Blackberry apps

One of the frustrating things about being a blackberry user (I've tried to move to iPhone twice and Droid twice) is that most of the stuff is there for an awesome mobile experience but RIM just makes it too damn hard to experience it.

A classic example of this is blackberry apps. I got a new blackberry last week (the bold 9700: awesome phone) and have been putting my favorite apps on it.

So far, I have:

Socialscope
Google Maps
Blackberry Messenger
Blackberry App World
Pandora
Slacker

I also have a beta version of an app from one of our portfolio companies but I've been asked not to talk about that.

App World isn't as slick as the iPhone app store but it works well. Only problem is it didn't come pre-installed on my phone. How can that be? If you want to compete with Apple, you have to at least bring your 'A game' right out of the box.

While I'm on the topic of the app store, I think its fantastic that Blackberry allows developers to provide downloads of their apps directly from the mobile web. I used App World for some of my apps and the mobile web for others. Both modes work, especially for free apps.

My biggest beef with blackberry apps is the popups they create around trust and security. Its confusing as hell to me to figure out what boxes to check and when to say yes and when to say no. It's like the privacy hell Facebook is putting its users through right now. More options and checkboxes is not better.

Maybe its because of apple's rigorous (and long) approval process, but iPhone apps don't put users through all this trust and security nonsense and I think Blackberry ought to fix this problem.

It's really bad for mobile apps that use a lot of third party apis (something we'll see a lot more of in the near future). Each time the mobile app makes a call to a new api, you get the damn popups. Its a painful experience. And if you want to reset the application permissions, good luck finding the settings to do that which are buried three levels down in advanced settings.

I could go on and on but I'll stop my critique in hopes of keeping this post brief.

Once you get the apps installed and working right, the experience is incredible. Blackberry supports multitasking and so I'm listening to Pandora and BBM'ing at the same time I am writing this post (on my blackberry of course).

The phone is great, the software is powerful, but the browser is awful and the entire user experience is too complicated. Blackberry can and should fix this because iPhone and Droid are coming on strong, even in Blackberry's core enterprise market, and they don't have a big window of time to get it right.

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