End of an Era: Mobihand closing down its app stores

Mobihand drives away from App Stores....
By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Sep 2012 09:05 pm EDT

Mobihand this evening announced and immediately discontinued their services. Long time BlackBerry owners and readers of CrackBerry will be familiar with Mobihand. They've been around over eight years in the industry as an independent storefront for mobile applications, powering numerous app stores including that of the CrackBerry App Store. 

Here's the announcement from Mobihand, which can also be found on their website

What a fabulous ride we had!

From San Francisco to Indonesia, from Brazil to Moscow, for eight years we served millions of worldwide customers with their app needs and delivered hundreds of millions of downloads.

We enjoyed the rise of many different platforms. BlackBerry and then Android were the biggest. And we suffered through the fall of others. Goodbye Palm and maybe BlackBerry?

Remember when we downloaded apps onto a PC and then sideloaded them through a cable to our phones? Today, our apps are discovered, downloaded and updated with very little effort right onto our devices (phones and tablets that we could not have imagined when we started). We are proud to have pioneered many of the innovations that all mobile users enjoy today.

We lived through all of these changes, including the entry of some very large companies into the app industry. These companies changed the industry with their massive resources and easy access to existing customers (which some of them vigorously protect by closing their app systems).

Domination of mobile app distribution by a relatively small number of large companies has made participation increasingly difficult for independent app distributors. While it was very hard to reach this decision, we have concluded that we have to discontinue our current services. We can only hope that the assets we built over the years will find a new purpose.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you over all these years.

The MobiHand Team

P.S. Customer accounts will be accessible for a few more days. Customers will be able to re-download purchased apps or get their activation codes, but no upgrades, new codes, or swaps will be available. 

It's sad news for sure. Before there was BlackBerry App World or even Apple's App Store, there was Mobihand, bringing together developers and app hungry smartphone owners worldwide. It does appear that Mobihand as a company will continue though, but that their business in running app stores has come to an end.

We were definitely caught by the suddenness of Mobihand's decision to pull support on their app stores, though it's not a surprise that eventually this would happen for BlackBerry users. Unlike BlackBerry Smartphone java apps of the past, PlayBook apps and future BlackBerry 10 apps have to be installed via App World. 

On CrackBerry, we've kept the CrackBerry App Store alive to support legacy users, but for almost a year now have not actively promoted it. For example, all app links on blog posts point to App World instead of the CrackBerry App Store, and even on our site navigation our Apps link has pointed to app blog posts instead of the App store, which previously was the case. With these actions, new app sales have been very limited as we refer readers and potential app customers to App World instead.

Legacy customers who have apps they have purchased via Mobihand and want to continue to use for the foreseeable future will want to take action ASAP. Mobihand is allowing customers to still login to their accounts for the next few days, from which previously-purchased apps can be downloaded, or activation codes obtained. Beyond this though, Mobihand will be closing down that access. This means you won't be able to download previously-purchased apps or get upgrades through Mobihand (sucks, we know).

If BlackBerry App World gave developers the option to issue coupon codes (ironically, a feature Mobihand has had forever), we think a lot of BlackBerry developers out there would issue previous Mobihand customers their apps again via App World if requested. With that functionality not yet in place in App World, the best thing to do is download your .jad files for backup and be sure to save your serial numbers / activation codes. 

So that's where things are at as of this moment. If we learn anything else relevant to the situation, we'll be sure to report it. Thanks for the understanding, patience and ongoing support.

Reader comments

End of an Era: Mobihand closing down its app stores


Wasn't there a big issue with Mobihand not issuing payments to devs a while back? Did those devs ever get paid, do we know?

Nope! I'm still owed money as well. Such BS! It's just their way of getting out without having to fork over their dues.

What do they mean, "Goodbye Palm and maybe BlackBerry?"

Jk! That's funny but sad. Like it says, end of an era... Just like pc gaming cafes

I took it to mean that BB10 won't allow third party app stores just like the PlayBook doesn't. Its going to be a little closer to the Apple model, but with the allowance of side loading for "developmental" purposes...

Wow I'm actually really glad I posted this. When I saw you respond to it I was like, "here's some douche that's gonna chew me out". And no offense, I'm not calling you one because your comment makes sense. I saw it as them saying it was going to die off but your point is a great one

Yep, that's what I was getting from reading this as well. That would be really unfortunate, to say the least. Android's setting for 3rd party apps is a little buried, but certainly there. Let's hope...

What I wanna know is what are they going to to about the devs that haven't gotten paid for months. Funny how they're talking about the "demise" of BlackBerry when they're actually dead now. Way to be grateful to the platform that was part of your once success.

Nothing about developers?
I have not been paid, they owe me royalties for many monhts. Over $20000 is their debt, and they do not reply to emails at all.

I'd like to know how to download my apps for offline backup!! When I click on my apps, i get taken back to the statement.

Looking into this. Seeing the same thing. Can login, click to go to My Account, see all app purchases, but clicking a link is redirecting back to homepage. 

Some of my purchased apps have the down green arrow where I can resend download links to my email and some of my apps dont have the arrow. If I go to the site from my BB I can see the download buttons but clicking on them does nothing.

Update: If I use Opera from my BB I can download all of my apps to my BB.

Developer accounts have been purged, no balance, no earnings reports.
Very bad that this post does not address the issue with developers.
The last year has been a nightmare, spending time, money and health on lawyers and collectors trying to get at least something from MobiHand and now they simply close dev accounts without saying a word about it! They have been using my and probably other devs' money for many months and now simply deleted all the reports! As a developer when I login into my account I just see "Service is currently unavailable".

Same thing with our store account... "Service is currently unavailable."

I just sent them an email highlighting the issue above with users downloading apps, and to see if they wanted to make any sort of statement in regards to their status with developers. If I hear anything back on this, will report it back here.

There's one somewhat pricey app I purchased through there that I would've been hopping mad at if I had lost the activation code. Thanks for the heads up!

You guys gotta calm down. Sorry you lost your money, but this post was written out of respect for a great service that had been around for 8 years. Show a little respect

I can apologize and share my feelings and say nice things to, but without an action to right my wrongs it means nothing. Mobihand did not mention a single thing about righting the wrongs. I suppose that maybe you don't have a dog in this fight? If YOU were owed $20,000 for over a year would you maybe be singing a different song? The above statement is pathetic and meaningless. Shame on Mobihand!

I actually don't think he was calling YOUR comment pathetic...BUT I will. I will not show respect for a company that has obviously shafted the developers.

Well then your just a rude troll who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. You can go piss on a dead companies grave somewhere else!!! This article wasn't written to shame them smartass.

When were you instated as the comment police?

They have valid criticism and/or debt - this is widely known.

Last I checked, no culture had mourning periods for "dead companies". In other words, grow up or go jump in a lake!

@bobert The Company stiffed him and other developers and you're telling him to keep his mouth shut! The only thing I can think of, is that you must be connected to this company somehow, so why don't you pay off the debt, BIGMOUTH?

You calling me a troll is very funny. Something tells me you work for Mobihand, or know someone who does. Why would you defend a company that has stolen thousands of dollars from the very people that made the apps you are likely running on your phone right now.

I think they are showing a great deal of restraint, if what they've posted about lawsuits and money owed to them is true.

the lawsuit and ammounts are true. check some posts down from this and adeveloper has put a link to the san mateo courts, so you can verify this if ya feel so inclined (pdf`s of the legal filed forms etc).

They didn't lose their money, their money was stolen.

It'd be like if you went to work every day, for 8 hours a day, and every two weeks your employer said, "Oh we're going to get you a check, just hold on a bit longer."

Suddenly, employer goes under, forgets all your earnings, and says, "better luck next time!"

I think the devs have a right to be upset, and are justified in asking, "What about us devs?" - I'm not in their shoes, but it was my first thought when reading this post.

people can get their apps, but its the devs that are really outta pocket (see post from adeveloper near beginning of comments). it was a simple theory, you pay mobihand $0.99, they pocket x ammount and give the rest to the dev. Your only paying the dev AFTER you`ve recieved the monies from the end user, so having that (circa) 70% to pay to the dev should never be an issue.
Sadly, thats not what happened by the looks of it, they started burning cash on projects like their social app discovery system, but they failed to innovate in the way that devs told them they wanted, and ways that worked for both the end users and mobihands finances. take the social site part (i forget what it was called) but they pulled info of all apps from (in BlackBerrys case) Appworld, so if you searched, if it wasnt in the mobihand store, then they gave you the appworld link.
Now im no business/economics phd genius, but when you remove the need for a dev to use your system as you point customers to their apps anyways, and when you point customers AWAY from your own services, then your financials and userbase will ultiomately decline. Its sad to say, and take no enjoyment from this as i am a mobihand customer with some apps, but i wrote them many many many emails on the subject, heck i even did a post on my website about why i was leaving the mobihand network, and NOT EVEN ONCE did i get any reply. Now as i say, im no business wizzkid, but if you ignore the people whose ware`s determine you profits then that road can only go in one direction.

Its a sad day, both for the customers who soon wont be able to download their apps (are they emailing customers? as people may use the service and not read cb and other blogs regularly) and have lost $$ in that form, but its an even sadder day for developers. Some may (they fail to address any devs in their statement and their mobireach site has no statement on it) end up out of pocket though monies owed, but ultimately many will lose a following of customers through that channel. I sincerely hope this doesnt affect the developers that make our devices great in too negative a fashion, as we need them to keep on developing and creating new and wonderful apps and games for us to use.

I'm well aware of what happens, what I said is this is not the place to be calling them out for their wrong doings. They are going out of business, they did the wrong thing and they are paying for it, that does not mean they are a bunch of blood thrifty crooks that were out to steel your money. You have no idea what kind of situation they were in, and if any of the development that lost the big money had any brains they would have pulled out a while before they were owed "20000"

I posted last year screenshots of my balance. I was selling somewhere $80K per month with them when they stopped paying me. As you may know, MobiHand has to pay in the end of the month for the previous month's royalties! So actually they have two months' of sales - that's how my debt was accumulated. It was just enough to have two months' of sales.

Your statement is wrong
"if any of the development that lost the big money had any brains they would have pulled out a while before they were owed "20000""
Of course, I pulled everything, but the accumulated amount was already very big.

Also, though I pulled everything, during the following months they continue to sell something, just about 1000 per month, so the debt continued to accumulate without my permission.

oh i know, i agree in a way. i told them where they were going wrong over a year ago. sadly they plain ignored their content providers (us the developers). take for example this statement. its on mobihand.com, but there is nothing on mobireach.com which is the dev portal.

As for situations with developers, i know from that particular dev`s posts and legal filings that they have been owed that ammount for over 10 months, some devs make a large ammount of money, and in the 2 months it can take from product launch to payment (beginning of month a to end of month b for example) you`d be supprised how much can accrue. I shant claim to know any specifics, but i recall the dev saying the app was cross platform/android too, so ya kinda have double exposure in that sense sadly. like i said though, they shulda just taken their 30% profit/operating margin and not (to use a phrase here in the uk) `borrowed off of peter to pay paul`. Thats why devs are owed money, and saying its the devs fault without all the facts might be jumping the gun a bit i feel.

As I said earlier, he must be connected to them in some way, to defend them when they are so clearly in the wrong!

Last November when I contacted a collection agency regarding MobiHand issue, their debt was over $160K ! See, it is not enough to say "sorry", when the debt was such a big. Spending my time, health and money on collectors and attorneys I did get a big part of that debt. But most part of this debt was used by MobiHand people in their business for many months. Without any explanation, without any apologies. Today their debt is a bit more than $20 000, not that big as the original amount but still not small.
And it is very strange that owing such big sums they do not mention anything about developers at all.

My lawsuit (filed in February 2012) is still under way, anyone can check with the San Mateo Court website and see the course of a lawsuit, settlement, default on the settlement and further legal things. Lawsuit number is CIV511913, the web site
Note that if the link does not bring you directly the the case description, you need to type in "MobiHand" in the search field.

What? Respect? They may not owe me money but I respect the developer much more. They are simply a middleman and have made a ton of money off of the hard work of the developers. I am not just going to be an observer on the sidelines when I see a wrong being made.

Ah yes. I forgot about that. You are correct. So is that why I cannot find MeterBerry on AW? It was the only app I still used from Mobihand. Haha.

Oh, the irony of a company shuttering its doors calling another company with $2b cash dead.

I used the Mobihand appstore app, but stopped because it was a huge hassle.

When I log in the appstore, it would show me my purchased apps and my keys, but there is no way to highlight or copy the key. Therefore, each time I updated an app I bought from the store, I have to switch over to the appstore, memorize 4 digits of the key, go back to the activation screen of the app I just updated, type it in, switch back to the appstore, memorize the next 4 digits....

I have no problem copying the key's and then installing the app and pasting the key.

As to the others. I'm sorry that all these developers got ripped off. I feel I'm getting ripped off as well. I'm now going to have to repurchase about 4 or 5 apps now because I won't be able to redownload and get a new key for the software I already purchased when I get a new device. And my 9850 torches have been dying like CRAZY!!!. I'm on my 4th torch due to the random dying issue(red LED boot death). one of which was tether... that's 50 bux I'm out of.

Have you tried emailing the developers directly? It's still a huge hassle to switch PINs on Mobihand though. That's why I stopped buying from that store about two years ago. Based on the claims here, I'm glad I stopped as well.

They also owe me money. The money was never theirs at all. Customer gives them the money for payment, 30% goes to mobihand, 70% goes to me. That 70% was always mine and was never for them to do anything with. I'm sure the executives got paid with my money.

When they don't give me my money that is THEFT plain and simple. Anyone trying to say otherwise just doesn't understand the situation.

Anyone saying to have compassion for these people STEALING money from their developers needs to ask themselves how they would feel if mobihand had stolen money from them? Why should anyone have compassion for theives?

talk about bad timing, I just got a new 9790 because my 9900 died on me and I got a warranty replacement... now I cant make the swap for the new device... thats 50$ I'll never see again...

I've been a Mobihand developer and affiliate partner for years now. I can't believe they've shut down with out so much as a single email from them notifying me. I had to learn of this through CrackBerry.

Like many other developers/affiliates they owe me money. (less than $100 USD). But still money I earned.

I am disappointed. I expect many partners like myself are owed too little money to sue individually but I will certainly sign on to any type of class action suit in the future.

Thanks CB for informing me of something that Mobihand should of had the ethics or basic decency to tell its business partners.

I downloaded and saved the .jad files to my desktop computer. How would I install/restore those apps to my phone in the future? I have used both BB Desktop software and BBSAK to wipe and install OS before.

"We can only hope that the assets we built over the years will find a new purpose."

How about taking your assets and paying your debt to the folks that made you money and how about keeping the store open longe than a few days for people to have a chance to get what they paid for!!

Perfect, before the crapple store. Isn't it ironic crapple sued for copying yet a front runner company just closes their doors? I would sue apple for copying the app store idea, they have the cash so get em good!!!!!!!

The agreement said:
Either party may terminate this Agreement for any reason or for no reason
by delivering notice to the other party at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of

Suppose, there were no 30 days prior notice. So again, breach of contract.
But there have been so many breaches, that nobody seems to take care of this fact.

Of the few apps and themes I purchased, I'll never have them. Can't even download them because the damn links redirect to the home page. 

Logon to your account from your Blackberry and you will see download buttons to the right of your purchased apps and you can download directly to your Blackberry. I had to use Opera Mini for the download buttons to work.

I works for BB browser actually. What needed is how to download them into PC for backup and future upgrade. Any ideas?

If you got them on your BB, backup your 3rd party apps using Desktop Manager using the "Device Switch Wizard". There is a thread on how to do that if you Google it. It creates a .alx backup file you can restore to another BB as long as the app is compatible with the BB and OS version.

Oh man...only a couple of days !! I think when a site where people have made a LOT of purchases intends to close they should at least give 30 days notice.
I really feel for the dev's that are owed so much money....now that is really sad.
I was able to download most of my apps to OTA Downloader so hopefully that will help me out a bit.....this just really sux that they are only giving a couple of days.....guess they have to run quickly !

I never used mobihand since I'm not an app lover but that's ridiculous. No word and not paying people their money. Lawsuits should be filed. Something seems very fishy though... Like seriously illegal fishy...

Seriously, how do I download a copy my all my purchased application so that I can install them through Desktop in future in event I upgrade or wipe my device?

They eventually paid me what they owed, but it took a lot of emails and time. Then I asked if they were now paying devs again, and actually posted my stuff back for sale while waiting for an answer. But there was no answer, so I pulled everything again.

Seems to me there could be a criminal action, if they took money from our 70% and used it for other purposes -- or just plain kept the money as a going-out-of-business bonus.

For those of you having problems downloading your apps, here is what I ended up doing. After trying both Chrome and IE, I noticed when the page was loading in IE that there were download arrows off to the right that got moved off the page as it formatted. I looked at the Print Preview in IE and saw that there were download arrows to the right but I couldn't get to them. I found a menu item under VIEW, then ENCODING, then I selected the RIGHT-TO-LEFT DOCUMENT menu item and the download arrows appeared to the left of the items. Then I could click on them, enter my email address which emailed a link to the .jad file. A little convoluted but it worked.

I'm strictly a consumer, but I noticed the issue enough to worry about its impact on developers before the news broke. I've wondered how many good apps would go unsupported or undeveloped. Developers have to eat & take care of their families too. If they're not getting paid for their work, then they have to do what the rest of us would have to do if our bosses stopped paying us, go find another job.

It's more than bad business decisions on mobihand's part. It's outright dishonest. It would be like Barnes & Noble or Amazon receiving millions of books from publishers, selling them and shipping them all to customers, then throwing the invoices away without sending payment to Random House, Scholastic, etc.

At this point I hope the developers who have filed suit have also contacted the US Justice Department too. Someone needs to make sure any and all assets get frozen before the developers get frozen out.