updated 04:25 pm EDT, Mon September 27, 2010
BlackBerry Ad Service chases AdMob, iAd
RIM kicked off BlackBerry DevCon today with plans for its own mobile ad service in the vein of Apple's iAd or Google's AdMob. BlackBerry Advertising Service will give app writers access to multiple ad networks to subsidize free or cheap apps. Developers will get a similar 60 percent cut of any ad revenue, but RIM is hoping to avoid iAd-level control and will give the advertisers and ad networks direction over the creative presentation of apps.
Ads will only need "a few lines of code" to implement but will support both mixed media and HTML5 along with deep access to the BlackBerry itself. It can jump directly to BlackBerry App World as well as the calendar, contacts and the media player.
To go along with the core ad service, RIM also plans to launch a free BlackBerry Analytics service to provide feedback on how users interact with app features. It will be based on Webtrends' third-party framework and should be ready in early 2011; BlackBerry Advertising Service is available today.
The extension may be essential for the smartphone maker, which has fought to get the same level of developer interest as its competitors. Mobile ads from AdMob, Medialets and now iAd have been instrumental to developers as they have helped subsidize apps that might not justify a full price but which might be too costly to develop otherwise. Some BlackBerry apps support ads, but most attention has been focused on the more readily available tools and features on Android and iOS. BlackBerry App World has less than 10,000 apps compared to nearly 100,000 for Android and over 250,000 iPhone and iPad apps.