On Tuesday, BlackBerry announced a limited edition red BlackBerry Z10 that will only be given to developers who have developed an app on the new BlackBerry 10 platform (limited to 12,000 – and the deadline is February 28th), likely hoping to incite speedy game development for BlackBerry 10′s impending release.
Smart move – because ultimately, I believe the absence of popular apps is one of the primary factors in the decline of BlackBerry’s market share over the last few years. Anything they can do to bring developers who avoided the old BlackBerry platform into the fold only serves to help their position in the market. Consumers seem to be impressed with the new BlackBerry phones, but are developers? If Troy Johnson of mobile game developer Magmic is any indication, it would appear so.
Magmic releases 5 New Blackberry 10 games
2 of the new games are free, the other three paid – and I have no doubt there will be plenty more to follow:
- Slots King AIR – FREE
- Blackjack King – FREE
- Phase 10 -$0.99
- Hidden Galaxies: The Voyage Home – $1.99
- Ka-Glom HD – $1.99
Angry Birds comes to BlackBerry 10
So, Rovio made a few of the Angry Bird games available on the PlayBook, but with BlackBerry 10 finally comes the ability to play Angry Birds on your BlackBerry phone. It’s not the original version, but it is an official version, and it’ll work. ;-)
- Angry Birds Star Wars – FREE
Show me the newbies!
But Magmic has always developed for the BlackBerry. Rovio has made several apps available for the PlayBook. Is the new BlackBerry 10 platform really bringing in brand new app options?
Over at CrackBerry, the team is keeping what they promise to be an ever evolving list of the best BlackBerry 10 apps and games. Right now, they have 40 listed – 20 apps (10 free, 10 paid) and 20 games (10 free and 10 paid).
We took a look at the 40 apps and their prior availability. See the chart below:
All in all, 40% of the apps listed in their top 40 were never on the BlackBerry platform (PlayBook or otherwise) prior to the release of the BlackBerry 10 platform. 90% of their top 40 had never been available on a BlackBerry phone before. Considering the BlackBerry 10 hasn’t even been released in the United States yet, that definitely looks promising.
I recently spoke with Harry Scanlan, Director of Mobile Technology for SpeakFeel, a Canadian based Mobile Design and Development firm who had advanced access to the BlackBerry 10 development platform:
- Rae: Can you tell me a little about the key differences between the BlackBerry 10 development platform and the former BlackBerry platforms for a developer? Is it really an improved development experience?
- Harry: “We have been developing BlackBerry apps since OS 4.2, and other apps for the last 5 years. The new BlackBerry 10 experience surpasses anything we have used for past projects when it comes to the BlackBerry.
The BB10 development environment offers comprehensive and complete tools, samples and most importantly the development support team. The above enables us to complete new ‘from scatch’ apps 20 – 30% faster than Android and iPhone, and as much as 50% faster than the previous BlackBerry OS’s.
One of the biggest advances is the Cascades development environment. With OS’s 4, 5 and 7 we had to manually ‘paint’ pixels on the screen, taking upwards of 10 hours to make one perfect screen. With BB10 Cascades that time is significantly reduced.”
- Rae: Given the improvements, do you foresee more developers who previously shied away from the BlackBerry development platform coming into the fold?
- Harry: “Most definitely! BlackBerry 10 not only offers these new comprehensive native tools for writing from scratch, but the BlackBerry ‘Port-a-thon’ events have allowed developers that have written iOS apps in C++ to direct port in a matter of HOURS!
We are actually finding that the App World has less apps than competing stores, so the barrier to entry is less and the opportunity to create more revenue from App World is higher.
Our BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook apps are downloaded 20-30% more in App World than the equivalent apps in iOS and Android.
Whether you have a bias towards an iPhone or Android as a developer, you would be missing a huge revenue opportunity as a developer by not being in the App World. That alone will attract new developers.
I also honestly believe the quality of BlackBerry 10 apps are higher than iPhone and Android.”
If BlackBerry 10 can live up to the development hype, BlackBerry may have a shot at making huge strides towards recovering their lost market share. Maybe they might want to consider having LL Cool J perform at their official launch party.
(Lyrics totally NSFW – this is why Joe doesn’t let me blog very often. Ha.)