BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, had a tremendous opportunity with the launch of BlackBerry 10. Re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented was the title of the Press Release on January 30th. In this Press Release, BlackBerry said the following about BlackBerry World:
“The BlackBerry® World™ storefront, which now includes 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps and one of the most robust music and video catalogs in mobile today – with most movies coming to the store the same day they are released on DVD. In addition, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare apps for BlackBerry 10 are preinstalled, and BlackBerry 10 customers will have access to leading applications from across the globe. Leading application providers including Disney, Cisco, Foursquare, Skype and Rovio have committed to the platform.”
With the launch of BlackBerry10 and an ALL new BlackBerry Store front, they had the chance to revolutionize the mobile store front experience. Alas they came up short.
BlackBerry World COULD have been revolutionary. When BlackBerry World was released to the public back in February some of the basics were missing, as discussed on BerryReview and this very site N4BB. BlackBerry World is missing the a fundamental piece of the market place with no Coupon Codes or Gifting abilities. But while writing this story BlackBerry has addressed this issue as we reported yesterday BBOS10.1 Brings Coupon Codes to BBW.
But I am going to go beyond that. When asking a BlackBerry user what their most used app is, most will tell you BBM. When asked what makes BBM their IM of choice it’s hard to put it into words. BBM is more than just an IM app, it is almost a social network rolled into an IM app, rolled into a notification tool. And even that isn’t really doing BBM justice as it is getting more features packed into it. Now, I bring up BBM because BlackBerry has a focus on BBM connectivity and the social connectedness of the BlackBerry platform.
BlackBerry World (BBW) had the potential to bring this social connected element into the mobile market place in a way that is uniquely BlackBerry.
Here are a few elements I feel BlackBerry should have implemented into BBW:
Follow your BBM friends’ activity within BBW
- Being able to see your BBM friends within BlackBerry World is possible with BBID connectivity. So, the missed opportunity here was bringing the social element of BBM into this part of the BlackBerry ecosystem. BlackBerry is criticized for the lack of an ecosystem due to numbers, but it is the lower number of apps that make the implementation of such a system so much better. At the start, and as the catalog grows, the quality apps get promoted and shared through social media. While the likelihood of BlackBerry ever having the most apps is slim to none, having the BEST environment doesn’t have to be a dream.
- With Following your Friends inside BBW you see the apps, songs, movies, TV shows and books that your friends are enjoying. You are able to search the comments they made. Did they install the apps and then delete it because they hated it? Did they love it? Did they write a review?
- You know the friends who share your tastes and you can follow what they’ve been doing. Checking peoples BBM Profiles to see what Apps they are using breaks the flow of shopping for Apps.
Follow your favourite developers/publishers/artists
- Since the framework would exist allowing you to follow your BBM connections, the logical step would be to follow your favourite developers, publishers and artists. I like the developer
- so I’d like to follow him in BBW so if he releases a new app, I get notified. Maybe he updates an app I uninstalled due to lack of a feature and he addressed that, I get notified. Help developers engage the customers INSIDE BBW. Why make us do it via websites and support forums scattered all over the internet? BlackBerry could bring us all together, like no one has done before.
- I want to follow Alicia Keys so that if she releases a new single I can check it out. I don’t listen to radio stations that frequent her music, so getting a notification inside BBW would be perfect. Prompting me to buy, and share her new song/video/album maybe she writes an app? I’m following her I get to know about it. This is making music social! Something other platforms have failed to do, because they didn’t have BBM as their social foundation. We see what our friends are listening too and click to go to that song in BBW from BBM. Then while in BBW we discover new music because we’re checking out the artist or our contacts list, bringing the FLOW that BlackBerry 10 is about.
Create and share Lists/groups of Apps/Music/Movies/TV
- BBM Music allowed users to create play lists and share them with the connected friends. This is an amazing feature, and BBW would have it. If I purchased 30 songs and built my Ultimate running mix, I should be able to share it with the world. The people on my BBM list who are following me on BBW can choose to purchase all of the songs from that list. Or maybe I’ve got my top 10 Travel App selection, users could click and say “download them all” and the various EULAs need to be clicked through, and purchases made, but it is a simple get what you want quickly and socially.
- Because BlackBerry World is an all-encompassing world of Entertainment we’ve got Apps, Music, Movies and TV, (hopefully books get brought in soon) one needs a wishlist, so I know what songs, TV shows and apps my 11 year old niece wants.
- Coupon codes are being addressed with BlackBerry10.1 which is great news, but I want more than just coupon codes and gifting. Gifting needs to be tied to wishlists and, as someone who might be filling many wishlists, enter group buying.
- Developers want to sell apps, musicians want to sell songs, people want to save money. Enter group purchases, or bulk purchases, were I can purchase 10 copies of say Gamelofts Asphalt 7 Heat (
- to distribute to my friends so I have people to race against, with a single transaction it would be great to get a discount. And getting the discount encourages me to buy the group buys. Same goes for music, or a TV shows.
While I’ve complained here in this post about how BlackBerry missed an opportunity to revolutionize how we interact with mobile market places, it should be noted that BlackBerry DID makes things nice by having a single location for all my content with the exception of newsstand. BlackBerry is also making the effort to improve things as the update to BBW with BB10.1 will bring Coupon Codes. BlackBerry lets me enter my password once and I’m able to buy Music, Movies and Apps, all within the same Application. No longer must I tap out of the App place and tap into the music place, then tapping back out and in again between them. Also, I’ve not had to tie a Credit Card to my BBID for app purchases because BlackBerry has been gracious enough to give us Carrier Billing so I can just pay for my apps/music/TV every month when my phone bill comes in. This is one of my favourite options in the BlackBerry ecosystem, but I expected more from “Re-designed, Re-engineered and Re-invented”.