More BlackBerry app store details emerge

RIM fleshes out the structure of the BlackBerry application storefronts at the first-ever BlackBerry Developer Conference in Silicon Valley.


SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Mike Lazaridis, Research In Motion's co-founder and co-CEO, has just given the 700 registered developers at the first-ever BlackBerry Developer Conference sound but strange advice. The key to successful BlackBerry development isn't just good programming, Lazaridis told the room, it's physics.

Very specific physics, it turns out. Lazaridis pointed to an image of a box with the words Bandwidth, Capacity, Performance, and Battery Life, written in each corner. These are the four principles of BlackBerry's "physics," he said. If developers push too hard to achieve high broadband speeds, for instance, capacity drops. On individual devices, there is a trade-off between battery life and performance.

"This is one box that it's wise not to think outside," Lazaridis joked.

Lazaridis' insight is one reason that scores of developers have gathered at the Silicon Valley conference. Another is meeting with technical experts for hands-on advice to ready their applications for the sleek BlackBerry Bold and touch-screen BlackBerry Storm--slated to hit stores within the next few weeks--and for the BlackBerry application store--anticipated to debut in March 2009.

The on-device BlackBerry Application Center and online BlackBerry Application Storefront will make it easier for the 20 million BlackBerry users on all platforms to find and download add-on applications for their specific phone models.

RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis
RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis RIM

Applications for AOL, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Gmail, and Windows Live Hotmail are among others soon available; developers can also submit their code for inclusion in the store as early as December.

Application authors will get to keep 80 percent of the proceeds, RIM said in a statement, while the other 20 percent goes, presumably, to RIM and to the carriers, when users download applications from the carrier-controlled store on their phone.

RIM also announced an in-progress partnership with PayPal that makes the online bill pay company likely as the prevailing payment system for purchases made on the online Blackberry Application Storefront.

BlackBerry's browser forms another part of the application story. The version 4.6 browser packaged in the BlackBerry Bold, for instance, will operate much more like a desktop browser, with greater support for CSS, Ajax, HTML, XHTML, and DOM L2 code. This is a move that RIM hopes will attract even more application developers to populate the online and on-device stores, particularly those more experienced in programming to Web standards.