BlackBerry is synonymous with business right from its launch. As an emerging market, RIM's BlackBerry caters to the business user and provides a rich and diverse enterprise-focused applications segment. This is why it is important to gain success in the BlackBerry App World.
Below are eight steps to guide you in building and marketing a breakthrough BlackBerry business application:
1. Warm up to the BlackBerry Platform: A breakthrough business application gets started with the Java-based BlackBerry platform. There are two SDK options to develop apps on the platform: MIDP / CLDC and BlackBerry specific APIs. Most BlackBerry business app developers build BlackBerry-specific applications as it means using the highly flexible and free-to-download BlackBerry Java Development Environment. With the JDE, you do not even need a BlackBerry handheld as it comes with a BlackBerry device simulator and includes all essential tools to develop, package, test and debug applications. Here is the first crucial step is to warm-up to the BlackBerry platform by downloading the JDE and start creating simple apps using it.
2. Develop the App concept: The BlackBerry platform may lag behind in giving your app that instant, modern and flashy outlook. However, a committed development approach would unravel the built-in wonders of the BB platform, which supports the development of full-scale business applications of any magnitude. So, develop an app concept that is unique and business-specific. With BlackBerry, business is always a winning bet.
3. Keep the UI simple & utility-oriented: As mentioned earlier, the BB OS does not weigh high on the fancy part, but is extremely supportive of the business factor. Sense it is crucial to keep your interface simple and appealing instead of overdone or over-crowded. It is essential to build the app in such a way that, at one look, the user understands the functions and options available in the application. Better to explain your fields, check boxes and radio buttons with short, descriptive words.
4. Test your app, get support: Although the simulator is a near-perfect system, it is not the real device. It is always better to test run your app in an actual handheld BlackBerry before launching it. If the BlackBerry platform is difficult to crack, you can always seek help from BlackBerry developer programs or explore BlackBerry developer resources. There are also a lot of third-party forums, eBooks and guides available to help you learn the nuances of BlackBerry app development.
5. Pricing the App: The next step is to price the app. Set a competitive price. If this is your first attempt at BlackBerry app development and if you feel there are some similar apps around, offer the app for free. Call it the beta version and measure how users receive it. Later, you can setup affordable price tags for the upgraded versions of the app.
6.Digital Rights Management (DRM): How do you make sure that users pay for your app? And how do you avoid users from paying again for the app if their device breaks? Setup a logical and practicable- feasible yet secure DRM system to make sure that users who buy your app pay for it and get access to it. Also, decide if users need to pay again in case of their device failure or if they switched devices.
7.Selling the App: Now that you have an app with a price tag, you need to find ways to sell it. You can sell the app directly through RIM's BlackBerry App World or through retailers like MobiHand or Handango. Make sure that your presentation of the app in the Reseller's channel or in the App World is appealing. Five important criteria that count in the selling process are:
Short description of App
Long description of App
Screenshots / preview videos of App
Trial versions of App (this has great commercial value as it helps user gain practical knowledge of your app).
8. Upgrades, customer support & user community: Everything does not get over with the selling process. In fact, an application's success is gauged only after the initial sales. Sales stats and user feedback help you modify or upgrade the application. As a developer, you need to provide customer support to your users. Keeping in constant touch with your user community through forums will help you get direct, positive feedback which in turn will guide you in upgrading your app.