BlackBerry App World 3.1 will support carrier billing when it launches later this year. Alec Saunders, RIM’s vice president for Developer Relations & Ecosystems Development, said at DevCon Europe that carrier billing will be the default setting for paying for your apps in countries and networks that support it.
The previous update to BlackBerry App World supported carrier billing, but only as an optional setting – 3.1 will make this the default setting as standard. So you’ll pay for your app purchases alongside your minutes, messages and data every month like normal.
This perhaps is not the most pressing news for BlackBerry fans here in the UK where carrier billing for app purchases isn’t the norm. Vodafone currently offers app purchase billing for Android phones in the UK, so it’s possible that once App World 3.1 launches we’ll see similar support from the big red network.
Saunders says that BlackBerry phones are the “number one prepaid [pay-as-you-go] smartphone seller in the UK,” so there’s certainly an audience to cater for there.
Don’t look a gift app in the mouth
Saunders also bullishly put paid to some myths about the BlackBerry platform, saying that there’s over 75 million subscribers and that the App World is the second-most profitable app ecosystem after iTunes App Store.
BlackBerry App World 3.1 will also allow owners to gift apps to friends, a feature you can do with iOS and Android apps via iTunes and the Market. Previously, you could only share app links with friends. Being able to buy friends, family and loved ones apps is a bit more of a gesture than ‘here’s a link to a paid app love, I’ll give you the three quid when I next see you xxx’.