BlackBerry App World Finally Gets a Makeover

Research In Motion’s (RIM) App World app store has gotten another redesign and this one might actually do the trick. Remember how amazing the transition to BlackBerry App World 2 was? Me neither.

The newly designed BlackBerry App World looks even more like Apple’s iTunes than before. You could call this the real version of App World 2 that RIM promised. Via a web browser plug-in, you can even sync apps you buy through the website right to your smartphone.

So what does the site offer now besides just carrier billing? You have your standard ‘Top Free’ and ‘Top Paid’ sections. Apps are rated via a 5 star system and you can even write reviews. The whole experience feels very iTunes like. I would call that a good thing.

You will need to create an online ID to start using the redesigned website and like I mentioned before, and you will be prompted to install a plug-in to get the website to work with your BlackBerry. QR barcodes are present in the store too, so if you see an app you like, you can just scan its barcode with your smartphone’s camera and go about getting the app that way. Apps are also much more organized now, with 20 categories to browse.

The big question is whether or not the changes are enough and if they are simply just too late. App World is still floating around the 10,000 app number while Android has passed 100,000 apps and iOS is in the 300,000 app ballpark. RIM has a ton of work to do to get developers excited about the platform. Competing, third party app stores for BlackBerry are not going to help.

It is good to see that RIM has not forgotten about apps though. Both RIM and Adobe are very excited about the possibilities of QNX’s BlackBerry Tablet OS that will eventually transition from the PlayBook to RIM’s line of smartphones. In fact, Adobe’s AIR platform should ease development. The only problem is, owners of current BlackBerry models might be left in the dark.

While Adobe does want to bring Flash and AIR to the BlackBerry (an AIR SDK is already out for the unreleased PlayBook), there has been no word on a release date. Adobe AIR lets app developers build one app and then it does all of the heavy lifting. Developers who write apps using AIR and Flash can simply rebuild them for each smartphone platform. Without Flash and AIR on current BlackBerry models, literally tens of thousands of apps will never get to see the light of day on BlackBerry OS 5 or 6.

Let me know what you think. Try out the new App World yet?

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