updated 12:40 pm EST, Wed February 2, 2011
BlackBerry App World 2.1 gets in-app sales at last
RIM on Wednesday afternoon brought long requested support for in-app payments to BlackBerry App World. The feature will let BlackBerry app owners buy extra content such as game add-ons or feature unlocks without having to download an entirely new app. On the developer side, code writers have a Payment Service kit to drop in apps and a portal to oversee both adding the content and tracking the downloads separately from the main app itself.
Users wanting access to the new features can check for updates in App World itself and should see it pushed out automatically over the course of the day. Developers have already had the SDK since January 5. RIM will still take a cut of royalties, but the payment system is the same and supports credit cards, PayPal and carrier billing where it's valid.
The expansion represents a major catch-up for RIM. Apple's platforms had in-app purchasing as of 2009 and have used this as an advantage not just in what apps can do but for the business model. In-app sales allow for "freemium" apps that add extra features with a purchase in the game later on and can be a way to discourage piracy by making it difficult or impossible to get the full content through hacks. Until now, BlackBerry App World downloads either had to be completely free or include every piece of possible paid content from the start.