The holiday gift-giving time is upon us. Whether you're preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah, or simply someone's birthday, finding that perfect gift can sometimes be difficult. Applications for your BlackBerry Smartphone should be an excellent choice, and we've always included apps in our CrackBerry Holiday Gift Guides. The trouble is, there's really no good way to get or send an application as a gift.
Hitting the BlackBerry Beta Zone today, BlackBerry App World 3.1 now offers that much-requested feature. Gifting and begging for applications from your BlackBerry Messenger contacts is but a few clicks away.
You'll first need to make sure you have the latest version of BlackBerry Messenger. App World is a BBM-connected application, and begging and gifting applications are done through the messaging application. Versions of BBM before 184.108.40.206 just won't cut it. If you're not sure if you need to upgrade, just try begging for an application. App World will prompt you to install and connect the latest version of BBM if you need it. Both the person requesting an application and the person you hope will be paying for it need to have App World 3.1 installed and connected to BBM first.
Requesting that someone else pay for your application is simple. In App World 3.1, it's called Begging. I like that terminology; it really makes you think about actually asking for an application (and being nice when you do so).
Find an application you'd like to receive. Next to the price of the application, you'll see a gift button. Click/tap that button to start the begging process. You can also select Beg from the menu. From the list, select one of your BBM contacts who might be kind enough to buy an app for you. You'll get the chance to include a personal plea for your app; then click/tap "Send Gift Request" to send the missive on its way.
Approving a gift request is as easy as clicking/tapping the View Gift Request button in the BBM message. Our CrackBerry Team had a little trouble with this feature, but as this is a beta release, some troubles are to be expected. Clicking View Gift Request will launch App World and give you the option of accepting or declining the request. I decided to be nice and give Adam that app he asked for.
Approving the request works just like purchasing an app for yourself. You will most probably be asked to enter your BlackBerry ID information and then asked to approve the purchase amount. Your gift purchase will be charged to your account just like any other app purchase.
A few moments later, the person requesting the application will get a BBM message saying you've approved the gift. Clicking the Open button will take them to where they can download the application free of charge (for them).
As of this writing, it doesn't appear that you can outright give a person an application without them asking for it first. A person can only beg/request an application if it is available to run on his/her device. If you just gave someone an app, there is the risk that it might not be compatible with the device, the operating system, or their country. App World 3.1 is still in beta, and that feature may be added at a later time.
It will be interesting to see how well gift giving will be received (seriously, no pun intended) in App World 3.1. I, for one, am a little squeamish about asking people to buy me things. Still, if someone asked me what applications I'd like for my BlackBerry Smartphone, I wouldn't hesitate to fill up their BBM with a few gift ideas.