RIM renames BlackBerry App World, launches $10k developer programme

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BlackBerry today announced a series of updates in the run up to the launch of BlackBerry 10 on 30 January.

Speaking at a BlackBerry Jam event in Bangkok, Thailand, BlackBerry execs announced that BlackBerry’s app store (currently called App World) will be rebranded as BlackBerry World.

RIM says that the change is intended to reflect the fact that the store will be expanded to include video and music content, much like Google Play.

The company also announced plans for a QWERTY alpha device for developers. That means, despite all the touch demos we’ve seen for BlackBerry 10, that the company still believes the physical keyboards it made its name with have a space in the market.

RIM CEO has Thorstein Heins previously said that QWERTY fans may have to wait around two months before they can their hands on the first devices with keyboards. Letting developers play with one means that it probably won’t be too long before we get some idea of what the first keyboard BB10 device will look like.

According to RIM’s vice president of developer relations Alec Saunders, priority will be given to developers who have built more than two BlackBerry apps, especially those who have been given the “Built for BB10″ endorsement.

Developers who have been working with the BlackBerry 10 Alpha device also stand the chance to win a limited edition BlackBerry 10 device.

Oh and if you wanted any more proof that RIM is desperate to keep developers on its side, check this out. Back in September, the company guaranteed developers that they would make at least US$10 000 in download in sales if their apps were certified “Built for BlackBerry”. Now it’s taken things a step further and offered to make up the difference for any app that doesn’t hit the downloads mark.

According to The Next Web, Saunders believes that this developer relations push was necessary as things were deteriorating when he arrived at the company a year ago.

In the last six months, he claims, things have improved to the extent that 65% of developers are satisfied and that 57% would recommend building for BlackBerry to other developers.

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