Research in Motion has announced the impending addition of in-app ads and payments, at its annual BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco. More specifically, RIM is giving app developers special APIs that let them call up ads from a variety of ad networks — currently numbered at five, but expected to jump to about a dozen, according to RIM.
More interesting from the consumer’s standpoint will be purchasing additional content from within an app itself, and downloading trial versions of software whose full versions can be instantly unlocked. Currently only AT&T allows BlackBerry App World purchases to be tacked onto cellphone bills, but RIM expects more carriers to adopt this capability (presumably once they realize that they can shave a small percentage off of each purchase).
Developers stand to take a 60 percent chunk of in-app ad revenue, and a 70 percent piece of money made through in-app transactions, such as the purchase of virtual goods. For a limited time, according to Tyler Lessard, one of RIM’s vice presidents, developers will be able to submit their apps for free.
RIM is clearly looking to Apple’s model with these various moves, both because of the success Cupertino is having with monetizing its platform, as well as the volume of business that the App Store does; RIM may sell more phones than Apple, but Apple sells exponentially more software.