Here come another 15,000 BlackBerry 10 apps

Porting Lounge
By Chris Umiastowski on 14 Jan 2013 11:50 am EST

Ever since Alec Saunders took over the developer relations team at RIM, things have been steadily improving. His revamped team has made an incredible difference to the energy and enthusiasm that BlackBerry developers have towards the brand.

As Adam noted earlier, an incredible of example of this is last week's Port-a-Thons. In just over 36 hours, developers around the world submitted over 15,000 apps that are brand new to BlackBerry 10. This goes a long way to making sure that RIM actually has a record number of apps in its catalogue for the launch of a new mobile platform.  

These Port-a-Thon events are unconventional in the industry. Why? Apple and Google don't really need to hold them because they've both got most of the apps people actually want. But RIM has put a ton of energy into making sure Android, HTML5 and Adobe Air apps can run on the QNX platform. They've also teamed up with companies like Marmalade to ensure BB10 is supported by their gaming SDK. So unlike the BlackBerry of the past, today's developer ecosystem is friendly to porting.

RIM held two concurrent Port-a-Thons. And both events were virtual, meaning that RIM experts stayed logged-in to the event in order to contribute expertise during the 36-hour marathon (and it actually ran longer than 36 hours in the end).  

One of the Port-a-Thons focused on Android ports only. The other event was open to all developers porting from anything else. This includes Marmalade, Sencha, PhoneGap, Qt, BlackBerryOS, AIR, etc.

The motivation for RIM is obvious. They want to populate App World prior to the launch of BlackBerry 10. But what about developers? Well, RIM put up $100 in cash per approved app, allowing up to 20 such apps to be submitted during the Port-A-Thon.  So a developer with a series of apps and ability to execute could earn $2,000 very quickly. Nice incentive. Up to 200 developers would also be given free Dev Alpha prizes, which are then upgradeable to special edition BlackBerry 10 phones after the launch.  

In my opinion, it's really important to recognize the impressive results that BlackBerry's developer relations team generated here. 15 THOUSAND apps submitted in under two days! I think that speaks volumes about the quality of the tools that RIM has released. Anybody familiar with RIM's old tools for BBOS (and old submission policies) knows what a huge change this has been.

Sure, many of the apps are likely to be quite simple, or even low quality. But that is par for the course. Aside from the big name apps in the iOS App Store or Google Play, a big proportion of these apps are also low quality.  Even if only 1 out of 15 newly submitted BlackBerry 10 apps is of high quality (however you define that), it means 1,000 high quality new apps for the storefront upon launch.

Any way you slice it, I think this is an impressive result, and shows that RIM is fighting like hell to crawl out of the mess it got itself in over the last few years. Today is a day to celebrate this impressive result.

Reader comments

Here come another 15,000 BlackBerry 10 apps


That is awesome! Can't wait to see what the catalog looks like at launch! RIM under the leadership of the current C-suite is really impressing me. Go Thor and his team!

Yipee more android ports that want Wifi access and file access. It should be Native apps or nothing.

Out of the 15,000 how many are useful or worth while. I doubt many. HEll you can't even get a basic app such as Yelp

You need to stop peeing in the pocket of Alec Saunders and his team. You can doubt all you want since you do not know. RIM knows they need to have both quality and quantity at launch to make an impression on naysayers. From following Mr. Saunders work since he has been brought on board at RIM, it is clear that he does quality work.

I want and planning on BlackBerry, but if they can't get enough developers to actually develop for them, then I will go for the distant 2nd best phone for quality apps, the iPhone. It would suck, but would suck less than having to use already inferior Android apps that were shoved-to-fit into a way better OS.

I will say that I do think it will be just the small developers that are still learning that will just port it. I have a feeling that RIM has the big companies and experience developers on board with making native apps. If that is the case, I will be quite happy.

15,000 Android ports, that won't help RIM much. 100 good multi-platform Native apps, that is the footing RIM needs.

Its' free money and devices why wouldn't dev jump on this?

the problem is that appworld will be flooded with crap like it is now. Anyone can just put together a simple app and submit and get $100 and free device.

You're forgetting that the app needs to be APPROVED for the dev to receive the $100. Yes there were 15000 apps submitted, but that doesn't mean all of them will be approved.

I'm not saying that all the ones that are approved are going to be useful, of course there will be crap apps, but that's how it is on every platform. Even with Apple's intense approval process, there are tons of crap apps in their store. That's pretty much unavoidable unless you want to stick with "we have 400 apps, but none of them are crap" compared to when Apple and Google say "over 750,000 apps available!"

So what? Even if 1% of those Apps are quality and 99% are "crap", it doesn't matter because RIM can just Feature the ones that are of higher quality. Realistically lower quality apps get downloaded by 2 or 3 people and then don't get downloaded once they get some bad reviews.

The two guys above are so right. Also think of the long term benefit. Devs who were stifled by the previous guidelines and software requirements are now seeing the changes first hand and in the long term will be more willing and more ready to say "yeah, I'll make an app for BB10" as opposed to saying, "hell no, it's a drag to make an app for BB".
Also, the Dev community is a tight group of geeks (I mean geek as a compliment btw) and word goes around quick, so RIM can assure everyone all they want that BB10 is easy to program for, but the Devs likely won't bite unless they hear it from another Dev.
Besides, if I end up with a crap app, I'll just review it badly and delete it. That's it.

Here's hoping we have a balance in terms of app quality. . .what I'm really concerned about are the big name app devs who won't really go for the $100. . .at the very least this will increase the buzz and those big name apps will take a second look at the platform . . .I wonder what our friends at Microsoft have done in comparison. . .hmm. . .

If RIM is ready to put this kind of money behind small time developers, then this gives me the confidence that they are doing whatever they can to get the big time developers as well. I'm sure that RIM offered money to those top developers to make an App for BB10 and if after all that the developer still doesn't want to make an app for BB, then there is nothing else that RIM can do.

It will be good to have a great App count at the start just to win over people who measure that. As for me, I like a few good Apps, but my main interest is having the great productive native apps which it looks like BB10 is going to deliver. Also really looking forward to a superior browser......expecially on the Playbook with BB10.

This is good news anyway you look at it...

for those who complain that there will be crap apps, tell me how to compete with android and IOS that also has tons of crap apps? should RIM try to match their 750k mixed apps with 750k quality apps? its impossible. They are taking away one less possible thing critics can say at launch

I read on endgaget comment for this story, that rim is allowing any1 to submit those ported apps without verifying that they actually own the apps that they have ported, if this is true won't this expose rim to legal action by the real owners of the app,

No, that is not true. It's not an article, just a comment. Probably some asshole making up rumors. Shame on them.

The title's a little misleading since these apps have to be approved. All 15,000 are unlikely to make it to the store. "Here come another 15,000 BlackBerry 10 app Submissions" would be more appropriate.

I think RIM is doing a great job of promoting how easy it is to port existing apps to the BB10 platform. However, the article doesn't specify which regions the apps are being developed for or who will be getting the apps. If the 15,000 apps are being ported for places like India and China which account for half of the world's population, well unfortunately here in North America we won't be seeing any of thoughs apps. Kudo to the developers who are supporting BB10 in general.


BB10, come home already.

So does anyone know how many apps are currently in BlackBerry-10 World? The reason I asked, I believe they had a port a ton already and I believe I saw 8000 apps ported and now 15,000?

Thank you for sharing this information, Chris!

I really hope that all this porting is of Apps we need and not 'fart' apps and senseless apps. We need strong apps at launch. I want them to be prepared. IOS has a lot of useless apps and so does Android. I know we need strong numbers at launch but i'd much rather apps like Instagram and other swat after apps come to the BB10 platform.

This is great news. RIM fighting hard to get back to the glory days. Keep fighting the good fight.
Now what I would like to see is recognizable apps such as Netflix, Newegg, Starbuck, Tim Hortons etc.

Only if the developers of those apps port/make them for the blackberry 10 platform, we will then have them. Can't blame RIM for not having them. They have no control over those developers.

And how do we handle the niche app developers? not all can afford or will require the big apps. Like I don't use Instagram and since my carrier charges horrendously for 3G so as I have to use home/work wifi. So if that's the case; why the f would I use Netflix on my BB10 device when I can easily see that movie/tv show on a bigger screen?

And if we know the big name apps already, wouldn't that be a killjoy during the launch?

"Sure, many of the apps are likely to be quite simple, or even low quality. But that is par for the course"

I don't like this comment at all. I rather have 2,000 high quality apps and that's it. I don't need 100,000 apps especially if they're crap. They just fill the app store and are a waste of space.

I rather hear we have all 1,000 of the top apps for both android and apple than to hear the magic 100,000 apps in total.

The problem is not everyone thinks as you do. Like you, I don't need a lot of apps, but for some reason the validity of a platform is being judged by the number of apps by bloggers, by analysts, and by consumers. Therefore, to be considered a legitimate alternative to iOS and to Android, RIM needs to have both quantity and quality. RIM is doing everything they can to be proactive and to make BB10 inviting to all.

Because they can't blame rim for the "lack of apps" developers chose not to port/make for the blackberry 10 platform. RIM has NO control whatsoever over those developers... So if your big name apps DON'T MAKE IT INTO BLACKBERRY WORLD.... You cannot blame RIM for it.


Have you ever heard the expression "You can lead a horse to water,but you cant make it drink it"?

For example RIM cant make Microsoft create a Skype app. What can RIM offer MS? Cash!

WINDOWS 8 & BB10 are in competition in the mobile space. Why would MS give RIM a tool to make them stronger?

I am not a Skype user but would love Skype on BB10 Just to shut people up.

It's pretty sad when a multi-billion dollar company has to bribe other companies to make an app for their platform. Also, MS and RIM are competitors but so is MS & Apple and MS & Google. There's no excuse to not have Skype at launch for BB 10. If it's not included in the announcement on January 30th, somebody dropped the ball.

There's a lot of cruddy apps on the Playbook, like those e-books and adult books. My main beef with App World which I hope is fixed in BB10 are app updates. If you purchase an app (or get it for free during a promo), it gets an update, they charge you for it. Doesn't matter if it's a patch or anything, you want the latest, you gotta pony up. I know with iOS and Android, once you paid for an app, you'll get a lifetime of free updates.

I would be curious to know which apps you are talking about. So far I have not had to pay for any updates on any of the paid apps I have downloaded.

He is not talking about paid apps, he is talking about free apps which become a paid app in a later version. On Android, iOS and webOS you'll get also the paid updates for free if you have installed the free version, but not in BlackBerry's App World.

For example Cooklet was free up to version 5.5.82, but then they started to charge €3,75 for the app - so you have to pay also for the update.

I don't know how App World handles changes in app pricing, e.g. I buy an app for €1,00 but later the developer decides to increase the app's price to €3,50 - will I have to pay the difference at the next update (at least this would be consistent with the behaviour described above)? If yes, will I get a refund if the developer decides to lower the price of an app? ^^

You forgot to mention webOS where app updates work like on iOS and Android ;)

This was the first thing which annoyed me very much on my PlayBook - I got an app for free and for the next update they wanted me to charge for it.

RIM openned their doors & windows to all Developers around the Globe. So if your " precious apps " is not available on BB10.

...Well! simply blame the developers...

if there is no NETFLIX - Blame it on NETFLIX.
if there is no SKYPE - Blame it on SKYPE
if there is no INSTAGRAM - Blame it on INSTAGRAM

Greater than 90 percents of the top Apps will be available at launch. Confirmed and dealt with. Try to keep up with last month's news, dude.

Boy, your arguments are getting thin. There was a time when you said BB10 would never see the light of day.

I doubt there will be only a few big name apps. From what I have seen, there will be many big name apps. The ones that don't show will only have themselves to blame. Again, from what I see, RIM has bent over backwards to make it super easy for devs to get their apps on BB10. If a company wants to piss in the sandbox, so to speak, and not make their app available for BB10, that's their loss. Despite some people whining that not having this app or that app is a "dealbreaker" (cry me a river already), I feel that the vast majority of people interested in BB10 are interested because of what the device itself does. The "vast number of apps" feature is coming along for the ride. If an app that is desired is not there, then there is probably a substitute which will pick up the business. That dev will be smiling as he/she picks up the money along the way.

Oh, and by the way, who said that apps had to be free? When YOU work, YOU get paid, don't you? Would you enjoy doing a bunch of work and not getting paid for it? Let's get real here. A decent app is worth a buck or two. Most people pay more for their daily latte from the coffee shop than what the majority of apps cost. So you wasted $.99 on a lousy app. Get over it. Post your review so either someone else doesn't get taken or the dev makes improvements. And someone will do that on another app for you.

Now smile. BB10 is here soon! :)

Love your critical thinking birdman_38, your simplicity of processing information makes me want to read "See Spot Run" all over again.

Were Skype and Amazon Kindle part of the 15000? Flipboard? Flickr? Was Angry birds ported to BlackBerry 10?

Better make sure you have the right apps: quality matters not quantity

Just my 2 cents!