We’ve seen a lot of official announcements here at the BlackBerry World conference, but there’s still a lot going on behind closed doors. One rumour has it that the next version of the official BlackBerry software storefront, App World, will include an updated UI (including carousel and search bar), app sharing through BBM, subscription support, and more carrier billing. The most interesting addition here will be an enterprise-specific channel in App World, which will have visibility and permissions set by corporate BES admins. Only BlackBerry smartphones will be supported at first, but the PlayBook will come shortly thereafter.
Carrier billing and an updated UI are both nice, but a specific spot for business-grade apps sounds like a perfect fit for RIM’s core enterprise audience. As is, RIM has a Solutions Catalog, which offers a full-bodied directory of business apps, but having something that end-users can check out (not just IT admins who decide app rollouts) could expose employees to all of the fun of consuming and downloading apps, only to more productive ends. If it’s all managed by BES policies, then security is a non-issue. We already see such heavyweights as the U.S. military building out their own private mobile application stores, so it’s not entirely crazy to imagine RIM providing the framework for other companies to plug into the consumer version of App World.
For now this is just an undocumented rumour, so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s believable enough. Release is scheduled for June or July, so keep your eyes peeled.