I’ve gotten involved in a new venture providing mobile app development services to all sorts of companies and decided its a good time to move my blog over to the company site. So from now on you can find my posts at Appesque.com/blog.
Hope you continue to read and stay in touch.
Josh Sookman did a follow-up post on his blog about improving app stores and I thought it worth sharing. I’ve commented on the Enterprise app stores portion in his blog but perhaps the more interesting part lies with improvements which can be made today with the consumer facing stores. I completely agree with Josh’s thoughts wrt a more stable App World, deployed to the masses and with a strong payment system. However I see these as incremental enhancements to the product which RIM will *hopefully* get right quickly. RIM have already announced improvements to payment options coming this year so when thats fleshed out we’ll see if they are able to compete with the simplicity that is iTunes payments. Subscriptions is a no-brainer of course, hopefully opening up more business models.
Whats hidden in this conversation is a problem I’ve written about in the past. Its a problem common to both Android and BlackBerry but solved by the fresh ground-up approach of the iPhone OS. In short, installing more than a few apps on a BlackBerry will start to give you headaches. Despite the archiving solution RIM put in place (which is just a quick hack) its not a solid future-proof solution to make your platform app friendly. Therefore, RIM, please solve this issue in 2010 before its too late. There is momentum building across the BlackBerry community right now, I hear people talk about developing cool BlackBerry apps every day (something I’ve rarely heard in my 8 years developing for BlackBerry) so don’t disappoint by sticking with an old architecture for too long!
I agree with a lot of what Josh Sookman says in his recent post on the BlackBerry experience, certainly as a developer there are several challenges for RIM to work on:
UPDATE: To clear up any misunderstandings, Josh contacted me to rightly point out that his blog post linked above represents his personal opinion and not that of the BlackBerry Partners Fund.
So I wakes up this morning, and feeling good I tries out the new Seesmic for BlackBerry app. App World has it available now so after a quick download I was ready to fire her up.. until it throws a dialog asking me to review the permissions changes for Seesmic – if you read Fred Wilson’s article I linked to yesterday you’ll understand my disappointment at this stage – but me being the patient type I changes one of the settings from Allow mode to Prompt, it was for access to the Phone by Seesmic – which unless they plan to call-in my tweets it doesn’t need! Its just laziness from developers to ask for all security permissions when they could restrict it to necessary roles only. Anyways, after I made this one change for the phone access, I saved the settings and got the following screen – indefinitely!! BlackBerry is frozen (as if it wasn’t cold enough outside) no buttons work, not even the power button. HOSED. Nothing left to do but pull the battery and wait an age to restart the device. Then all is fine until I decides to push my luck and try again with Seesmic after the reboot – same problem. DOUBLE HOSED.
Look RIM, I know its freezing in Waterloo these days and winter is pretty rough over there but there is no need to freeze everyones BlackBerry. How about you stop messing with consumers on the whole security settings lark and be done with it. There are two types of consumers – those that think security is good (5%) and those who couldn’t give a fiddles (the rest). The 5% don’t want frozen devices.
To finish my morning rant – I did manage to get Seesmic up and running when I didn’t make any changes to the security permissions. So now I can look forward to my twitter followers listening into my phone calls?
Seesmic, RIM why don’t you two have a good fireside chat and come back to me (preferably with some hot chocolate) when your ready with a fix. I don’t really blame you Seesmic, your not the first app to want all permissions, but still.
Oh, it gets better – so I’ve just started Seesmic – first thing it says to me – There is a newer version available, download it? NOOOOO STOP messing with my fragile little mind.
I’m not going to add to the tonnes of material already out there on the GooglePhone, see TC for the best articles on it and the evolving story.
I’m more interested in the unlocked aspect of this topic. There is another interesting snippet from Fred Wilson where he states people are happy to buy unlocked phones in the US. This may well be true in a country where network quality differs quiet a lot. However as a resident of Belgium, we HAVE to buy unlocked phones – its a legal issue here – carriers can’t subsidize phones which I think is pretty bad for the consumer when it comes to adopting the latest smartphones – you get charged €575 (well north of $650) for an unlocked iPhone in Belgium and then you gota pay a data rate plus voice plan – at same rates as elsewhere. Compare that to the Netherlands where you can get iPhones for less than €200 which comes with cheaper data/voice plans! Our carriers are pretty good in most cases, its fair to say most European carriers are quiet competitive in coverage and quality now, so there is less excuse for getting unlocked phones.
So this leads us to Googles plans for selling directly. If they don’t subsidize the phone somehow, I can’t see it selling in many European countries where subsidies are normal and network coverage is strong. They could price cut the phone in many ways, advertising being one or just not taking a profit on the hardware would be a close second perhaps. Thats could be very aggressive, if Google sell at cost then the thing should come in unlocked at a similar price to the subsidized competitors, but thats a tough pill to swallow for the hardware partners signed up to Android.
For the sake of all the Belgians out there, lets hope Google sell a well priced unlocked phone so we can taste Android without the bad after-taste.
Fred Wilson expresses his desire of BlackBerry very well in his post linked below, by saying the physical form factor and keyboard are the reasons he sticks with BlackBerry devices. So its a hardware thing. Certainly if there was a webkit browser it looks like many more people would be staying or adopting BB. Of course, the teenager perspective is important too, with BB Messenger being the killer app for his daughters – thats fantastic although only realistic in the countries where BB has hit critical mass – to me thats North America only. However you see it though there is a few compelling reasons for people to stick with BlackBerry which can only be good for us developers.
Nice to see other people with similar thoughts on the subject, heres hoping RIM are listening and acting.
oh and P.S. RIM: get App World pushed out to everyone, STAT!