BlackBerry app developers given new tools to take on Apple and Android

Having launched a new front end; the BlackBerry App World 2.0, RIM has announced a range of new features to help developers make the most of the range of BlackBerry smartphones on the market.

Boasting big figures, the BlackBerry App world, which launched 18 months ago, now has over 35 million users that between them download 1.5 million apps every day.

Playing catch up against the likes of Apple and Android, the key new feature RIM is using to lure developers to the platform is the ability to make money by placing adverts within their apps.

The new RIM BlackBerry Advertising service will take just three lines of code to implement and like Apple's iAd platform allow developers to earn 60 per cent of all ad revenue without lifting a finger.

"Developers can quickly integrate advertising into their applications, while leveraging RIM's relationships with Ad networks", claims the company.

RIM is promising easy integration and support for Rich Media advertising, which it hopes will result in more free apps that still allow developers to earn money.

Elsewhere RIM has confirmed that it's created a new in app payment API service that allows it to charge for additional content or features in app.

RIM has also confirmed that it has teamed up with Webtrends to launch a free Blackberry Analytics Service, which offers developers deep insight into how customers are using its BlackBerry smartphone applications in the coming months.

Developers can track application use, frequency use, loyalty of users, screens accessed and features used.

The final lure is the announcement of a new BlackBerry Messenger. The new BBM software will now come with the ability to allow developers to leverage the power and popularity of BlackBerry Messenger by weaving BBM functions into their app.

With 2000 people signing up per hour to BBM, RIM is hoping that it will be a great way to entice people into the fold, something that other mobile operating systems don't have.

"It will bring more social interaction into apps, making apps more fun, more usable, and more talked about", said Tyler Lessard, VP alliances and developer relations, to Pocket-lint. "The new API options mean more opportunities to share with their favourite BlackBerry people".

The sharing is all about social; RIM's new theme and one that they hope will allow it to offer something different to other App offerings out there.

Other BBM functionality accessible to developers through the BBM Social Platform includes:

- Contact list: allows users to choose from their BBM contacts from within another application in order to initiate social interactions such as chatting or initiating game play

- BBM user profile: an application can insert application status updates into the user's BBM profile allowing it to be launched or downloaded from BBM by the user’s friends

- Application-specific communities: users can create BBM friend groups specific to an application

- Data Transfer: allows users to transfer pictures, audio, video and other content directly from an application to their BBM contacts or groups

- Invitations: allows users to invite new friends to BBM, invite their friends to interact within or download an application, and accept invitations, all from within an application

The BBM social SDK should be coming soon with a launch date yet to be set.

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