Apple, RIM, and Google Mobile App Sales: Three Models, or Just One?

An article today mentions that RIM’s new Blackberry will begin the use of a RIM-hosted app market, and attempt to outline the three recent models for selling mobile apps:

iPhone – Apple is controlling what Apps can and can’t come through their store…

Blackberry Storm – RIM is starting up an App Center that they’re handing control of over to the carriers…

Android – Google’s App Store claims to be completely “open” but we’re already hearing that they may not allow applications that tether the phone to a laptop…

The article then goes on to ask:

Which model do you like better, and why? Or better yet – do you like ANY of them?

Is this a trick question?

When you strip away who’s ultimately responsible — and the marketing spin — they’re all essentially the same model: A central store with a “governing body” to call the shots. In the case of the App Store the governing body is Apple. In the case of the other two the bodies are ultimately the carriers themselves

All the marketing fluff and buzzword discussion about, say, Android being “open” will not change the fact that a carrier is not likely to allow an app that it doesn’t want. Nor will it allow copyright violations, heavy bandwidth usage, etc.

So, to answer the article’s first question, I like Apple’s model best because Apple will be more flexible (“open”, if you will) than any carrier. It’s simply in their best interest to be so because they do not have the incnetive to limit what you can do. To be honest, I can’t understand why that question is even being debated. In the US, especially, the carriers have shown themselves to be extremely limiting with what they allow you to do with your phone on their network; it’s in their best interest to upsell you more services.

Now, to answer another (unasked) question, no, I wouldn’t want the mythical and truly “open” system that Androud claims to (but won’t) be. The reasons such a wide open system would be a problem are not just limited to:

  • Apps wouldn’t work on a lot of phones.
  • Support would suck.
  • Carrier rates would be hiked to make up for carrier and signal misuse.
  • Spam and ads would likely run rampant.
  • I would have major doubts about the security available for any such model in the first place.

Add to the above the general confusion of buying an “open” app for your “open” OS only to find that it won’t run on your device or carrier and I think the public perception would then become that “open” has failed.

4 thoughts on “Apple, RIM, and Google Mobile App Sales: Three Models, or Just One?

  1. That’s like comparing the Thunder to the iPhone. Where and when is it????

  2. The last time I looked only Apple had an App Store. So what’s the point of comparing vaporware to actual sales???????

  3. Luis,

    RIM in only one platform (the Storm) initially. Presumably, it will continue for other RIM models as they are introduced, so there will be more than one.

    Google also only has one platform initially (the T-Mobile/HTC G1), but will of course expand to other models as well.

    But even Apple has a few variations. For example, the GPS-less first gen iPhone, or the speaker- and mic-less touch. So, even for Apple there are certain apps that need to specify devices upon which they do not work, or do not work as well.

    If even the closely matched iPhone/iPod touch have a few discrepancies, imagine the pandemonium Android and RIM will have when there are a few models from different manufacturers with very little in common.

    Finally, your point about Android’s “several implementations” is a good one, since we may find that certain “Android” apps won’t even run on certain “Android” OSes.

  4. Another “element” in consideration is that;

    1) App Store will serve “one platform”, controlled by the hardware manufacturer.
    2) RIM Store will serve “one platform”, controlled by the carriers.
    2) Google Store will serve “several implementations, controlled (?) by the software swvwoper.

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