BlackBerry App World Hits the 10,000 Apps Mark


The BlackBerry App World has just passed the 10,000 apps mark ahead of the coming BlackBerry Developers Conference. While the iFans and Android legions are probably snickering at the news since they have, well, literally hundreds of thousands more apps available to them, this is big news for anyone who uses the BlackBerry. Research In Motion (RIM) has been desperate to get more developers on board the BlackBerry platform and its efforts may be paying off now.

RIM’s recent problems (just Google News search ‘BlackBerry’ to see the latest bashes in nearly every online and offline publication besides the fanboy sites) are multi-pronged. Dated hardware components are being used for flagship smartphone releases like the 9800 Torch (the Curve 3G even has the same processor as the Torch, which uses the same as the 9700’s), a multitude of different hardware/keyboard/screen combinations are used which make things harder for developers, and the software market for the BlackBerry is just is not there yet. Getting the app store rolling is one of the biggest problems that RIM is having right now.

While 10,000 apps might seem like a pittance, it is a good first step. However, to start really competing against iOS and Android OS, RIM needs to see this number climb past the 100,000 point in the next year or two. It hardly took any time for Android to hit the 10,000 mark, so why has the BlackBerry had so much trouble reaching this? Delivery. BlackBerry App World version 1 did not have carrier billing, credit card payment options, or really anything but PayPal and transferring purchases between BlackBerrys was a serious pain in the butt. Developers just have not felt like RIM has been supportive, so why should they support RIM? RIM’s dismal development tools and slow updates to them are also another thing to note.

RIM looks like it has started to realize its problems and is moving to correct them. However, each of them work in a type of synergy. Better hardware will mean more apps and more apps will mean more units sold, etc. All of the problems need fixed, and since it takes so long for a new smartphone to move from design to production and sale, we might not see the next generation of BlackBerrys for a while. At least we should start to see more apps for when the new devices come out. But as any developer will tell you, it is hard to make software for something that does not exist.

Let me know if you think the 10,000 apps mark should be taken as a good sign or a bad one.

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