RIM Rebrands Storefront As BlackBerry World
Research in Motion has changed the name of its digital storefront simply to BlackBerry World, dropping App from the moniker to reflect its expansion into a broader entertainment hub offering music and videos.
The move comes a week before the embattled mobile device maker is set to launch BlackBerry10, the latest version of its operating system, which RIM is counting on to revive its fortunes.
Providing a wider selection of digital content has become ever more crucial for RIM to compete with Apple’s App Store and iTunes, Google Play and Amazon’s Cloud Player and Appstore.
As of November, RIM had only 7.3% of the U.S. smartphone market, down from 8.3% in August, according to comScore.
While RIM announced the addition of music, TV shows and movies back in September, it has not revealed what companies it is partnering with or the scope of the content catalogs coming to BlackBerry World.
In today's announcement, the company said only that changes to the updated storefront would start rolling out online and extend to BlackBerry tablets and smartphones in the coming weeks.
Much of the success of the upgraded BlackBerry World will hinge on the quality and extent of the expanded multimedia inventory. As it is, BlackBerry had only 105,000 apps as of September, compared to roughly 700,000 each on Google Play and the App Store. But BlackBerry World also promises to browse and buy content with a more streamlined design across devices.
“If you find something you love and want to tell the world, you can easily share it with your friends over BBM, Facebook and Twitter. Also, you can simply tap smartphones together and invite your friends to download it -- just like that,” stated today’s post on the company’s InsideBlackBerry blog.
While early buzz around BlackBerry 10 has generated optimism, the company faces a steep uphill climb to challenge either iOS or Android in smartphones and tablets. Globally, BlackBerry had 4.2% share of the smartphone market, compared to 2% for Windows Phone, as of the third quarter of 2012.
Separately, RIM is also considering licensing the BlackBerry OS to help reverse its declining share. CEO Thorsten Heins told daily German newspaper Die Welt that RIM is looking into strategic alliances with other technology companies once BlackBerry 10 is launched. Most large manufacturers, like Samsung and LG, have lined up with Android, while Nokia two years ago made Windows Phone its primary smartphone platform.