RIM Keeps Ramping Up for App World 2.0 Launch

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) knows that it has to put on its game face for the smartphone battle ahead. A considerable part of the strategy is the upcoming release of BlackBerry App World 2.0 and RIM is doing quite a bit to improve the quality and availability of development toolset to encourage the producers of 3rd party applications to keep churning out quality apps for its store.  Yesterday I mentioned the steps that RIM has taken to keep support strong despite the very low (approximately 7,000) applications available. Part of the problem is the lack of compatibility and support between all of the company’s handsets and this is exactly why the maker of the BlackBerry has just rolled out a new version of its theme building software for developers.

“So?” you might be thinking. Well bare with me for a second here. If you have a new BlackBerry Pearl 3G, a BlackBerry Bold 9650 or a BlackBerry Curve 8910, then this is important:

Developers were previously unable to build themes for those three phones with the software.

“What?!” might be your next thought. Yes, RIM kind of previously dropped the ball on this one and did not bother to pick it back up. Actually, the company kicked the ball under the couch and hoped that we would not catch the blunder.

The development cycle for the BlackBerry platform is already notoriously difficult. RIM has not been keeping up with its end of the de facto agreement that a smartphone maker shares with its developers. Realizing this, the company has begun to fix the problem. Because in all honesty, if a multibillion dollar smartphone maker cannot keep up-to-date with the development tools that it releases and supports, why would a software company take the risks?

The theme building software in question is the BlackBerry Theme Studio 5.0—that just received its Service Pack 1 update. From RIM’s website: “The BlackBerry Theme Studio is a free suite of graphics design tools that allows graphics designers, software developers and hobbyists to create colorful and interactive BlackBerry smartphone themes, mobile websites, splash screens, graphics and animated content that are optimized for the BlackBerry smartphone.” Okay RIM, now that you have acknowledged that you dropped the ball and have picked it back up, expect you to run with it.

One last note: this should fix the problem that users of the Pearl 3G, Bold 9650 and Curve 8910 have had. Incompatible themes show up on the BlackBerry App World for those devices. Nothing quite like wasting a few dollars on a new theme for your phone, only to find out that it does not work despite the website’s incorrect claims.

If you have had the problem, let me know.

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