Many of you are familiar with S4BB - they've been around for a long time, pumping out apps for legacy BlackBerry OS and have been busy on BB10. Lately S4BB has been getting a lot of flak for exactly how many apps they've put into BlackBerry World, and BlackBerry themselves have been criticized for letting a single developer publish 47,000 apps in the market. That's a pretty massive number, considering at last count BlackBerry World was host to 120,000 apps.
There are two big worries here: that a single developer is seriously padding a number that BlackBerry uses to demonstrate the health of their app ecosystem, and that the apps being introduced are by necessity low-quality - it's hard to pump out that many apps and make them well, right? BlackBerry has released a statement on the whole issue.
"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."
So, BlackBerry is saying that people will talk with their wallets by picking up the apps that do what they're looking for. The moment that making this many apps isn't economically viable, S4BB will stop doing it. To be fair, it seems like the vast majority of these apps are city guides that all follow the same framework, and simply have different map and points of interest data plonked in. S4BB also has a smattering of audiobooks, and basic, single-use apps in their gigantic collection.
Despite the ridiculous number of apps they've submitted, I don't think anybody's seriously grilling S4BB for being spammy - after all, they're offering apps that do what they say on the box - and even as far as originality and innovation goes, I wouldn't bust their chops too much. The guy in charge of S4BB is also the one making that super-sweet camera module for consumer-grade drones; BlackBerry's own Alec Saunders is even involved in the project. Some of S4BB's more popular apps include a QR barcode scanner, a silent camera app, and a photo-to-PDF converter. The vast majority of S4BB's apps haven't been rated, but those that are tend to get pretty solid reviews. To be honest, my biggest question would be about where S4BB is pulling in data for all of those city guides, and if the rights to use that data are covered by the $2.99 pricetag. Hopefully we'll get some time with the S4BB CEO at BlackBerry Jam Asia next month to hash all this out.
What do you guys make of the situation? Should BlackBerry allow this many apps into BlackBerry World from one developer? Is it reasonable to expect that they've adequately tested all of them before approval? Outside of the "Recently Added" feed in BlackBerry world, does this volume of apps clutter your app browsing experience?