BlackBerry App World Hits 15,000 App Mark—Is Being 3rd Good Enough Anymore?

An example image of RIM's BlackBerry App World and a BlackBerry smartphone

15k apps? Not so fast RIM.

Earlier this year, Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry App World marketplace hit the 10,000 app mark and now the company has passed the 15,000 app mark. The news of RIM’s latest achievement came courteous of the company’s Twitter feed which posted the following, “#AppWorld – 15,000 apps and counting! What have you downloaded lately?” On the other hand, Apple’s iTunes App Store already passed the 300,000 app milestone and Android’s Market is almost at the 100,000 app mark.

The BlackBerry and apps have been around a lot longer than either Apple or Google’s offerings but slow growth has always hampered RIM’s efforts to expand its website/store and make it relevant. RIM has to deal with a highly fragmented app marketplace right now for its BlackBerry smartphones and the new BlackBerry Tablet OS that will first appear on the PlayBook tablet sure won’t make things easier. Neither operating system shares anything with the other really expect RIM’s guiding hand.

Interestingly enough, BlackBerry Cool did a breakdown of the apps in the BlackBerry App World Store and concluded that about 45% of the apps at RIM’s store aren’t really apps at all. What does the website mean? There are nearly 4,000 custom themes in the store, each of which counts as an app according to RIM even though they’re really just new icon sets, background pictures and color schemes. Almost another 2,000 apps are really just eBooks. Sorry but eBooks don’t count as apps and neither do BB themes.

This breakdown leaves the BB app store below the 10,000 app mark at a time when competition is only heating up. Remember WP7? Microsoft already has 3,000 apps and the platform just launched. Factor in the enormous app markets that both iOS and Android have to back them up and RIM really has a lot to prove to the world. At least it has more than HP webOS if that’s any comfort.

Should RIM keep counting themes and eBooks in its official App World statistics? What if Apple counted every single book available through iBooks or one of the many other eBook reader apps available as a separate app? Would we be seeing numbers up in the millions for apps? Sorry RIM but this just isn’t going to fly. Now hurry up and launch the QNX OS RIM—we want virtual machines and the ability to port Android apps to our PlayBooks.

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