SAN DIEGO—Research In Motion’s foray into the consumer space has pitted the enterprise-friendly manufacturer against some formidable competitors. Its strategy for success? Enterprise apps, consumer apps, entertainment apps.
Going forward, RIM says its app offerings will be central to building its presence in the consumer space, especially those focused on entertainment and music.
“Mobile devices are so intensely personal… They’re not just for work; everyone has their own spin on how they use their device,” said RIM’s Alan Brenner during a question-and-answer session at the Billboard Mobile Entertainment event on Tuesday. “We will succeed as a platform by having prosperous [application developers] and a strong app store.”
Since RIM launched its App World application store in April, the company has built out its offerings to 3,000 applications. It also has moved aggressively to increase its consumer-friendly entertainment offerings, especially with music
“We have music apps that don’t just deliver music; they offer a whole band experience: They create a relationship between the entertainment artist, the user and the community,” he said. “It’s not just about listening.”
Of course, the best example of this is RIM’s collaboration with U2. The unlikely duo launched an album app in mid-September that included access to exclusive content and video.
BlackBerry App World users soon may see more album applications. In response to a question from Billboard’s Antony Bruno as to whether RIM would be working with musicians other than U2, Brenner hinted that more album apps were to come.
“I don’t think there are any major barriers to it,” he said. “We’ve paved the way to supporting similar kinds of projects.”
Music applications have found a welcome home at App World. For example, the Slacker music app has had more than 2 million downloads since its launch at the store. By comparison, the application has only had 1 million downloads to Apple’s iPhone.
Though Brenner declined to break out specific figures for application downloads, he said the service has had “steady” growth since spring and was on track to grow its global footprint beyond the 22 countries it’s currently available in.
RIM is keeping a careful eye on the rising diversity of its offerings. The company has already done one redesign of its user interface and Brenner said additional updates will come in the future.
“If the numbers get large, we have to be creative about the user interface,” he said, adding that handling the proliferation of applications would entail increased focus on App World’s design.
Brenner also stressed that the company wants to keep its developers prosperous and healthy: “We are driving towards building prosperity for our partners.”