Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BlackBerry 10 launches with 70,000 apps, but are they the right ones?

BlackBerry the company was born on Wednesday, and the company unveiled its first BB10 smartphones (the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10), too. However, the company also said on Wednesday that it has 70,000 apps in its BlackBerry World app marketplace, and a number of high-profile names are missing.

That could be a big problem for BlackBerry, nee RIM. Nowadays, with some preferring to call the smartphone the app phone, so the big question always is: What about the apps?

The numbers are notable: iOS has about 800,000 apps in its App Store, with 300,000 iPad-optimized. Android will hit 1 million apps by June, if current trends continue, beating the App Store to the punch. Windows Phone more than doubled its catalog in 2012, adding over 75,000 apps (which means it has around 150,000 or so).

BlackBerry 10, as we said, has a mere 70,000 apps in BlackBerry World at the time of its launch. The question, though, is less about the sheer number of apps, but the number of useful apps. For apps that can be used cross-platform, too -- as obviously, some cannot -- the question is how many of those apps are available?

We speak, of course, of Angry Birds. Not really, but is Rovio's hit available? It is.

A few key apps were already known to be on BB10, like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and LinkedIn. Several more were announced or shown onstage during BlackBerry's Wednesday launch event: Amazon Kindle, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars, Bloomberg, Box, DropBox,, Rdio, Skype, Songza, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TuneIn Radio, WhatsApp, Where’s My Water?, and Where’s My Perry?, to name a few.

However, a number of key apps were missing. For example, Instagram, Spotify and Pandora, and streaming video apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, are all missing. It's unclear when they will make their way onto BlackBerry 10. Notably absent, as well, is Google Maps.

While a spokesman for BlackBerry says the company is “in talks” with Instagram and Netflix, it would not confirm when those apps will arrive in BlackBerry World. In addition, YouTube can be watched on the BB10 mobile browser.

That said, there's nothing like a native app.

Once again, BlackBerry has 70,000 apps in BlackBerry World. That sounds great, but it's missing a number of key apps. The hope, though, is that those gaps will be filled, and filled quickly. In this age when apps are more important -- to some -- than the platform, are there enough apps in BlackBerry World to snag buyers?

Time will tell.

No comments: