We were so excited when we heard about Skype’s partnership with BlackBerry during the Z10 launch. Martyn Mallick came on stage and even used the company as an example of the after-launch apps that would be gracing the newly-minted platform.
But, as I warned this week, developers seem to be using BlackBerry 10′s Android compatibility as a crutch, forgoing the need to build native experiences for an operating system that desperately needs more of them. While Android apps certainly work — some of them quite well — they lack the speed and polish of an app built in the native Cascades environment.
“If you have a new BlackBerry smartphone powered by the BlackBerry 10 platform, you will soon be able to download and run Skype on these devices. We are working closely with BlackBerry to ensure the Skype for Android app runs great in the BlackBerry 10 environment.”
Skype for BlackBerry 10 will be a port of the company’s already-poor Android app. While Microsoft seems to be eager to pour resources into mobile app development on iOS, the Android app has suffered from poor performance and incomplete tablet support for some time. A port to BlackBerry 10 will likely pale in comparison to a native experience, and won’t come close to the new BBM Audio and Video features bundled in the new OS.
In other words, Microsoft is wasting an opportunity here. Or, more realistically, they’re taking a wait-and-see approach to the whole thing, satisfied to say that it has something available for BlackBerry 10, even if it merely a rough port of its existing Android code.