If you use BlackBerry’s App World to download applications, updates, and regularly find new content, you’ll be pleased as punch to know that App World 2.0 has just gone live in beta form. App World 2.0 brings a number of enhancements to the app — some much needed — and even some new payment options. For starters, credit cards are now directly supported instead of having to go through PayPal, and RIM has brought along support for carrier billing. In true RIM fashion, however, this is not available now, and RIM won’t say which carriers will support it. Next up is the ability to drill down different top 25 lists, something much needed. There are now top 25 paid, free, and theme sections. Simplifying the entire user experience is BlackBerry ID, something you can probably guess. It’s a device-independent user ID, something separate from PIN mumbo jumbo, and will streamline your purchasing profile, keep track of your downloaded applications, etc. Not much of a finder/gatherer? Lastly there is QR barcode support in the new version of App World, so look for developers to start using barcodes in promotional materials, emails, really anything. It’s available now on RIM’s beta site below for download. More →
Internet company PayPal has announced plans to open an application storefront in an effort to court developer business and further its online payment system. The company’s plan includes an application store and payment system for both mobile and desktop applications. “I want developers to think of PayPal first whenever they hear the word ‘payments’ and I want to know what it will take to get there. We’re willing to do it. We’re willing to innovate and experiment on their behalf and hear their feedback,” said Osama Bedier, PayPal’s vice president of Platform Business Unit and Emerging Technologies, while speaking at the Future of Web Apps conference. Bedier continued: “The wallet should live in the cloud… Entering credit card information into a mobile device is the worst user experience ever.” It will be interesting to see how a mobile application store would play out. We can assume that Apple isn’t going to let PayPal just waltz in on its cash cow — do we feel a PayPal application ban coming from the iTunes App Store? — and Android’s market is already, for the most part, wide open to developers. Nokia has Ovi, BlackBerry has App World, and Microsoft has Windows Marketplace. What are your thoughts? Is PayPal a little too late to the game to make a significant impact? It’s worth noting that RIM’s App World is already exclusively using PayPal for payments. More →
Remember back in July when a handful of Nokia’s trademark applications were uncovered, launching unending speculation about tidbits such as “C Series”, “X Series” and “Booklet”? Well Booklet ended up being a netbook, as suspected, and we’re still waiting to see how the C and X series end up materializing. One of the trademarks that didn’t receive much attention however, was “Nokia Money”. We all assumed it had to do with a mobile payment platform of some kind and as it turns out, it does. Nokia announced its new Nokia Money platform built on top of Obopay this morning, that will provide a Paypal-like service using mobile phone numbers as identifiers rather than email addresses. From the release:
Nokia Money has been designed to be as simple and convenient as making a voice call or sending an SMS. It will enable consumers to send money to another person just by using the person’s mobile phone number, as well as to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards (SIM top-up). The services can be accessed 24 hours a day from anywhere, meaning savings in travel costs and time. Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can deposit money in or withdraw cash from their accounts.
We don’t anticipate seeing the service become available in the US any time soon, if ever. It would be nice to see a company step up to make mobile banking more of a reality in America but considering Nokia’s lack of presence here, we doubt it will be the company to lead the pack. Abroad however, where Paypal isn’t quite the force it is here — the Paypal service isn’t even available in many regions — Nokia is poised to supplement its dwindling mobile revenues with a service that could see big returns initially and bigger returns in the long run. More details will be revealed next week at Nokia World and we’re definitely looking forward to it.
First, it was PayPal. All you needed was access to the Internet and you could pay bills and make money transfers at your computer. Now, that same type of service is going to be available via mobile phones and SMS. Mobile banking is certainly nothing new and has been around for quite some time, but you were usually limited to viewing account information, transferring funds within your own account, and making bill payments (except Obopay, which allowed transfers from user to user). Some countries support transferring money between phones, such as India and the Philippines, but other countries and carriers are taking a serious look at adopting the service for themselves. Carriers like Vodafone are teaming up with financial institutions like Western Union to make these types of transactions and services more ubiquitous. If this catches on, it’s going to make money transfers, and life in general, a whole lot easier. However, like with PayPal, there’s no doubt that security concerns might push people away for a little while.