Verizon Pushes its Own BlackBerry App Store

Verizon Wireless wants its customers to use its own BlackBerry app store and the carrier has an advantage over Research In Motion’s own BlackBerry App World—it supports carrier billing. Called V Cast Apps, Verizon’s store is available on certain 3G BlackBerrys such as the Storm 2, Bold 9650, and Tour 9530 and the company is planning on enabling it for more phones in the near future. Research In Motion (RIM) does not force its BlackBerry customers to use its own Blackberry App World store and this might end up hurting the smartphone manufacturer in the long run.

While RIM is planning on releasing BlackBerry App World 2.0 soon, the current version of its store only allows purchases to be made through PayPal. Version 2 will add support for carrier billing and major credit cards. Verizon however has beaten RIM to the punch with this one. If BlackBerry users start using Verizon’s competing store in large numbers before App World 2.0 finally comes out, RIM might be out of luck.

A more fractured application delivery market might just be the last thing that RIM wants since its own store is struggling to compete with Apple’s and Google’s. Unfortunately, RIM started making smartphones a long time before Apple and Google got into the market and things have changed drastically since then. Phone manufacturers like Apple and OS providers like Google  have the advantage of being large, powerful players entering late in the game with the leverage to ensure that they have the majority of control when it comes to apps. RIM began when carriers had all of the power and apps were less of a selling point than they are now. I still remember when Palm software was purchased on CD and installed via a desktop application. Oh how far we have come with personal electronic devices.

The good news out of all of this is that now you have carrier billing for your BlackBerry app purchases if your phone is supported and you are with Verizon. RIM needs to step up its game and finally release everything that it has been promising or it might just get left in the dust as others pick up the slack. A cellular carrier just beat RIM to the market. How many more things like this can the company take?

Weigh in and let us know if BlackBerry App World 2.0 has been to slow or if Verizon is jumping the gun and its store will flop once RIM’s own updates.

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