It’s recently been revealed that S4BB, an app developer that began on Palm OS before transitioning to BlackBerry OS and now BlackBerry 10, has nearly 50,000 apps available on BlackBerry World.
Many of these are not really apps: they’re containers of weak content, wrappers of web pages or native apps that perform a single function.
S4BB can’t be blamed here, as they’re just using BlackBerry’s increasingly precarious position, and its need to appear competitive with Android and iOS, to their advantage. But as you can tell from above, when a company offers 33 versions of an app that locks out one particular other app, you know something is amiss.
BlackBerry’s latest count puts BlackBerry World at 120,000 apps, well below the numbers on Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. But neither leading company can claim the higher ground here as both suffer from a long tail in which thousands of app developers offer low-quality apps, or clones of existing popular fare, that go largely unnoticed.
Consumers lose because instead of focusing on a smaller number of high quality, essential apps, they quote these ridiculous numbers — who needs a million apps? — in a race to first place. BlackBerry does offer a “Made for BlackBerry” certification, which highlights high quality apps created specifically for BB10, but they are few in number.
With BlackBerry 10.2 on the horizon, and the SDK being recently made available to developers, let’s hope that the number of great BlackBerry 10 apps increases. The company can’t afford to lag behind much longer.
Update: BlackBerry has issued a statement on the massive number of apps that one developer, S4BB, has in BlackBerry World. They note that BlackBerry World is an open market and developers do what they need to do to bring in revenue – which is true for any business – and that they’ve also built up the Built for BlackBerry program that makes distinctions between the abundance of apps by highlighting quality apps:
Discoverability in overcrowded stores continues to be an issue affecting all developers.
“Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics. Discoverability in overcrowded stores continues to be an issue affecting all developers. This is why we have worked hand in hand with developers on the Built for BlackBerry program to help showcase apps and games that exemplify the power of BlackBerry 10.”