Porting Lounge

This weekend masses of BlackBerry 10 developers kept busy submitting apps in the Last Chance Port-A-Thon that RIM whipped together after the huge success of the last event. Over 15,000 apps were submitted in the previous port-a-thon, and this weekend's Last Chance event saw 19,071 apps submitted.

We know that a lot of these apps are going to be coming from the BlackBerry App Generator, which essentially turns an RSS feed into an app. Heck, CrackBerry's Adam Zeis submitted 17 apps he built via the App Generator. That said, Alec Saunders, BlackBerry's VP of Developer Relations, clarified on his twitter account that only a tiny % of total apps submitted to the catalog have come via the BlackBerry App Generator. 

BlackBerry has been targeting to have over 70,000 apps in BlackBerry World for the launch of BlackBerry 10. Alec Saunders made it clear to me at CES that his goal was to have the biggest catalog at launch of any newly-launched mobile platform. The volume of apps submitted during these last two port-a-thons alone gives us high hopes that he'll meet his goal. 

Of course, the volume of apps is one thing -- and to a lot of people out there it's an important aspect -- but more important to me is having a wide selection of quality apps available. Every app store on every mobile platform has a big mix of apps. There is always a wide spectrum of apps that range from useful to useless, from broad appeal to very narrow niche appeal, and from high quality to meeting the bare minimum requirements. I'm hoping these port-a-thons have brought in some gems, which is all we can really ask for.

When BlackBerry 10 launches, the specific details of the BB10 app story won't matter so much as the overall general perception. As long as BlackBerry World's selection of apps is good enough -- it passes the app litmus test of reviewers and discerning consumers -- that's what matters most. As long as it passes the general perception test there are no roadblocks on the way to a BlackBerry 10 purchase decision. If the app story isn't good enough, there could be roadblocks, which means BlackBerry's dev rel team will have to continue their hustle.

And continue to hustle they will. This Developer Relations team that RIM has built is doing more than we've ever seen. They're probably doing more than we ever hoped. They are kicking ass, and we love it.