Research in Motion (RIM) has confirmed the acquisition of mobile app store specialist Cellmania to “bring their expertise in application store front development to the BlackBerry platform”. California-based Cellmania is best known for ‘mFinder’, a content delivery and app store ecosystem infrastructure solution with the ability to track downloaded content on mobile phones, offer subscription billing, as well as time- and location-based content management.
Last week RIM made App World 2.0, the updated app store, available to all users. With its latest acquisition, RIM would be seriously hoping that the updated Blackberry App World can replicate the phenomenal success of iTunes App Store and Android Market.
Has RIM left it too late in order to compete with the likes of Google & Apple on the App Store war front? Or is it a case of “better late than never”? I’m not so sure.
Cellmania has an impressive clientele consisting of big names such as Sprint Nextel, AT&T, Boost, Virgin Mobile USA and Telstra. It claims to have created over 200,000 mobile content apps in 55 languages spanning over 100 countries. The company website mentions that it’s now a part of RIM and it will continue to support current customers. Its flagship offering mFinder is “3G-ready” and lets developers create and sell apps to end users on a rev-share basis. The company had raised more than $21 million in VC funding from BroadVision, Pino Venture Partners, Office Depot and ZAP Ventures.
I’m glad that the App World is finally getting long-due attention at RIM. I like the updated App World interface and I’m glad that RIM has finally realized the importance of allowing customers to buy apps with a credit card rather than exclusively through PayPal. There’s good news for developers as well – the minimum app price has been slashed from $2.99 to $0.99. Coupled with the recent release of BlackBerry Torch on a new operating system, things are finally moving “thick and fast” for the Canadian smartphone manufacturer.
When it comes to App Store stats, RIM’s performance is dismal – it has a mere 9,500 apps as compared to iTunes Store (225,000) and Android Market (65,000). App Store and Mobile Advertisements have been two of RIM’s biggest weaknesses. The company would be hoping that the acquisition of Cellmania will help sort out its App Store problems. There are rumors that RIM is reported looking for an acquisition target in the mobile ad space to compete with Google (AdMob) and Apple (Quattro Wireless)
Terms of the deal were not released.
Will the acquisition of Cellmania lead to a revival of fortunes for Blackberry App World? I’m skeptical yet hopeful.