Seems to be a day for app store news: The online version of BlackBerry App World is now live, allowing BlackBerry owners to surf the store from any decent web browser and email links to apps to themselves. Yes, you read that last part correctly. If you want to buy an app from the web store, you must enter your email address and send a link to yourself.
Okay, I think I understand why this is necessary. Purchases are made via PayPal, which requires the use of an email address, so this system basically puts that requirement upfront. This also applies to free apps, like Pandora, so I’m guessing they’re just trying to maintain a unified buying experience, though I’m not sure that’s the best approach when the buying experience is so lame.
This wrinkle, combined with their $2.99 minimum price point, forces me to really question their decision to use PayPal as their payment processing system. PayPal is great if you don’t do a lot of volume and/or can’t afford a monthly processing fee. I believe it fills a vital niche.
But why would a company as big as RIM want it for their app store? They have millions of users. Surely they can afford to absorb the short-term losses of credit card processing until more of those users become App World customers. While I question whether Palm should be more aggressive with their app catalog, I’m almost certain RIM’s approach is not aggressive enough.
That said, I don’t have a BlackBerry to check this. For all I know, emailing a link to yourself is an awesome way to buy apps on a BlackBerry. Or maybe the interface is different on a BB. If anybody can test it out, please let us know.