Photo: Kevin Smith/Business Insider
When BlackBerry announced its new phones this week, it spent a good part of the presentation touting the app selection it’ll have at launch. It needed to.
No matter how good the new BlackBerry 10 operating system may be –– and early reviews are very positive –– the new BlackBerrys are worthless without a robust app selection. And that doesn’t just mean the number of apps available. (BB10 has about 70,000 apps available at the moment). It means BB10 needs the popular apps people actually use and care about.
At Wednesday’s BB10 launch event, the company addressed the issue head on. Martyn Mallick, BlackBerry’s VP of global alliances and business development, took the stage and (with a lot of forced enthusiasm) began rattling off a bunch of apps that will be on BB10.
Skype! Amazon Kindle! WhatsApp! Angry Birds!
But with the exception of Angry Birds, none of those are on BB10 yet, and there’s no word on when they’ll actually launch. Just because a developer is “committed” to BB10, doesn’t mean it intends to start cranking right away. If you end up buying one of the new BlackBerrys, don’t hold your breath waiting for these apps to arrive.
What’s even more important: the popular apps that Mallick didn’t mention. There’s no Instagram. No Yelp. No Spotify. No Pandora, Gmail, or Evernote. The list goes on and on, but you probably get the idea by now. And there’s no guarantee any of those apps will every come to BB10.
So what does BlackBerry’s App World have? If you take a look at the top trending or featured apps, it’s a sad collection of knockoffs and other junk. There’s Apollo, an app that supposedly lets you stream Pandora music. There’s an app called Tiny Bird, which is a blatant ripoff of the insanely popular iPhone app Tiny Wings. The number one photo app is an Instagram clone called PicStory. The list goes on.
Then there are the big-name apps that BlackBerry was forced to go it alone and make itself. The Facebook app that ships with BB10 isn’t made by Facebook, it’s made by RIM. Same goes for Dropbox, Google Talk, and Yahoo Messenger.
That means big companies like Facebook, Dropbox, Google, and a slew of others only take BB10 seriously enough to allow RIM to make apps for them. That also means when those companies release new features for their apps, BB10 users will have to wait for BlackBerry to catch up and add them too. Not a good sign.
Despite RIM’s best efforts at courting developers, it’s clear many, if not most of the important ones don’t think BB10 is worth their time.
Will BB10 app selection grow over time?
Will some big name apps eventually make it to BB10?
The problem is, BlackBerry is very late to the game launching an operating system that’s just as good as iPhone and Android. There’s little incentive for developers to care about BB10, which means there’s little incentive for you to care about using it if you care about apps.