It's straightforward to get started with BlackBerry App World and the range of apps already on offer is impressive. On the downside, some of the apps proved tricky to get up and running, and I would have preferred to get access to a UK-only version.
Easy to set up and use; good range of apps available.
Some apps difficult to troubleshoot; no access to UK-only version.
Free; range of prices for individual apps
I’ve been trying out the BlackBerry App World service from Research in Motion, which became available in the UK earlier this month.
The initial set-up was really easy, I just visited the mobile App World site from my BlackBerry browser and downloaded the executable from there. Alternatively, you can connect your BlackBerry to your PC via a USB cable and download the client directly from the main App World site; or you can enter your BlackBerry email address and have the link sent there.
Users wanting to try out App World will require a device with a trackball or touch screen running version 4.2 or higher of the BlackBerry software and access to the BlackBerry Browser. It’s currently only available to users in the UK, the US and Canada. I use a BlackBerry Bold, which falls within these requirements.
Once downloaded, the software installed an App World icon in my Downloads folder. On launch, the main screen displays a large image and one of 11 featured items across the top two-thirds of the screen. Moving the trackball left or right lets you scroll through the other chosen apps. At the bottom of the screen are four small icons.
The first is a Categories folder, which divides all the applications into 13 main categories, including Travel, News & Weather, and Professional & Business, alongside the number of apps available in each one. Doing a quick tally there were around 750 apps overall, although some of these may have been duplicated across different categories. Games and Productivity & Utilities had the most apps, with 212 and 166 respectively; these categories were also sub-divided into folders such as Voice Dictation (which has seven apps, in case you’re curious) and Personal Organization (49 apps).
The next icon at the bottom of the home screen is Top Downloads, which contains 25 of the most popular apps available. I assume these are listed by number of times downloaded as opposed to quality, as several of the top apps were given only 2.5 or 3 out of 5 stars.
The most popular app at the time was Viigo for BlackBerry, which is designed to offer a single point for all your preferred information specially formatted for the device. Other entries in the top 25 included Windows Live Messenger, a golfing game, song finder Shazam and a Google Quick Search tool. Unsurprisingly, 24 of the top 25 apps were free to download, the sole exception being a $4.99 (£3.40)message alert tool coming in at number 23.
The other two icons are for a Search bar, where you can enter the name or type of app you’re looking for, and a My World folder, which stores all of your downloaded apps.