Users who recently purchased a BlackBerry Bold 9900 or Torch 9810 may have been a little disappointed to see the available app memory only set at 189MB. If you’ve ever used an iPhone or Android device, you’re aware that many apps can be upwards of 50MB. This seemingly would make the 189MB be close to nothing. However, at the BBM Apps Hackathon event in NYC they gave the following clarification:
The 189 MB of free space refers to the application memory space, an area carved out of the eMMC where all the usual security checks are put in for apps – i.e. this is the space to which actual application COD files are installed. Practically speaking, if you look through the App World catalogue, you’ll find that few apps exceed 2 MB in size and most are less than 1 MB in size. On BlackBerry, most apps simply don’t need much space. If you take Foursquare as an example, the app on BlackBerry is 790 KB where it’s at least triple that size on other major platforms, and arguably, with a richer feature set on BlackBerry.
The maximum size for an app is theoretically about 14-16 MB (7-8 MB of code, 7-8 MB of additional data [could be images, audio files, etc… basically, anything that isn’t Java code]). This is documented here: http://supportforums.blackberry.com/t5/Testing-and-Deployment/The-maximum-size-of-a-BlackBerry-smartphone-application/ta-p/502534
The only argument for larger memory space is 3D games. But, per the max app size limit, 7 MB for data is too small for them anyway (many games have 50 MB or more of images, textures, audio, etc). You could go beyond that 7 MB data limit via a series of libraries, but then you’re starting to take a large chunk out of that 189 MB. As such, for full featured 3D titles like 3D Roller Coaster Rush Jurassic 2, we worked with the vendor to download the game data separate from the COD files for the game logic. More specifically, from App World, the user will be able to download the COD files for the app, which make up the core game logic. This download is only a few MBs in size / only consumes a very small portion of the user’s available application memory. When running the game for the first time, the game will then download all the rest of its game files, be it images, textures, audio, or whatever else. This download is done in a manner that is cost-sensitive to the user’s data plan, using WiFi only, which is especially relevant for users who are not on unlimited data plans or for users who live in regions where data rates are such that 50 MB downloads over carrier networks are not practical. The downloaded game files are then saved to the user’s regular media storage, allowing the app to be as graphically rich as it wishes, without negatively impacting the user’s available application memory space.
It’s great to see RIM has opened up developers who create rich, 3D games to use the expandable memory of an SD card. A similar option is used for hefty file sized games on other platforms. Hopefully more developers will take advantage of this new feature in BlackBerry 7 and we’ll see more 3D-enabled BlackBerry games. You can see an example of a 3D game on a BlackBerry in our Torch 9810 hands-on video here.