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RIM opens up on the future of BlackBerry

BlackBerry Developer Conference gets pointers on upcoming changes

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BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) held its third annual BlackBerry Developer Conference (DevCon) this week, and BlackBerry enthusiasts of all kinds, including developers, analysts, media and other mobile-industry-watchers, showed up in droves to see what RIM has in store for the coming months and years.

CIO was lucky enough to get a sit-down with RIM's BlackBerry App World Senior Product Manager Alex Kinsella, and the App World staffer shared a number of interesting details, including information on the next version of the company's mobile app store, BlackBerry App World v2.1, the new BlackBerry platform development features and services he's most excited about, and why you should be too, as well as what the company is doing to ensure mobile malware doesn't find its way into App World and onto unsuspecting users' devices.

Keep moving for specifics.


The new BlackBerry payment and analytics services

On Monday, RIM unveiled a variety of new and improved developer tools and services, including the new BlackBerry Payments Service, which offers developers more ways to sell their applications and reach more potential customers. The service also relieves many of the financial headaches associated with selling mobile applications, because it manages all the technical and financials of payment so developers don't have to waste time managing relationships or business terms with payment providers and coding for integration into each of those providers' unique products.

For example, developers who use the BlackBerry Payment Service can offer "in-app payment services" to let customers purchase applications they like after free trial periods expire or unlock additional application content, like new levels or functionality in games or advanced application features, without ever leaving the app.

Kinsella is particularly excited about the new Payment Service. Creating engaging BlackBerry applications is the best way for developers to build their customer bases, but that's really just the first step, according to Kinsella.

"That's the foot in the door," he says. The BlackBerry Payment Service is really about maintaining customers' attention, according to Kinsella.

The BlackBerry Payment Service will help developers keep their customers engaged by offering new content within their apps, which helps to ensure those apps are "fresh." And that's a good thing for developers, who are ultimately trying to profit from their apps, and BlackBerry users, who want quality mobile applications with evolving functionality.

Kinsella also says he's excited about RIM's new, free BlackBerry Analytics Service, which it announced at DevCon along with Webtrends, a web metrics firm, to give commercial BlackBerry developers greater insight into who's using their applications, when, how and for what specific purposes.

BlackBerry Analytics Services will help to better educate developers on how their apps are being used, and it should improve their ability to target new types of customers and geographic areas, since they'll be able to see the people and locations in which their apps are used most frequently, among other metrics, Kinsella says.


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