Review: BlackBerry App World [Update 2]


RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis is slated to take the stage later today in Las Vegas at the CTIA show and all eyes will be focused on RIM’s answer to Apple’s App Store. While we wished that RIM had held off on the launch of BlackBerry App World until Lazaridis’ little talk, there’s nothing that could have prevented this announcement from hitting at midnight. So, ladies and germs, I present to you BlackBerry App World. Please ensure that you have a PayPal account, OS 4.2 or higher and a trackball or SurePress touch screen (aka Storm) BlackBerry before proceeding.

I must say that BAW is laid out much better than the initial screen shots that RIM released many months ago. But before we dive into it, you should probably download the BAW storefront. Simply navigate here or here from your BlackBerry Browser and experience the awesomeness that is BAW. A circle icon with the BlackBerry emblem will appear on your desktop.

The BAW homescreen features four icons across the bottom and “Featured Items” which can be navigated through by scrolling left or right. The first icon – a set of folders with a blue tab – is your Categories folder where you can search for apps by genres such as Games, Music and Video, or Personal Health and Wellness. Next to the Categories icon is the Top Downloads section (25) – denoted by a starred folder – of BAW that tells you which apps you are most popular. You can also search for applications by clicking on the magnifying glass icon; search works within categories as well.

The download process is simple and straightforward, but we still hate the fact that RIM wasn’t able to implement a backend payment structure of their own. I just don’t trust PayPal and I know lots of folks (besides myself) who have had issues with them over the years. Anyway, clicking on any app that tickles your fancy will present you with the following options: Download, Reviews or Screenshots. I don’t think I need to go into detail or describe what each of these entail, but I will tell you that when you purchase a free application you’ll be taken directly to My World (we’ll get to this in a second), but if it’s a paid app you’ll be asked to sign into PayPal before proceeding.

Now that we’ve searched through apps and purchased a couple or downloaded all the free apps, you’ll want to hit up that last icon with the outline of a person or My World. In My World you can keep tabs on all the apps that you’ve downloaded, write reviews, recommend or uninstall apps. A nice feature about My World is that you can virtually host apps that you might not use all the time without actually having the app downloaded to the device. If you want to reinstall an app that you previously deleted, you just need to log back into PayPal and voila.

We’ll update this post once BAW goes live with a full list of available apps, which might not happen until later today. Please refresh every few minutes as we continue to add apps.


Featured Apps (11)

Viigo for BlackBerry – Free
Yahoo Messenger – Free
Facebook – Free
Bloomberg – Free
Texas Hold’em King 3 – $5.99
MySpace – Free
AOL Instant Messenger – Free
Brain Challenge 2: Stress Management – $4.99
New York Times Crosswords – Classics Vol 1 – $4.99
Google Talk – Free
ICQ – Free

Entertainment (9)

PhoneyFart – $2.99
Fart Storm – $2.99
Mobile Bartender – $4.99
ELLE – Free
ELLEgirl – Free
ELLEgirl Latina- Free
People Mobile – Free
Premiere – Free
Woman’s Day – Free

Games (126)

Arcade & Action (37)
Card & Casino (29)
Puzzles & Mind Teasers (32)
Sports (10)
Strategy & Board (18)

Maps & Navigation (8)

Text2C – Free
ConnectorLocal – Free
GPS Tracker – Free
Geocache Navigator Free Trial – Free
SOS-GPS – $2.99
Telmap Navigator – Free
Trimble Outdoors Free Trial – Free
e-Mobile GPS Companion – $19.99
NIM Gokivo Navigator – $9.99
TeleNav GPS Navigator – $99.99 (1-year unlimited service for the Storm, 8330, 8130 and 8830)

Music & Video (10)

Shazam – Free (Enhanced version is $4.99 after May 31)
Relaxing Sounds – $2.99
FlipSide MP3 Player – $19.99
Flycast – Free
Hip Hop Official by GoTV – $4.99
MP3 Ringtone Creator – $4.99
MajiPlayer – $9.99
Nobex Radio Companion – Free
Pandora – Free
Slacker Radio for BlackBerry – Free

News & Weather (17)

Viigo for BlackBerry – Free
AP News – $2.99
Boston News Web Shortcut – Free
CBS News – Free
ELLE Canada Mobile – Free
Fox Business Bookmark – Free
Fox News Alert – Free
Fox News Bookmark – Free
Handy Weather for BlackBerry – $17.99
Maclean’s – Free
Newsweek – Free
Noticias de AP – $2.99
Slate Magazine – Free
The New York Times Politics News Notifier – Free
The New York Times Web Shortcut – Free
Washington Post- Free
WindTrack – $6.99

Personal Finance & Banking (9)

A Personal Assistant Premium – $9.99
EzQuote – $10.99
Market Simplified – Free
Mobile Checkbook – $9.99
TheStreet – Free
Tipper – $4.99
iStockManager – Free
trackIT: Expense Edition – $14.99
trackIT: Vehicle Edition – $14.99

Personal Health & Wellness (9)

Army Body Fat Calculator – $11.99
AllSport GPS Free Trial – Free
Calorie Count Nutrition Search – Free
Canadian Living – Free
ECG Guide – $7.99
Fast Food Calorie Counter – $4.99
FitDeck Mobile – $14.99
Health Diet Manager – $19.99
vClinic Mobile Health – Free

Productivity & Utilities (88)

Clocks Calculators & Utilities (29)
Document Management (8)
On-the-Go Productivity (20)
Personal Organization (30)

Professional & Business (14)

Bloomberg – Free
AlertMatrix – $29.99
BigHand – Free
BillableGoal – $7.99
Biz TrackIt – $39.99
RepliGo Reader – $19.99
ReportAway – $29.99
SalesNOW – Free
SalesForce Mobile – Free
The New York Times DealBook Notifier – Free
WebMessenger Message Alerts – $6.99
Wireless Database Viewer Plus – Free
pMDsoft – Free
powerOne Finance Calculator – $29.99

Reference & eBooks (22)

BEIKS English Dictionary and Thesaurus – $19.99
Berlitz Basic Dictionary Chinese – $19.99
Berlitz Basic Dictionary French – $19.99
Berlitz Basic Dictionary German – $19.99
Berlitz Basic Dictionary Italian – $19.99
Berlitz Basic Dictionary Spanish – $19.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) French – $2.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) German – $2.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) Italian – $2.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) Multilingual – $2.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) Spanish – $39.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) UK English – $2.99
Duden Corrector mobile (DCM) US English – $2.99
HNHSoft Advanced English Dictionary – $19.99
HNHSoft Advanced Chinese Talking Dictionary – $49.99
HNHSoft Advanced English French Dictionary – $29.99
HNHSoft Advanced English German Dictionary – $29.99
HNHSoft Advanced English Italian Dictionary – $29.99
HNHSoft Advanced English Spanish Dictionary – $29.99
Kaplan GRE Exam Vocabulary Flashcards – $4.99
gFlashPro Flashcards – $2.99
gRefPro Reference Guides – $2.99

Social Networking & Sharing (17)

MySpace – Free
Facebook – Free
Windows Live Messenger – Free
Yahoo Messenger – Free
Google Talk – Free
ICQ – Free
AOL Instant Messenger – Free
ITookThisOnMyPhone – Free
BlipPlus from Blackline GPS – Free
CellSpin – Free
GypSii – Free
Loopt – Free
Postelly – Free
SwooshSMS – $4.99
VH1 Watch and Discuss – $2.99
Wauwee – Free
WikiMobile – $9.99

Sports & Recreation (36)

The Hockey News Mobile – Free
Maple Leafs – Free
Car and Driver – Free
Golf Tracks – $4.99
GreenFinder – $39.99 – Free – Free – Free
Basically every baseball team has their own app and it’s free

Travel (17)

WorldMate Live – Free
Auto TimeZone – $2.99
HRS Hotel Organizer – Free
Lonely Planet Czech Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet French Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet German Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet Italian Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet Japanese Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook – $9.99
Lonely Planet Vietnamese Phrasebook – $9.99
Taxi Magic by RideCharge – Free
TheFastPages – Free
Trapster – Free
Travel Genius – $2.99
WHERE – Free

Update: One problem that I think a lot of folks will encounter is the lack of on-board memory on most BlackBerry devices. Compared to the iPhone, you don’t have 8GB or 16GB of memory to work with on your BlackBerry. I’m adding as many free apps now to see what happens when the memory on my 8900 gets full. It’d be nice if RIM allowed you to store apps on external memory cards, but you might have to uninstall apps and store virtually as you go.

Update 2: It appears that some developers are allowing trials for paid apps and not just lite versions. Also, you can’t move the BlackBerry App World icon from your homepage.