it may be she is getting the phone for some hands on training. That doesn't mean they will be selling the phones. VZW will advertise this phone more than 8 days in advance. I'm guessing the 14th is not going to happen for consumer purchase. End of Oct at the earliest. More likely the middle of Nov.

Unless there is a serious problem expect it before the holiday gift season. Its safe to bet on the phone arriving in less than 7 weeks.

Why is the iPhone and BB's app store seen as so innovative and on the cutting edge of technology. The T-mobile Sidekick has had an app-store on the phone for over 5 years.