Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World may soon become a tightly closed ecosystem similar to Apple’s iTunes App Store. A RIM exec recently said the company has plans to break the PlayBook’s ability to side load apps in a future OS update in order to quell rampant piracy concerns.
It comes down to developer relations, said Alec Saunders, RIM’s vice president of developers relations. “We’re removing side loading for consumers,” Saunders said on Twitter. “Pretty sure we’ve got a solution for devs.”
“Piracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market,” he said in a separate tweet.
Many applications that have been repackaged for Android are typically easy to distribute and then oftentimes pirated by users. The problem leads to a lot of lost revenue for developers and, as a result, weakened relations between RIM and app makers. In fact, many companies, such as id Software, refuse to write Android games because of rampant piracy, according to Electronista. About a quarter of Android material is pirated, Saunders said, though he didn’t reveal where his data came from.
It will be interesting to see what implications this could have on RIM’s developing App World store. If RIM does lockdown its PlayBook, it may eventually increase developer interest and it could increase tablet sales in the longterm if more popular apps become available.