Where are the online stores?

Today, RIM launched their BlackBerry App Word to give Apple’s hugely successful iTunes App Store some competition. Both are great ideas for mobile users and developers alike but my experiences with each have left me noticing a large void in their implementations. I keep wondering to myself, “why can’t I browse them online?” - without my mobile device. I mean, how hard would it be to list the apps and their information in a regular old web site anyone can access?

In the case of Apple, it seems a number of third parties such as apptism.com, iphoneapplist.net and appstoreapps.com have picked up some of the slack, which is at least somewhat helpful. In the case of RIM however, I applaud their effort to get apps online but it wasn’t thought all the way through. I was met with this fun little note when I tried to access it using Safari:

This web page uses ActiveX controls that work only in Microsoft Internet Explorer. To ensure that BlackBerry App World is correctly downloaded to your BlackBerry, this site is not designed to work with any other Internet browsers. If you cannot use Internet Explorer, you may be able to download the software directly to your BlackBerry smartphone.

Really? Their global “App World” web site requires and ActiveX control? Why?!? You don’t need ActiveX to show a list of apps (much less anything else!).

I guess I’m stuck surfing the stores from proprietary software and tiny screens. It’s too bad, really, think of the potential advertising opportunities for developers if search engines like Google and Yahoo could index the entire App Store. Maybe it wouldn’t take so much effort to advertise your apps.