With the much anticipated release of Research In Motion's (RIM) touch screen BlackBerry Storm last week came another significant component in the RIM smartphone ecosystem: The BlackBerry Application Center.
A new, on-device path for BlackBerry software distribution, the BlackBerry Application Center is meant to rival Apple's iTunes App Store, which offers a variety of mobile software for the iPhone. Like Apple, RIM plans to eventually offer both on-device and Web-based versions, and in March 2009, the BlackBerry maker is expected to launch the Web-based edition: The BlackBerry Application Storefront.
The main difference between the two RIM offerings, besides the fact that one's on-device and the other is not, is the fact that wireless carriers—in this case, Verizon—will populate App Centers, while RIM itself is expect to organize and maintain the App Storefront.
Check out the video below to see the new BlackBerry Application Center in action on the Storm 9530 from Verizon Wireless that I've been using for a few days now. My early verdict: Good stuff, but I think the App Center's long term success depends on whether or not RIM and its carrier partners can work with developers and software vendors to ensure that the latest and greatest apps—not just the boring ol' standbys—make it onto the App Center's virtual shelves.
For more on the BlackBerry Application Center, as well as the as-of-yet unavailable BlackBerry App Storefront, read "BlackBerry App Storefront, Coming in '09: What's In It for Users?"