Interview with RIM covering future of web-based apps versus native apps on Blackberry. RIM is helping on the web-based side but is committed to offering both. How Blackberry compares to iPhone? What about Push?
RIM TALKS BLACKBERRY APP INNOVATION
Yesterday at 1:24 pm
And also the blurring of the lines between downloadable apps and the mobile web.
Research In Motion is keen to encourage more developers to build innovative apps that tie into the BlackBerry platform, says Tyler Lessard, VP of global alliances and developer relations.
“We feel there's a lot more people can be doing in this environment than they're doing today,” he tells ME.
“We’re excited to bring more products to market that show what you can really do on this platform. We’ve been able to deliver an industry-leading experience in terms of real-time and push-based data delivery, and we want to start seeing more third-party apps taking on those same characteristics.”
RIM launched its BlackBerry App World store earlier this year, and Lessard says the company is very pleased with the results so far, with more than 2,500 apps now available.
“There’s a broad spectrum, and thankfully we are seeing strong adoption across all the categories, which is a good sign that users are interested,” he says, while also saying RIM is pleased with the reaction to its recently-launched web version of the App World.
Lessard straight-bats a question about comparing BlackBerry to iPhone – “we tend to measure ourselves against our own platform to be honest” – but it’s clear that RIM sees real-time push as one of its key advantages, despite Apple having debuted push notifications in its 3.0 software.
“If you look in the news space, vendors have apps on BlackBerry and on other platforms, but we are working very closely with them to ensure they’re using the push data capabilities on BlackBerry to offer real-time updates, rather than waiting for users to access content,” he says.
Push is also being used for other kinds of apps on BlackBerry, such as U2’s recently-released U2 Mobile Album app. “It has push capabilities, so users will be alerted when there is new content available, including blogs from the band,” says Lessard. “It’s leveraging that same capability.”
However, an interesting question is how Lessard sees the future for apps, given the opinion in some quarters – notably Google – that downloadable smartphone apps will be superceded by web apps in the coming years.
“It’s a challenging question, but how do you define what is an app versus what is the web?” he says. “Those lines are quickly blurring on many platforms. We continue to see developers investing in mobile-specific experiences for high-end smartphones, but whether that manifests itself as a thin-client app or a web-based app? The lines will continue to blur as time goes on.”
Interestingly, RIM is doing its bit to help developers create more advanced web apps for BlackBerry users, giving them the ability to push content down to the BlackBerry web browser while sending an alert to the user which then launches the browser.
“It’s the first step to enabling web-based content to be thought of as an application, because you're actually getting a notification to the device, where you click on it and it opens the web content,” he says.
“Those lines are already being blurred to some degree. So the notion of an app will absolutely continue to be important, whether it is built with web technologies or native programming technologies. We’re committed to investing in both technologies, but we don’t think we’ll move to a model where everything is web-based.”