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 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. :-)