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RIM offers up new services to help app developers

Nov. 10, 2009 (10:59 am) By: Brian Osborne

storm21-241x440This week marked the start of the BlackBerry Developer Conference which led to a number of announcements by Research In Motion (RIM). One of these was a services platform that will help developers build better, more profitable apps.

In order to assist developers in generating revenue with advertising, RIM will offer the BlackBerry Advertising Service in the first half of 2010. Using the service, developers will no longer have to simply sell an app to generate income. Apps will also be able to be monetized through the BlackBerry Payment Service, launching mid-2010, which enables the offering of subscriptions as well as additional levels of content within an app. We also learned that BlackBerry Push Service will allow for delivery of time-sensitive alerts and up to 8k of data.

Devs looking to add location-based services into their app will be able to select from new services. The Cell Site Geolocation service will help to locate a handset using cell tower triangulation. The solution, which supports BlackBerry OS 5.0, is perfect for indoors and does not use the same battery power as GPS solutions. Reverse Geocoding, which is now available, allows for geolocation coordinates to be converted into an address for use by applications. Those applications looking to estimate travel time in the U.S. and Canada will be able to use the new travel time service.

Read more at the RIM press release

Brian’s Opinion

There is nothing RIM would like more than to have a a robust developer community. One way to do that is by offering services that make it easier for developers to create apps. Of those announced the two services that should really attract developers for the platform are the Advertising Service and the Payment Service. The BlackBerry Advertising Service could spur the development of a number of free applications or at least significantly reduce their costs. The BlackBerry Payment Service will lead to a whole new generation of subscription-based apps.

The location-based services will really open the door for a wide selection of new navigational and travel aids. Many people underestimate the value of cell site geolocation–with it, applications no longer have to be outside for location awareness. It’s a big deal considering how often phones are used indoors.

Add these all up and RIM is one step closer to turning BlackBerry App World into a business version of the Apple iTunes store. And that’s a good idea. The Apple iPhone exploded the moment developers began to be able to offer applications for it and RIM would love for the BlackBerry to have the same success… or at least something competitive.

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