BlackBerry Location Apps Are The Most Expensive


A report comparing the RIM BlackBerry, Apple iPhone and Google Android application stores finds RIM offering the highest prices and least variety for BlackBerry location-based services

Shopping for a location-based application for your smartphone? The BlackBerry App World store has the most expensive and least varied offerings, Apple’s iTunes App Store offers the most variety for the iPhone at substantially lower prices than Research In Motion’s BlackBerry store, and Google’s Android Market features the least expensive paid applications, according to a report issued May 20 by Skyhook Wireless.

In what Skyhook promises will be a monthly report on application store trends, the hybrid location-based services company found that the average price of a location-aware application through RIM’s BlackBerry App World is $13.60 (£8.70), compared with $3.60 from the iTunes App Store and $0.84 from the Android Market.

Skyhook also found Apple’s App Store has the greatest number of location-based applications—more than 2,300—and the highest percentage of paid LBS apps, at over 75 per cent. Over at the BlackBerry store, 67 per cent of LBS apps are paid, while 80 percent of Android Market applications are free.

After standardizing application types across all three stores, Skyhook found 17 different types of application that use location-based services. The most popular LBS application categories are travel, navigation and social networking, but new types such as music, finance and game applications are also integrating location in new ways.

“Skyhook’s comparative study of location-aware app stores reveals three very different types of stores in key measurements like the average cost of apps, total number of apps and growth over time,” Kate Imbach, director of marketing and developer programs for Skyhook Wireless, said in a statement.

Among Skyhook’s key findings:

Apple App Store: Offers more than 35,000 applications in the United States with more than 2,300 LBS applications. There is about a 75-25 split between paid and free LBS applications. The store has the greatest number of LBS applications with the widest variety.

BlackBerry App World: Launched in April, BlackBerry App World offers 57 LBS applications with the smallest variety of applications. The number of BlackBerry LBS applications has not increased significantly since the store opened.

Android Market: Currently offers more than 3,000 applications (excluding games) with approximately 300 LBS applications, but features the greatest number of free LBS applications. While 805 LBS applications were released for the iPhone in the first six months of the Apple App Store’s launch, only 193 Android LBS application have been released.

“We expect to see a growing variety of LBS apps in all stores, and we will monitor changes in prices closely to see if BlackBerry app prices come more in line with the other, less expensive stores,” the Skyhook report stated. “It will be interesting to see if Android can establish a market for paid apps, or if the Google checkout system continues to hinder paid apps.”