Smartphone Owners Pan BlackBerry App Store's Starting Price

RIM surprised a lot of people this week by announcing that apps sold in the soon-to-launch Blackberry App World online store will start at US$2.99 instead of competing with Apple's model, which allows 99 cent apps.

Blackberry developer forums have been relatively quiet about the announcement, but many smart phone owners have panned RIM's pricing structure, which starts with free apps, then jumps directly to $2.99 and tiers up in $1 increments until topping out at $9.99.

Boy Genius called it "horrible" and predicted it will only "harm App World and interest in BlackBerry apps in general...There simply isn't that high of a demand as there is for Apple's App Store or even Nokia's upcoming Ovi store."

Many commenters on Boy Genius agreed. Wrote Perspective: "On 'App World,' fail. Developers will have to either pick a device to support (Curve? Bold? Storm?), or develop for more than one (of course the latter choice would drive up costs quite a bit.) Then, they have to pay $200 to put the app on, and then charge at least $2.99 if they charge anything. Compare that to iPhone development: one OS for 17 million devices that all have essentially the same equipment, no fee to place an app in the store, and greater app flexibility. Oh, and the App Store has already sold more than 500 million apps. Not a tough call."

A few praised RIM's decision as better than combing through hundreds of "junky" 99-cent apps as iPhone users have to do in the Apple App Store. 1adonis1 wrote, "This is going to be sweet. I get tired of rumbling through crackberry.com to find apps. I hope the pricing keeps the fart apps and simple games out."

RIM is obviously hoping that its pricing scheme will encourage developers to aim higher and avoid the cheapening effect of low prices that some Apple developers have complained about in the past. RIM might also be listening to analysts who have warned that cheap mobile apps are a poor long-term strategy.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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