With the success of the iPhone App Store and Microsoft wanting a piece of the action it was only a matter of time before RIM got into the online application storefront game.

With the BlackBerry App World online store launching later this month, submissions are now being accepted from developers who want to get their applications in at the get go.

With a potential audience of some 21 million BlackBerry users it could prove to be a very profitable outlet for those software developers looking elsewhere than the already crowded and somewhat restrictive iPhone App Store. But just how difficult will it be to get your application into the BlackBerry App World store? While we don't yet know if a bouncing Barack Obama would make the grade, we do know how to have the best chance of developing a successful application to out before the US, Canadian and British audience which will be the first to get access at launch.

Here is a quick 'top five' round up of questions that should be considered by developers before embarking on the application submission process:

  1. The best applications should just work and end users should be able to access the basic functions without need to refer to instructions. What's more, users should be able to employ this functionality within the time it takes for a set of traffic lights to change from red to green.
  2. Applications should be developed in order to anticipate exactly how they will be used. In other words, there must be a clear layout and intuitive icon design to ensure ease of navigation.
  3. Integration is key, and BlackBerry users will expect the application to take advantage of what you might call 'the BlackBerry experience' or the full functionality of the device in other words. So making use of a built-in camera or GPS is a definite plus. Equally, making good use of the push technology that BlackBerry built its reputation upon is a real must wherever possible.
  4. Don't drain the battery, baby. Developers are advised that they should ensure their applications do not use excessive battery power. An application will not be seen as a viable option if it significantly impacts upon device battery life. However, power saving must be balanced with functionality especially when it comes to things like wireless resources which are pretty much seen as being a given in order to provide a better overall experience to the user and put less strain on the mobile operator’s network.
  5. Don't make it online only as Internet access might not always be available all of the time, so offline functionality should be considered from the get go. Utilising that push technology again, in order to locally store important data, is really not something that should be thought of as an optional extra.
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About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...