Thursday, August 5, 2010

Developer Accounts...

Here I am this morning sitting in my chair, drinking my coffee and watching Warehouse 13 all the while pondering app stores... OK I know you're jealous over my exciting life, tonight, I'll figure out why the new cable box that I just got isn't working right, I might actually have to read a manual (which is a failure for those who created the box).

Any app stores, in playing with the app stores for Android (which I haven't done that much of), Apple (which I've done much more of) and BlackBerry (which scares the daylights out of me). The first two require a small purchase that can be done via any credit card, you can upload all kinds of apps, no limits, they also have decent methods for collecting money and paying it back to the user. They are also very well documented. The BlackBerry really surprised me though, it required a purchase that could only be done through a PayPal account. PayPal? Let's get real! They managed everything via DigitalRiver (which is OK, I just wish they found a better way to do it). From looking at BlackBerrys app development process, it's clearly a poorly thought out hodgepodge of technologies and processes. They are fighting to be in the app space, but their systems don't support it. As for their API much of what you want to do, can't be done before OS version 4.7.

In developing apps, I'd suggest you look at what will be around in the next 6 months and don't be afraid to tell users that they need to upgrade older equipment in order to use your app (especially if the equipment is over 2 years old).

Note that the Apple app store process is also confusing, but it's better documented both by Apple and other developers, the BlackBerry process is hidden by RIM and since there aren't many developers, it isn't well documented by the BlackBerry developers. Though don't count BlackBerry out, especially if you are developing for government or business, due to it's keyboard, messaging security, manageability, etc... it's a great business device, just because it's not a great app device doesn't mean it's not valuable.

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