Blackberry Launches App Store

Blackberry has finally launched its app store for smartphones. “They’re incredibly important [the apps]”, says Jim Balsillie, the CEO of Research In Motion (RIM). RIM is feeling the pressure from Apple, which has enjoyed a relatively large success for its app store with 800M downloads, so far. That’s not all: Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and others are all creating app stores as well.

I have been a Blackberry user for the past couple of years, mainly because I get a really cheap data access when I travel abroad ($20/mo) and because my (T-Mobile) phone supports UMA, which saves me hundreds of dollars in roaming fees during my trips.

I found the BB store to be OK, even if it’s a bit slow, but there’s not much to download right now (Pandora is cool, though). May be the issue is not with the store, but with the application development. The iPhone has generated a lot of enthusiasm from developers because it’s fun, it has hardware accelerated graphics and the accelerometer. Arguably, a good chunk of the “cool apps” rely on this. Now, I’m all for downloading a “password vault” app, but frankly, it’s a bit boring.

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