BlackBerry’s need to get the apps
The state of BlackBerry apps really isn’t as bad as mainstream tech blogs will have you believe. If you spend some time with App World or MobiHand you’ll find plenty of useful apps that run well on your device. The problem isn’t the app selection itself. It’s the lack of the most popular apps on both iPhone and Android. They set the market, and if these developers aren’t creating apps for BlackBerry, even if there is a reasonable alternative, it’s seen as a loss. This is one of those areas where perception dictates reality. Getting the hottest apps will be one of BlackBerry 10′s greatest challenges — and even then it’s the equivalent of RIM treading water.
To some degree we’ve seen this. For instance, Spotify is now up and running on a few different BlackBerry devices — The Bolds 9930, 9900, 9780, 9700, 9650, and 9000, plus the Curve 9370, 9300, and 8520. It’s not a full roll-out, but it’s a start. And that’s kind of indicative of the state of popular apps on BlackBerry. They’re getting there, but it’s been a long process and there’s really no end in sight. (BTW, if you want to download Spotify you can get it here
.) This is one reason many of us were so excited to see iOS apps running on BlackBerry
. The easiest way to catch up would be to simply port every app from the App Store to App World. If this latest development does catch on, developers will be able to do just that. That gives the BlackBerry a valuable baseline of apps, which is something that the mass market apparently values highly from a platform. Of course, getting the apps is far from RIM’s major selling point. It’s a necessary point just to contend. After that they have to find their unique selling proposition. That is, they’ll never sell phones because
they have all the hot apps from Android and iOS. It’s to say that they won’t
sell phones if they don’t
have those apps. They need something on top of that, something users don’t get elsewhere, in order to make a difference in the market. The more I think about it, the more I recognize the steep challenge RIM faces. They really have to wow the market that in a way that really only Apple has accomplished. As we know from watching company after company try and fail, it’s no small order.