Friday, April 03, 2009

RIM Launches Apps Store and Apple gets tough on Jailbreakers

Research In Motion's BlackBerry App World made launched on Wednesday, offering downloads of its initial stock of 1,000 applications. App stores were lifted into the top popularity draw with Apple's App Store for the iPhone. Now every device maker has one, is planning one or is in the cold.

Among the applications currently available are MySpace, Facebook, Salesforce CRM , AOL , Yahoo and Windows Live Messengers and much more.

Surprisingly, not all apps today are free and many users are spending money on getting their Apps. ABI Research found that 16.5% of their recent survey of smartphone users spent between US$100 and $499 on applications on their devices! So there is money for the right App.

Other Apps stores include ‘The Android Marketplace’ for the G1 phone and Nokia with Microsoft coming rather late to the party, but offering up a significant market with its mobile operating system’s penetration when it does come.

However, all is not plain sailing and Apple is taking a tougher stance on what developers can and cannot do with the development kit. Developers have to sign an agreement if they want to create content for Apple's App Store and most developers have complied. Apple now have added a few new clauses to the latest version of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. This now clearly prohibits "jailbreaking" a device, helping to jailbreak, or distributing apps in ways other than the App Store. Jailbreaking enables users to run apps in the background, change the home screen theme, and record video with the camera. Whilst the new clause is unlikely to stop iPhone developers who want to break it, it will make developers wary of the jailbreaking community because they risk being cut off from the App Store. It also give Apple a tighter control on who does what and where the revenue goes.

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