"Loyalty doesn't feed my family, BlackBerry. I need incentives. I need to make more money."

By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Jun 2014 12:06 am EDT
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I recently caught up with a friend who is an independent app developer. He's capable of developing for other mobile platforms, but historically he's focused on BlackBerry app development and has been quite prolific at it over the years. There is a good chance you have downloaded one or more of his apps.

It didn't take long for me to ask my friend —who's name I'm going to leave anonymous for this post — how his app sales have been going lately. His reply? "Pretty terrible."

It wasn't a totally surprising thing for me to hear. It's well documented where BlackBerry 10 phone sales are at, and for the most part those buying BlackBerry OS phones these days are less the app buying type (lots of corporate issued BBOS phones happening in those numbers, or it's low cost handsets and the owners are looking for free apps vs. paid ones). In other words, a lot of the app-hungry BB10 phone owners have already bought their apps, and with their appetite mainly satiated with what's available and relatively small numbers of new BB10 owners stepping up to fill their app plate, app sales are flat-lining, and not at a high daily number.

Though not surprising to hear, it still sucked for me to hear this from him. This is a guy who's been fiercely loyal as a developer to BlackBerry and taken risks and made a very conscious effort to throw a lot of time and effort at BlackBerry app development. And he builds good apps. He's the kind of guy I ideally would want to see not only surviving, but absolutely thriving given his commitment to BlackBerry.

The way I look at, a healthy app store needs to strike a happy balance between big name apps and independently-developed apps, as well as a good mix of both free and premium (paid) apps.

When it comes to a lot of the big name apps — especially those that also live in an offline world — the company/developers can justify platform ecosystem support as an investment in serving their existing users. To use a recently-discussed example, while Air Canada took pride in building a BlackBerry 10 app to support their customers who use BB10 phones, Canada's other big airline WestJet has to date failed to see how there would be an ROI in supporting BlackBerry 10. In this situation, it's not about WestJet gaining new customers by building a BlackBerry 10 app — it's about them not pissing off existing customers because they don't have one. If they viewed building their BB10 app as an investment in their existing customer base (which they should), they'd realize the value and get it done.

For the independent app developer, it's a little bit different story. They're more often building a customer base for their apps from the ground up. They likely won't look at it as an investment in an existing customer base, but rather as a startup project. There's potentially huge upside if you get it right, but there's also the risk you won't make back the time and money you invested in the initiative.

And that's where my friend is now at in contemplating what to do next. As he told me, "Loyalty doesn't feed my family... I need to see incentives from BlackBerry. I need to make more money." He went on to say that as a developer, "at this point it's not about BlackBerry giving me access to more APIs or a better SDK, but simply about being able to make more money developing for BlackBerry. The tools are good enough. It doesn't matter how much more they improve them if I can't make enough money to justify building the apps to begin with."

Both not individuals who like to dwell on the problem, we quickly started focusing on potential solutions, brainstorming what BlackBerry could do to help the independent developers out there continue to develop new apps and also (hopefully) make more money off the apps they already have in BlackBerry World.

The solutions that came to our minds:

1. BlackBerry needs to sell more phones! A no brainer of course, but when apps that were selling well are no longer selling as well, part of that is due to a lack of new phone owners coming into the mix. The onus here is on BlackBerry to keep delivering the goods (aka, hot new phones that drive consumer demand!).

2. Give the 30% cut BlackBerry is currently taking off app sales back to developers This was a suggestion that I put out there, which my developer friend immediately loved. If he could make 30% more than he was making off his current app sales, that would help him considerably given his current monthly revenue. We tried to guess how much BlackBerry is currently bringing in from this 30% right now in total, but given that "lack of apps" is still the number one reason I hear and often see cited for someone not wanting to buy a BlackBerry 10 phone, it seems that maybe until things turn around this is a 30% BlackBerry needs to eat, for the sake of retaining (and hopefully attracting) developers.

3. Use this 30% incentive to see existing apps updated or for apps to be native It could be a great incentive for developers to build native apps if they knew that no cut would be taken by BlackBerry for those app sales. We know BlackBerry 10 users much prefer native apps to Android ports. Providing this type of incentive to developers who build native could go a long way to seeing more native apps in BlackBerry World.

Clearly, there a LOT of moving parts in this type of discussion, and I'm not suggesting that we have the answers fully formed here. However, we both thought that posting this could be a good thing, as it could help as catalyst for more meaningful discussion. My friend suggested that if we post this, you'll see a lot of other BlackBerry app developers in agreement that BlackBerry needs to do something for developers. They either need to up their incentives, or do something or what remains of the BlackBerry app developer community will begin to erode.

10k

I'll leave it that for now. Mull this over. Give it some thought. If you're a BlackBerry app developer, I'd love to hear your reactions in the comments. How are your BlackBerry World sales going right now? Is my friend the norm, or an exception? And if anybody has any brilliant suggestions of what BlackBerry can and should be doing to help all the independent app developers out there, be sure to to sound off in the comments as well.

Also on a side note, during our conversation we both remembered BlackBerry's 10k Developer Guarantee Program... and we both wondered if anybody ever was paid out from that program?! If you were approved as part of the program, be sure to let me know in the comments how it panned out for you. Did you make enough that you didn't need a check? Or did you not make the cut and get paid your guarantee from BlackBerry?

242 comments

epee

great!

Posted via CB10

bbschorsch

Interesting idea to have different % apps have to give to BlackBerry. Would be nice to say 20% for android 10% for native.

I don't think that you can totally take that away.
Since all platforms do that

And we have to keep in mind that Apple changes you $100 per year to be a registered developer
Microsoft 49$ for individuals and 99$ for companies

And Google $25 for setting up your account

On BlackBerry it is for FREE!

Beside that all except Microsoft take 30%, Microsoft only that's 20%

Now think again about that model.
You can't say being a vendor is for free and and we don't take a portion of your profit.

Apple and Google live from that! And trust me if BlackBerry does remove that they need to find another way to make those extra millions per quarter.

Currently I don't see a chance for this change since it won't bring new developers nor users to the platform.

Posted via CB10

IJKBB10

Well than he should start developing for iOS and Android. If his apps are not being bought enough in numbers to make money in BBW because the lack of users compared to the other platforms than develop for those other OS's as well.

 Posted via CB10 on my  Z30

br14

The problem is that the skill sets for all the major platforms are so different that writing native apps is generally from scratch.

That's a lot of effort to go through unless you're making money.

IJKBB10

Well than he should start developing for iOS and Android. If his apps are not being bought enough in numbers to make money in BBW because the lack of users compared to the other platforms than develop for those other OS's as well.

 Posted via CB10 on my  Z30

amnesiality

Microsoft charges 14 Euros for individuals per year for Windows Phone (Windows 8 also included).

mandony

The dev is correct:
Sell more BB phones should be the #1 priority.
No phones, no app sales.
With currently about 1% of the phone market, where to go?

More phones brings more users to the app store
Leading to more app sales.

Then, it really does not matter about the #2 or #3.

fast666

Nice

ChannelX C000D3759 We promote channels

usman_hidayat19

Couldn't agree more

Posted via CB10

Kevin Michaluk

Did all of you up ^ really read the post? That's pretty quick for 1200 words with comprehension. :p

jayemmbee

Lmao I think the new "first" post is now making one word posts without even reading the post itself

Posted via CB10

tranquil45

Speaking of comprehension, you folks write terribly. Happy to edit some of your articles. (serious offer)

Posted via CB10

BB Adict

+ 10000000

Blackberry always.....

masterful

I think so

I like his work though

 Slicing using my 

Insync

I agree KM.

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

Actually it's a very well written piece. Quite insightful.

ray689

Maybe Shao should have updated his apps and responded to the concerns of his customers ;).

Posted via CB10

dzbeebo

Hahaha was looking to see if someone else also knew who he was talking about.... and what ya know :p

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Everything always comes down to communication.

Posted via CB from my LE

dono007

i'm not a developer, but if i was, what i would probably do is develop for android *first, port it to BB just for kicks, and *only* do native BB10 if there's enough demand -- which would depend on the BB platform as well as the quality of my app.

AWB70

If it's already an android port and doing well, as a business would you waste more time on a native version?
That's one of the problems of taking path of least resistance and having ported apps in the first place.
At least with the Android version there's a good chance of roi, porting takes minimal effort so probably worth a punt as for native, that's a gamble where the time involved could be used making another android app.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Yup, the Android runtime is always improving. And it's the only 'language' for porting to BB10 you will never need to rewrite.

Unlike cascades, ww, air. Where you need to periodically rework apps for new OS releases and API's.

The spend less time on Cascades compatibility as Android. And keep pushing developers to Android and to back port. So why not indulge them.

Posted via CB from my LE

Insync

I have maybe 60 apps on my phone, more than most people I know. But they are all practical in that they do things I occasionally need to do. Most BlackBerry people I know have a few favourites and that's all they use. With so many apps out there it's deadly to review lists and try to make selections. I can't imagine how android and apple fans can do it.

I'm agree that with BlackBerry 10 there was probably an initial surge of buying, but like smartphone manufacturing, the competition is now ruinous.

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GooberNS

Mike approved. BlackBerry make it happen.

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R Field

This is a cop out sorry. Quality apps properly marketed by the creator do well. Poorly made or small niche apps will not. Really that simple I buy quality. Bought over 35 bucks in BB10 apps. Make something I need and I will buy it. Decide to create something not needed by a large percentage of the BB10 users well that is the devs fault for not doing their marketing research on what their customer base wants. Same is true for any platform no matter the size of the market. (see 600k Apple apps NEVER downloaded once) Simple as that make better quality apps and the ones the masses demand. No magic formula. BlackBerry needs to make money too they are not a charity case.

ZeroBarrier

I completely agree with you; plus I'd love to add that app developers shouldn't be charging for certain functions of some apps. For example FastTube; you want me to pay just to sign into YouTube, are you out of your freaking mind? I can sign in for free through a myrad of other means, it's a free service! If you want to charge me for unique and innovative functionality that isn't a core function already included for a free service, then that's fine by me and I encourage it; but don't try to punk me by trying to charge me for what's already a widely used free service just because you coded a native app in a weekend.

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

I am a developer and wrote a long response explaining it all below. I agree with R Field very much so. While I see your point though @Zero, I do not completely agree. FastTube is a very well developed app. It's his business to charge for it how he wants. Making such a core feature paid, it has allowed them to actually make a profit off of the App. I sense why you are irritated by the App is that you would like to use the App without having to pay for it. You would rather the developer make a goofy feature be paid so you could use the app for free. A very large part of being an app developer is being able to decide how you plan to make a profit from it. In this case, the developer of FastTube was very smart because he made a great native App and made a core feature unlockable. Why else would someone purchase a YouTube app if you could do just about all of the main functions without paying a cent? What incentive is that for the developer? This isn't YouTube making the app, which in that case they do not need to make any money from the App, this is a 3rd party developer who deserves to be compensated for making a great app.

At the end of the day, ask yourself. Did the developer ever have to even spend his time to make FastTube? No, they did not. If you feel that strongly about it then all you have to do is delete the app and pretend that it doesn't even exist, the developer doesn't owe me, you, YouTube, or BB10 users absolutely anything. As R Field mentioned, BlackBerry isn't a charity case and nor are developers.

And you mentioned the whole "but don't try to punk me by trying to charge me for what's already a widely used free service just because you coded a native app in a weekend."

I think you greatly misunderstand how much time it actually takes to build an App. Even if it did take him a weekend, it very well could have taken you 6 months to develop, that's besides the point.

KermEd

Well said.

Posted via CB from my LE

scr

+1

Posted via CB10

Session-10

You sir hit the nail on the head!

Although there's a lot of "poorly developed" apps out there. We need to understand that those that are "stellar apps" cost time and resources to produce. And yes, they are not and shouldn't be free. Which BTW I don't understand the concept of users out there complaining that the "stellar apps" are not free! As if it's not right for the developer to profit the fruits of their efforts. I rather pay for a good app than waste my time downloading a crappy one.

Z10 all the way no complaints!

Posted via CB10

feldmen01

I paid for FastTube and it is absolutely worth the very minimal charge it was offered at. It's just a great app.

joelajean

Good answer, couldn't have said it better !

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

axllebeer

As someone that has never developed a single app, I totally see what you stated to be completely accurate.

Posted via CB App from my Galaxy S4 Mini with an LED CrackLight ;-)

Tatwi

I also agree that BlackBerry is not a charity case. In what world does it make sense for BlackBerry to give up its share? Lol... BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry World belong to... BlackBerry! And sure as shit, it ain't free to keep the lights on.

Developers have options, lots of them, particularly with porting Android apps. It's not BlackBerry's fault if developers choose not to use those options. BlackBerry World market is what it is (which is REALLY small). Don't like it? Oh well. Don't expect a hand out from a company that is already struggling...

- Disco Trooper CB10Z10

TheScionicMan

10% of something is better than 30% of nothing.

iBold9700

The amount of users in the BB10 ecosystem doesn't even scratch the surface. Quality apps will only do so much for you when you don't have enough users to download your app in mass quantity to provide stable income. You have to be diversified when creating apps for a mobile OS and BB10 is not paved in fortune.

mnc76

Keep in industry that Apple and Android are a lottery as well. It been found that 2/3 of iPhone apps are "zombie" apps. E.g.: apps that have never or almost never been downloaded.

For every Shao's making little money on BB10 apps, there are 10,000 iOS devs making essentially no money on iOS apps.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

I have done cold app testing on the 4 major platforms by selling a simple game for 99c.

No marketing:
BlackBerry sales 2,000
IOS, 21
Android, 15
Windows, 2

When you don't market apps, sell for 99c, and just toss them out - blackberry is the best platform.

I'm testing again this year with in-app sale apps. And then advert apps.

Posted via CB from my LE

feldmen01

That is very interesting to hear.

I think you should speak with Kevin and share your findings with the Crackberry community through a weekend coder piece!

paulschulte

I'm not a developer, but I will happily pay $10 or even more for a good app that I need/want. Case in point at one time someone made a PlayBook version of the open source astronomy software, Stellarium. Then along came PB 2.1 and the app stopped working and the developer never fixed it. I since tried the Android version on my Z10 - it work and now I'm out $2. However, if a well developed and supported version came along for BB10 (and even PlayBook - yes I still use mine regularly), I wouldn't flinch at $10. (but I would probably want to try before buying)

What I would like to see, as an app user, is a way for me to say to BlackBerry, "here is the kind of app that I'm looking for," and have BlackBerry, in turn, publish a list of rolled up needs and wants, from all users, to the developer community, so that it can build apps that people really want to buy.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10.

bvinceb

Agreed!

Posted via CB10

daveomatic

Still say the #1 way to get BB10 phones out there is go prepaid.

Boost and Virgin would be my 1st stop. ATT and Straighttalk would be next.

birdman_38

That's likely what BlackBerry is planning to do with the Z3 LTE.

pfe1223

BB needs to get some phones approved for Ting. They mentioned that their nano SIM is Q10 compatible. Customers asked if they can expect one. Ting said no, but this was at the time when BB was looking to sell. Now that they have some stability I'd love to see them get the Q10. Only problem with Ting is that they resell Sprint service, so it has to be a Sprint compatible phone.

lawliet4401728

There is nothing meaningful to do if the user base is small...

Posted via CB10

lawliet4401728

Especially in richer countries

Posted via CB10

R Field

Wrong plenty of top apps available in other app stores that have not been made yet for BB10 why not take on one demanded by BB10 users that has not been made yet. Bellshare, SayIt, Nemory all got the right idea. Majority of times the real reason its not selling adequately is a combination of : niche app low volume market, poor marketing and communication, lack of updates, poor app support by dev.

playbookdrew

I'm wondering when was the last quality app released for BB10? And how many quality apps or updates are released on a weekly basis? Feels like there haven't been any 3rd party updates for the last 6-9 months.

celticmagick

Sadly, every platform has the "I won't spend .99 on an app but will drop several hundred dollars on a new phone/accessories in a blink of an eye" problem. I have no issue spending money on an app that I use regularly or is actively updated/supported.

BlackBerry definitely needs to get the ball rolling with the developers. I've always thought they should approach them, both large companies and independents, and basically sell their product and encourage development through the sense of community and incentives. Apple did that for iOS. How else did they have a pool of apps ready when the iPhone first launched?

As painful as it sounds, your friend shouldn't let his skills go to waste and make apps for the other platforms as well - which he probably already does.

emPowered by 

edyb

They did approach devs... When the BB10 roll-out first occurred, many of us independent devs got Dev Alphas and there were several contests for the PlayBook as well, to submit apps and get a free device. We have dev community forums, dev points system that earns us free goodies from BlackBerry, etc. I think BlackBerry did a great deal to encourage many developers but the problem is the overall market share and uncertainty of the platform that likely discourages the biggest players from bothering.

birdman_38

That's true. I thought the consensus was Alec Saunders did a fairly good job at grassroots app development while Marty Mallick did not at attracting big name developers.

RyanGermann

I don't think you can "blame" Marty for not doing the equivalent of walking on water. There is no sound technical reason for developers not to port their Android apps to BlackBerry, but in the minds of these vendors no amount of money is enough to get into what they thought was a sinking ship. Remember: decision makers at app vendors read BGR too.

mnhockeycoach99

I get quite the chuckle out of comments that claim Marty didn't do his job...because Marty could certainly have barged into Reed Hastings office, put a gun to his head, and MADE him develop a native Netflix app for BB10 on the spot. *eyeroll*

Posted via CB10 from my amazing Q10

RIM99

Exactly, so very easy to say, very difficult when you have every media outlet out there spewing negative garbage all over everything and anything Blackberry. (I have truly never witnessed such a negative biased media campaign against any company - well maybe except Exon and they deserved it for the Oil spill catastrophe they caused). That being said as things continue to turn around and grow, Marty will have better leverage.

birdman_38

What growth are you referring to?

RIM99

the growth in stock value, the growth in possitive customer perception, the growth in BES10 adoption, the growth may not be huge but since John Chen took over the trends appear to be starting to head in the right direction. Still long way to go but I believe that BB is on the right track. I guess from your question you don't see things the way I do.

RIM99

PS @ birdman_38, Seeking Alpha is a great source of information (wouldn't bet my mortgage on it), but it gives you both the negative speculation and the positive speculation on Blackberry market value, and my sense is over the last few months the amount of negative article has started to slow down and the amount of positive one's increase.

birdman_38

Yes, "upward trends" would be more accurate. Because while that may be the case, there's still the issue of shrinking marketshare.

The street's perception may have change but public perception is still very poor.

RIM99

turning around the consumer market will take time. The "street" will continue to blindly buy Apple or Samsung devices for a long time to come. But BB can really only go up in this market from where they are now. On the business side of the equation I believe they are in a very good position, if they execute the way I think they can they can dominate this market space that promises to be huge as well. http://blogs.blackberry.com/2014/05/analyst-4-reasons-why-i-want-blackbe.... I am not stupid and now the odds are still stacked against BB, but I do believe they have a solid strategic business plan, that I think makes a lot of sense.

TheBirdDog

There is reason to give incentives to the developers, sure. But BlackBerry can't afford to give all of their profits away either.
On a somewhat different note (but still related to BlackBerry World) I love that there is a great music selection available for download. It might not completely stack up to iTunes but it must be darn close to one of its biggest rivals. I don't have an iPod or any other apple product so I love that I can legitimately download music without needing iTunes. I am curious to know what type of revenue this brings BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

eyesopen1111

Well, if BlackBerry would build and market an all touch smartphone with specs that didn't need apologies, so that app loving consumers would take a good look at BB10, that would help.

Posted via Z-10 100-3 running10.3.0.296/442 hybrid

birdman_38

One of my points in my 5-point plan to make BlackBerry 10 a success was to give 100% of the proceeds back to developers. It would have been a radical move to grow the app catalog. Now that the new platform has flopped, this dev and CrackBerry are calling for that exact same premise.

playbookster

Tell me what apps are his so I can buy them

The GIF Exchange C001B7B16ً

Kennedy.L

Just to be stickler. If a developed currently receives 70 cents on a dollar sale but then instead received 100 cents on that dollar sale, that would be approx. 42.8% increase in revenue for our beloved developer.

edyb

Yes it would help, but I am not convinced that it would make a huge difference to the average developer. Imagine you doubled the number of BlackBerry users overnight, doubled your sales of apps, BB would still be a tiny percentage of the market overall and likely talented developers would still work towards releasing on other platforms.

Regarding app sales, I noticed that I didn't get any payout for a few months like I used to before, and then received a Bango email that seemed surprisingly high compared to my usual monthly rake. I guess there is a minimum now before they issue payments.

pblakeney

I get tired of seeing businesses and local news for example promoting their apps to download on to Android and ios with no reference what so ever to BBRY. And when you contact them all they say is "we have no plans for adding or developing for BBRY at this time". Just pisses me off every time!!!!
I dint look through the many apps in App World.

Posted via CB10

Karajorma

Just tell them that you have no plans to buy whatever the hell they are selling then. Point out that porting their app to BlackBerry is something they could have done in a few minutes (longer the first time, but pretty easy after that). Point out that if they are lazy and or ill-informed in that respect, they're probably equally lazy / ill-informed when it comes to whatever their core product is too.

If they hear that enough, they'll realise it's costing them customers.

Phi Nguyen

The costof supports and maintaining the app for such a Small market would be higher thèn any gains remember bbry hasnt broken the 8-10m bb10 phones sales yet far from it
Supports and app Development aint Free

Why do You think bbry makes their own fb app
Fb doesnt consider bbrys shared to be big enough to maintain supports

If You want supported apps you must be on a supported platforms no one is holding your phone hostage It is you who is restricting your self from productivity
Posted via CrackBerry App

Flip4Bytes

I am a developer and I do not completely agree with this article. I put an INSANE amount of time into my app and achieved the 10k commitment. I have been told by many that my app is very high quality and that they wished there were more apps in BBW on the same level as it. Difference is that I made my app as a learning experience hoping to make some money from it. Because I had this mindset, I put a lot of time making my App as pretty and user-friendly/functional as possible. If I was making the app simply to try and get the quickest/best return on investment then it would look nowhere near what it does right now. I could have cut out easily 100+ hours of development that I used solely for the UI and making it look pretty. I take pride in the work that I do and that is what made the difference between me achieving the 10k commitment and other devs not. Would have been easier for me to achieve too if I didn't choose such a glaringly niche App, but either way, I reached it and have some amazing supporters/users.

Devs stick together and one of my closest friends is also a developer. He actually got me into BlackBerry 10 App development. He too reached the 10k commitment with a pretty niche app, but guess what? He also put a lot of time and care into his app. Everything was calculated down to the colors he used to the way the app functioned. Many devs on this platform are throwing out sub-par apps and hoping to make it big, then complaining immediately afterwards blaming it on BlackBerry.

Yes, BlackBerry NEEDS to sell more phones for App development to be more attractive, but my App still has a pretty steady revenue stream and I haven't touched or updated it in two months. I guess that's the difference between quality vs quantity though, right?

Devs on this platform are seeing successes like Flappy Birds and the such on other platforms and then directly blame BlackBerry because they haven't able to hit it big. So many developers are entirely missing the boat when it comes to the UX of their app (User Experience). And honestly, it's what makes the difference between a good app and a GREAT one. If you are an App developer and struggling but have a well-developed App on the market, do a once-over and I'm SURE you can see where it is lacking in the usability department.

Quality Apps in BlackBerry World are far and few between. There is so much junk in there, especially from developers who just push out as many Apps as possible hoping to make some money. If you spend a whole 20 hours developing your App then it's most likely NOT going to reward you in any way. I put about 700-800 hours into my App, but that's including the learning curve of BlackBerry 10 App development and lots of help from fellow developer friends. If I were to remake it from scratch now, it'd probably take a few 100 hours, but there are devs putting 1/10th the time into their App and then complaining about not making any money. Quality apps stand out for a reason and your advertising essentially gets done for you if you develop a quality app due to word of mouth.

App development is NOT an easy profession, just because you attempted to make an App does NOT mean that you are guaranteed to make a living off of it. App development is a hobby of mine and it has paid off developing for BlackBerry 10, not sure why all of these articles are being written, such a 1-sided argument. You should talk to some of the developers who continue to make great apps and thrive on the platform like Nemory. He puts a lot of time into his apps and gets a great response because of it, continuing to develop for the platform. At the end of the day, devs need to put more care into their apps and the money will come. Yes, it would be great if BlackBerry sells more devices, but that's icing on the cake.

PSA from a BlackBerry 10 Developer - Devs need to put more quality into their apps and money will come.

I'm also excited for 10.3 and can't wait to entirely revamp the UI of my App and add a bit more functionality.

- Developer of Web Design Cheat Sheet for BlackBerry 10

edyb

You're absolutely right, developing is not easy and it takes a lot of time to really polish apps and that will help make them successful. There is almost no barrier to entry into the app marketplace... BlackBerry doesn't charge developers anything (unlike Apple and Google Play which have fees to join). That means anyone can code and submit apps, but while many are fairly rudimentary, others are much better quality and deserve to be rewarded. BlackBerry tried to improve the quality of apps by awarding a "Built for BlackBerry" badge and that incentive helped bring some developers over to a more polished UI and integration. It is still a big time commitment to be a quality dev, and there are no get-rich-quick schemes unless you just luck out (like Flappy Bird) or hit it big like some people who get viral on YouTube, but that is just luck.

Flip4Bytes

Exactly, and I even explain how much easier it is to actually get known developing for BlackBerry 10 as opposed to Android or iOS. I have been able to make so many connections having developed for BlackBerry 10. I have been able to meet some AWESOME people and gain respect from the BlackBerry/CrackBerry community having developing a quality App. BlackBerry has sent me developer devices, Limited Edition devices, etc. They didn't owe me ANYTHING. You think that Google and Apple just throw developer devices to a random new developer on their platform? You have got to be kidding me!

I could have done the exact same thing on iOS or Android and one of two things could have happened. I could have struck gold from my App because there are so many users or I would have been completely ignored and my app would have never seen the light of day. Most likely the latter would have happened. On iOS and Android you really need to be prepared to spend marketing dollars to promote your App. On BlackBerry 10, at this moment in time, you can get away without spending a cent on marketing dollars. Sure, some shameless self-promotion is needed at times, but it's much EASIER and CHEAPER on the BB10 platform than the competition.

Quality apps stand out MUCH more on BlackBerry 10 then they do on even Android or iOS. Not to mention, a HUGE chunk of users will never pay a penny for a paid app on iOS and Android. Since there is so much competition on those platforms it's difficult to even charge money for your app in any avenue. Nice thing about BlackBerry 10 is my niche app is the only one of it's kind and it is useful, people appreciate that and download/purchase it. Can't complain with that.

jr4941

I really appreciate your comment on this article. I found that it was way too one-sided. I'm sure Kevin appreciates that one developer's experiences does not a whole story make.

I appreciate the efforts from those developers who have a passion for it. I also appreciate the efforts of those trying to make a career of it. There have been many stories of cross-platform developers saying how much better BB is that iOS or Android.

RyanGermann

I'm really glad to hear that your app did so well for you (and your customers).

May I be so bold as to suggest that you share some of your marketing techniques?

I'm sure some of your success is attributable not only to dropping the app in App World and waiting... I'm sure you have pretty decent marketing skills to, right?

A post that helps other devs get the word out about their apps would be really appreciated, I wager.

Flip4Bytes

Absolutely, I'd be more than happy to share what I did for marketing. Nothing I did actually physically cost me money, just time.

First, I networked as much as possible at BlackBerry Live 2013 and was lucky enough to meet the members CrackBerry, N4BB, BerryFlow, and BlackBerryOS. I was absle to get a few interviews lined up from them which resulted in a few blog posts that helped me out immensely. I tried to make myself known in the CB Forums, but being such a niche app, my thread introducing my app pretty much just died off fairly quickly.

I constantly updated my app and asked for feedback from my users. If I received a contact email from them, I was sure to respond within hours of receiving it. I appreciate everyone who supports me so the least I can do is be an active developer.

I made a BBM Channel for my app and released some sneak peeks on it before launching updates. I managed to get a few hundred subscribers from that.

My last ditch effort was to develop a promotional page for the app on my website located at: http://www.cyberbytesinc.com/portfolio/web-design-cheat-sheet

This helped me get the word out a bit and I requested that the blog articles linked to it for more information on my app.

All in all, I just tried to be an active developer and interact with my users. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way in such a passionate community. That and network, network network.

(Yes, it was no cake-walk, it took a lot of time, but I didn't spend a dime in the process.)

Karajorma

I look at it another way. A lot of people seem to think app development on BlackBerry should be a path to easy money. Sure it would be nice if it was, but let's tune in to real FM for a bit.

The 10k commitment is a great idea, but ask yourself, how much work would you have to do in a different programming job to earn 10k? If you think you deserve to get that for a weekend or two of part time work, you're either an incredibly talented coder or you have an extreme level of overconfidence in yourself.

I'm currently in the process of taking my first steps in BlackBerry coding. I'm looking to make some money out of what I do. But I'm not going to assume that any failure to make piles of money must be BlackBerry's fault. Sure there are things they could and should do to help. But coders also need to look at what they are trying to sell. I can think of lots of examples of really popular apps that have some pretty seriously flaws in the way they work or the UX.

Flip4Bytes

Absolutely. To be honest, I hit the 10k commitment but in no way made out like a bandit. The amount of time I put into my app and the amount of stress I went through was insane. At the end of the day, my best estimate is that it all equated to about $10 an hour. That's significantly lower than my actual job pays, but you know what? I was able to work through a path that essentially allowed me to get paid to learn BlackBerry 10 development. Even more, it allowed me to go to BlackBerry Live and meet some AWESOME people that I am still extremely close with to this day.

More than just the money, I have built up some life-long relationships in the process and money or not, that made it worth it to me. Sure, if I didn't hit the 10k I would have been bummed as it stressed me the heck out for many, many months.. But at the end of the day when I see my app in BlackBerry World with over 500 - 5 star reviews, I can't help but be proud of myself. I worked my ass off and it paid off. I spent my entire summer break ONLY working on my App (those 3 months were almost entirely committed to just doing that). I put another few hundred hours into the app over the course of the remaining 6 or so months I had before the 10k deadline. I could have worked on websites for my clients and secured a stable income from that, but instead I took the leap into BlackBerry 10 development.

The people I met have been incredible and the awesome user-base I have been able to grow from nothing is astonishing to me. I'm proud of myself for accomplishing what I have, money or not, and isn't that what counts?

I agree though, there are dozens of very popular apps that have enormous flaws in the way that they work & their UX. Luckily, I came from being a front-end developer & UI/UX designer to a BlackBerry 10 programmer so I was already thinking in the usability front when developing my app. Many developers are predominantly programmers, and while talented, that often means they ignore or do not understand front-end which is enormously important.

feldmen01

I don't like how Kevin titled this post... reminds me of BGR, which I stopped reading due to posts like this one... Your post, on the other hand, gives me a sense of satisfaction, as I always thought the quality apps will continue to thrive on BB10.

Thank you.

Flip4Bytes

Thank you, quality apps will always thrive on BlackBerry 10. There are tons of talented developers on this platform, but many of them are absentminded to UX (User-Experience) which is what makes the difference between a good app and a high quality app.

Seriously, I get so frustrated sometimes when I'm using a great app and it does things like disables the back button/swipe to go back when not necessary at all. It's a core feature to BlackBerry 10 for a reasons. Usability testing shows that it makes sense to have a back button in the bottom-left or allow to swipe back.

Many developers insist to make their apps look like Android/iOS apps and only put a back-button in the top-left corner. You have GOT to be kidding me. Android devices have a physical back-button, that's why it's okay to have it up there. iOS apps are used predominantly on a TINY device (iPhone) so you can reach the top-left corner with no strain. BlackBerry has no physical back button and the Z30 has a large screen.

As a developer you NEED to be aware of these HUGE UX flaws in your apps. Add a dang back button on the action bar where it should be! Or atleast enable the peek to close the page! (There are of-course some situations where disabling peek/back button makes sense though. A good example is on the CB10 app when the user is writing a comment. You do NOT want them to accidentally swipe back and lose everything they are typing so you open up a sheet instead of a page and have the cancel option in the top-left corner.) Seriously, UX awareness will get you very far in App development :)

Someone needs to write an article for developers to inform them of common UX flaws and teach them how to fix them and explain to them what they should be looking for in order to improve their app to make it "quality".

scr

I wish they replaced original article on Crackberry by your post. Very well said!

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

Really appreciate it (:

scorepion

Could not have said it better!

Posted via CB10

twstd.reality

100000% you make me want to buy your app just to support your effort!

Flip4Bytes

Haha means a lot to me but I'd rather you buy the app if you could get use out of it instead (:

Cheers!

bvinceb

Yours is a great app my friend and I have purchased multiple modules. Keep up the great work!

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

Appreciate it :D

You guys are who keep me going, couldn't have done it without you!

thecarpy

@flip4bytes

One thing about your app I do not like is missing browser specific stuff, the other your use of w3schools. The guyz over at w3schools are free riding on the back of w3c AND are full of shit, when it comes to content.

You send them a request to fix an issue on one of their topics , and months later it is still wrong on their site. Generally, they base their crap on ie and ie is dead.

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

The problem with including the browser specific information within the app is that it's constantly changing. Whether that's vendor prefixes or what browsers and versions a particular resource works in, it's quite volatile. One day you need a vendor prefix for chrome and the next day you don't. When dealing with what browsers each resource works in, most of the time it's just listing that it works in all browsers except for IE version 7/8 etc. In order to not make this app reliant on an internet connection to grab information, I had to physically put every single word you see in the app into an XML file and reference it. Including the browser specific information which is constantly changing would make updating the app an extreme hassle for me (I'm one person). That's why I included a quick way to view more information on the site of your choice which includes more in-depth information like the browser specific stuff.

And yes, I am quite familiar with w3schools which is why I also offer other site options for every single element/resource. Including Mozilla Developer Network, W3C, SitePoint, WebPlatform, etc. You get to pick the site you want to utilize the additional information from. I spent a lot of time giving the user the option, and in some cases, for the HTML ones for example I got out of control giving the user 7 different options for more information. I'm trying the best that I can with the resources that I have at hand.

Keep in mind that this app consists of more than 50,000 lines of XML data (which I had to go through one by one and write and organize). Having the data build directly into the app allows for a much quicker user-experience as it doesn't have to constantly load external content and use data. I really took on a much larger project then I had initially anticipated so I had to cut some things out one way or another while still including it in the app somehow.

Ebscer

This sounds about right...

Some of my apps have a shockingly large percentage of the user base, but without a larger overall number of users it doesn't really make enough of a difference...

alimin

Well, looks like BlackBerry is about to give up to Android ecosystem anyway! That's another factor killing BB apps developers. Developers will simply build apps for Android because BB users will be able to run it anyway, so why bother develop apps for BB alone? Adding to that, the recent sales marketing ads for Z3 is about boasting that it too can run Android apps, go figure!

birdman_38

If a dev ports an app from Android to BlackBerry 10, do they still receive the same amount of compensation for sales?

schmeat

Yup. Exact same 30% that native apps get.

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

So what's the point in putting in the extra effort to build a native app?

UberschallSamsara

This is a good and key observation. CEO Chen recently replied "no comment" to a Walt Mossberg question about "why don't you just become and Android handset maker?"

The question of whether putting in the time to learn and keep up with BB10 Native/Cascades will end up going to waste is a very real question, given comments like the above from the CEO, and given how Adobe AIR was killed and AIR apps were not just left in legacy stasis but outright killed as well (all AIR apps will cease to function as of the drop of BB 10.3.1).

Obviously BlackBerry needs to be wary of their bottom line in order to survive, but as they say in business - "you can't shrink your way to greatness."

Chen has lots of constraints but hopefully he realizes that there's only so long he can be cagey about Android plans before savvy indy devs will make the calculation that Cascades is too big of a business risk for a small dev shop.

rhitdoph

Any source to your note about giving up Android, please? Is this any rumour, any ill-meant comment to pour oil into fire (the comments are spicy enough) or fact?

Smiley88

I've been working full time100% on BB10 apps the last two years. The past few months like Kevin's "friend" said. It's terrible and sucks.

birdman_38

Ever since BlackBerry made "98%" Android app compatibility a reality.

Smiley88

+1000. Either go Android or get it off BB.

edyb

Hey folks, I'm an app developer and my Vendor Portal is: http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/31328

BlackBerry was the first mobile platform I developed for, starting with the PlayBook and then moving on to BB10. I've used WebWorks, Marmalade SDK and Cascades. I haven't made any significant money, I do it for the love of BlackBerry. My main reward has been developer incentives (devices, T-shirts, etc.) and also the enjoyment (but also frustration) and challenge of learning something new and accomplishing something I never thought I could do before. I am not a professional, it is a hobby, I have a regular non-computing-related day job. But I feel for all those hard-working developers who really put way more time and effort to make awesome apps and do rely on apps to feed their families. I would love to make more time to refine and debug and improve my own apps because with each OS update there are small glitches that need fixing, but that is time away from other work that puts food on the table.

Lia Levin

BlackBerry must change the way they sell the handset. Instead give discount why not give voucher for buy application.
I think buying application is not a habit for a BlackBerry user. We already have a device that can do everything that we need :).

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

If I'm not mistaken, I believe CrackBerry once had a post that claimed a BlackBerry user spends more on apps per user than any other platform. This was a while back though.

quizm

As long as the app gap is real, BlackBerry must pay attention to this story. The app strategy is absolutely critical to both selling and keeping customers. Listen, act fast, or die.

Posted via CB10

kartikeyarathi8

M not a developer but somewhere i agree totally with you KM on two points - bb to sell more devices and 30% proceeds to developers for app growth. Bb needs to act swiftly to win over competition.

ekkescorner

+1 for solution #1
from my POV cutting the 30% wouldn't really help

BlackBerry should make it easier to recognize if apps are ported Android apps or native.
It's not so easy for users to find the 'real' BB10 apps. It already helps to see if an app is Built For BlackBerry, but I would also like to see a little Icon telling me the App is Android and make it easier to find the apps developed for BB10

I couldn't aggree that better API or SDK or so doesn't help.
There are some half-baked things out there as real show stopper to make money from customer projects, per ex:

1. No Keyboard Layouts like Android or iOS have
You have this great Z30 with active USB Hub and can connect wireless USB keyboards with ease - then recognizing that you cannot type words like 'München' because all keyboards are recognized as naked QWERTY. Same with the USB Mouses - worse support.
Missing this is killing some projects I spent much time on

2. 2nd Screen not easy
It's really cool to add a 2nd Screen using Miracast. People like it and BB10's integration of Miracast is really smooth. There are so many usecases where I would like to add 2nd Screen funtionality, but at the moment there's no Cascades Support to design the 2nd Screen

3. Standard Libraries missing
There's no support for standards like MQTT or so - blocking x-platform projects where users rely on MQTT for M2M / IoT projects

4. No PDF and Printing
There's no easy support to create PDF on the fly and or to print from Cascades Apps

BB10 is great for Business Apps and also Consumer Apps. I'm focused on Business Apps, so maybe experiences of Consumer App Develoepers are different.

Over all it's really fun to develop Cascades Apps, but someone has to pay the beer and feed the family as you wrote.

georg4BB

I agree with all points, especially point 4. I'm collecting new app ideas also with focus on business apps. Creating charts from data, export data as pdf or doc on the fly is impossible. There are only workarounds.

qbo

Love this article - took the thoughts right out of my brain. There's something seriously wrong with the BlackBerry app ecosystem and its support for developers in the recent months. I really love the suggestions that you guys brainstormed. Make it happen BlackBerry..

Thanks Kevin!

edyb

The ecosystem is functioning just like it always has. The decline (if any) in app sales would be due to BlackBerry users, not the fault of BlackBerry. If there are insufficient users making purchases it may be due to lack of new handset sales, and existing users being saturated or satisfied with the core set of apps they have loaded on their phones and no interest in browsing for new ones. I assume that handset sales would tend to improve app sales as new users may stock up on apps when they initially get a phone. The ecosystem is more or less a free market and the suggestions mentioned in the article, while they sound nice, are only short-term band-aid solutions.

TioPepe78

I'm not a developer but I would say that given the slowly growing market bb10 has it would be a good idea for BlackBerry to give their 30% to the developers, maybe in steps, 10%, ported app, 20% native app, 30% BlackBerry approved, for a limited time from the first time the developer post the app.

Another thing is to provide additional support to apps that give really good functionality for the ecosystem, for example OnLocation or geotoolbox, both do great in geolocation but both need to give more functionality, some functionality is missing because the API (turn wifi off) and some maybe because the apps are not selling and there is no incentive to develop further, but necessary and useful apps like these should be somehow subsidized by BlackBerry until a point the functionality matches the ios and android apps. So in this point BlackBerry must find these really useful and necessary apps, there shouldn't be too much, no more than 20 apps for 20 specific functions missing or limited in the ecosystem and work shoulder to shoulder with the developer.

Posted via CB10

NemOry

Sales are going down, but slowly, the cause in my opinion is the lack of new phone owners. But still I believe in BlackBerry 10.

Posted via CB10

NemOry

The 30% cutoff really hurts. it's good BlackBerry doesn't charge devs for publishing apps to BlackBerry World, but the cutoff I think must be reduced

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

At the same time though, Apple and Android are out there taking closer to 50% imagine that... Reducing this 30% even more will not necessarily make that much of a difference to developers and will hurt BlackBerry more than helping them. They need some money to help further develop tools, improve BlackBerry World, Beta Zone, Vendor Portal, etc. The only solution really is for them to sell more phones and they definitely are trying to do that. Keep up the great work man, devs gotta stick together and keep believing in BlackBerry 10. It'll pay off eventually :)

pfluger

Agree with solution #1. I am pretty sure nothing else will really help.

Yaqwe

Is there any possibility to buy an app as a gift? I would buy some apps twice to give them away.

Posted via CB10

Smiley88

It was possible before.

Flip4Bytes

They are finally working on promotional codes again. That would directly lead into gifting apps to people (hopefully). I agree, they do need to implement this feature.

imcurved

BlackBerry really need to implement this functionality quickly. There are apps that I really like and really want to give to friends and family as gifts but couldn't. I'm patiently waiting...

 CB10 

Revolver

Part of it is getting over the "All apps should be free or 99c mentality" a lot of people have. It used to be that apps were pretty limited and small, and were rightfully cheap, but that's changing now with people's "app pricing mindset" lagging behind. I know I've passed on what could be great apps because they were $2.99 or $3.99, and I'm used to apps being free or maybe a buck. Then I proceed to spend twice that much on some fast food I'll regret a few hours later instead of spending it on an app I might get real enjoyment or usefulness out of. I'm working on broadening my "acceptable app cost" though.

edyb

We forget when software used to cost us $39.99 or $49.99+ a few years ago on a floppy diskette or cartridge, and was packaged in a gigantic box 10x the size, so the store would see if you tried to smuggle it under your coat. Now you can buy a fantastic fully-featured 3D game for a few bucks. Why are phone apps so much cheaper? Because almost anyone can enter the app dev market and there is so much competition, and sometimes small dev teams or individuals do the whole app from start to finish. Other software can take much larger teams with much greater cost to develop and market. But yes there is a mentality of "free" out there which makes it harder for devs to charge for apps, so some are going for ads which can also be intrusive.

Revolver

That's the thing, I still frequently buy desktop software at that price that I use far less frequently then some of my free mobile apps. I just have a very different mindset when it comes to pricing on mobile vs desktop software. My desktop programs are usually more full featured and powerful, and that justifies a higher price. What can be done on a phone/table can ever really compete with that can be done on desktop, and they never will, but they are improving greatly from where they started. I don't want mobile apps to match desktop prices, I just feel there's room to come up in price for some of the really great apps.

NemOry

Reason I make apps in native form is because it's EASY... I tried android development, and saw how they make iphone apps and they are so difficult compared to BlackBerry 10 development

Posted via CB10

Dave Bourque

Hey I'm in the process of making apps too. I've coded in C,C++,html,php, java, learning a bit of QT too which seems easy but I've never actually developed my own app.

edyb

BlackBerry is a great platform to begin coding apps for. You can apply any of your skills because there are so many options in which to code. After starting out in HTML5/CSS/Javascript with WebWorks and then struggling with Marmalade SDK and Visual C, I would definitely recommend going straight into Cascades and the Momentics IDE which will get you up and running in no time. There is a ton of support in BlackBerry and you can hear it from the devs who are responding on this article... Success stories from hard-working devs who put a lot of effort into making some incredible apps and doing well for it. Good luck and if you need any help drop into the Forums developer section.

ekkescorner

YEP - Developing Cascades Apps is EASY
But my main reason is that I cannot create same kind of apps on other platforms (as of today)
Deep integration into the BB10 OS, Invokation Framework, FLOW with peek-back, ... enables me to create awesome business apps.
Comparing Cascades with Android: it's a real pain to design UI for different screen sizes in Android and having hundreds of small XML files aren't easy to maintain. From my POV I'm doing Cascades Apps in 50% timeframe of Android 4 Apps.
iOS I really didn't like Objective-C Syntax - always lost in all the [ ]
NOW with iOS 8 and Swift there's also an easy to learn and easy app-creation on iOS. Also iOS brings Extensions working in a similar way as Invokation Framework. So starting from iOS 8 I'll do also Swift Development - but not as a replacement of BB10. BB10 and BES10 will be my main focus on app development - but now with Swift it will be easier (for me) to add iOS Apps to be included into Secure Workspace, which will help to develope BB10 Smartphone + iPad apps for Business Customers.

07thking

I have bought over 100 apps, some that I no longer even use. I really don't know how many apps a person really need to buy. Most of them do the same thing or similar just different ways. This doesn't seem to be BlackBerry's nor developers fault. I think this will happen eventually for lots of independent devs. If you think about it, this was bound to happen. Just like with the OS's eventually they will all have the same features. And soon there will barely be a need for apps because the direction I see things heading slowly more and more app features are being built into the OS or created by the OS creators. Print apps, now built in, map apps, now built in, multiple alarm apps, now built in, flash light apps, now built in, wireless transfer files apps, tip calculator apps, now built in, navigation apps, now built in, photo/video editing apps, now built in, voice dictation apps, now built in etc. Games not so much but many if not most are redundant.

Another thing is most people I know use a few certain apps and that's it for them (Android, BlackBerry, IOS and Windows). They don't have nearly as much apps as I do and are happy that way. Ages range from 17 and up. And if they are interested in getting an app the first thing they want to know is if it's free. I have spent time trying to explain that it's devs jobs and it won't hurt to buy apps as devs need to get paid for their work like everyone else but they just won't get them if they aren't free.

And now with smart eye ware and watches even less need for apps.
That's just the way I see it anyway.

Photos captured using BlackBerry devices - C00016D81

JDukeOSBB

My initial reaction to this post was negative. After re-reading it, my reaction is unchanged. Blackberry users demand quality, if you spam the store with crap apps, you will be disappointed. That's a pretty simple concept to grasp.

Incentives aren't the problem. Selling more devices is the solution. The BlackBerry World ecosystem has the lowest barrier to entry than any other major marketplace, and it is the easiest platform for which to develop apps.

Regarding the 30% cut, really? Sure it would be nice to have that lower, but do I think it should be lowered? Absolutely not! It's already completely free to build apps for BlackBerry!

I rarely speak out in an negative tone, but I can't help myself here. After reading all this, you have the nerve to suggest BlackBerry maybe didn't pay the participants in the 10K commitment program!? Really? (I'm sure you were just 'throwing that out there, right?)

I'll be happy to answer though... Yes, they paid us and they took great care to make sure they paid ALL of us who qualified.

Bottom Line, quality apps do well, and the only solution to dwindling app sales is to sell more BlackBerry 10 devices.

Posted via CB10

Flip4Bytes

This! +1

Kevin, if you're going to read just one comment, read this one. It encompasses the feelings and thoughts of all the QUALITY app developers on the platform. Short and sweet.

BeeRanDyn

Great response. One can't blame BlackBerry for everything especially when it comes to developers who aren't seeing a return on their applications. I've used a lot of the "popular" BB10 apps and while they are good in some respects, there are many that don't wow me or send a message that the developer is anything more than someone that is trying to fill a gap in the BlackBerry World ecosystem. I don't see a lot of creativity nor do I see a lot of developers that know how to make a user friendly and intuitive application. I've only used a couple of well built applications that give a sense of depth and well thought out user interface. The Sochi application was a perfect example of what a good application could be in BB10, but yet that's the only one of it's kind to be developed. IMO most devs aren't seeing a return in their work because 1) yeah, BlackBerry needs to sell more devices, and 2) a lot of applications just aren't that good.

KermEd

Well said as well

There is a trinity. Price. Quality. And Need.

If you app doesn't meet those - all the marketing and communication in the world won't help

With that said if it does meet those - communication and marketing is all that's missing.

You won't make a million on BlackBerry. But you can make a couple thousand without killing yourself. And my app sales are still 200 to 1 on BlackBerry to the other platforms.

Posted via CB from my LE

BeeRanDyn

Kevin,

Can you post a list of apps this developer has made so that I can judge for myself whether or not this dev makes applications worth purchasing?

TimJohnSmith

Kevin, you said you were keeping the developer anonymous. So, can a database be generated accessible via the CB10 app and website, of the native BB10 apps? And make a suggestion to BlackBerry World to do the same. This way developers who go the extra mile have help showing off their work.

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

TimJohnSmith

That list is for a developer who doesn't seem to respond to or update apps.

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

alternator77

Here's another tip that may help.
Only cover apps that are native on the site. Might help native developers as well as encourage ports to become native.

I don't care if other people want a bb10 device I wanted one and that's all that matters.

TimJohnSmith

I see this to be a multi faceted solution

1. Start selling BlackBerry World cards through retailers. You see iProduct cards, they are all over. Time to get the cards out for BlackBerry World, there are people who would buy apps with gift money. The cards fulfill that.

2. App developers need to look more at the "in app purchase " model. Multiple low cost purchases in an app can be worth more than selling the app. I, myself, have seen some 7-10 dollar apps that I would have bought at $2, but not at $10. If those apps were priced lower and then had unlockable features I would have likely bought the app. How many haven't bought an app because of the price? If it had been lower, with in app purchases would you have?

3. BlackBerry it's time to change your percentages. A port? 30%. A native that doesn't achieve "built for " status? 20%. A native that achieves "built for "? 0% for the first 12 months, 10% thereafter.

4. Sell more of your awesome phones. Those of you complaining about the specs of the phones...how often do you show off how great your new BB10 devices run high demand apps? I used to have some heavy games on my phone just to show the abilities off. (mobility issues for the past year make it near impossible to show anything that requires two hands in any positive light, for me). I impressed two devote Android users with a +1GB game on my Z10, to the point where they actively considering a Z10 for themselves.

5. The ability to run Android apps is a double edged sword. When running an Android app on a BB10 device does it report that it is on a BlackBerry Whatever, or on Android x.x? The information being sent back to the developers from the device must consistently show it is running on a BB10 device. This will show the demand and help encourage more development for the platform. If it only shows as an Android version, it will only harm efforts.

My two cents.

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

Prem WatsApp

Some very good points, Tim, and your suggestions might just work out well IF they were implemented.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

jh07

I've purchased quite a few apps and will never pay over $.99 for another one. I really don't even like paying that. Some of the developers of $3,4,5 apps have disappeared. I doubt I'm the only one who can't get support for certain apps. If the developers are pissed and not making enough money, then take your applications off of BlackBerry World.

Posted via CB10

Bacon Munchers

Perhaps next time you spend $5 for a cheese burger, or $3 for coffee, the cost of an app that you may use every day over the course of possibly years to come will put itself into perspective.

Prem WatsApp

Apps and tools like ...

ClipMan (awesome multi-slot clipboard you can share to via any share option, removes many copy and paste grievances and can keep an almost endless history)
http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/20079866

Video Shrinker (native app, almost indispensable to get some videos or Story Maker clips under the 16MB BBM share limit, does a brilliant job)
http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/42838891

Scan to Text (does a good job getting a document scanned and the text extracted for use in docs to go or as a PDF) http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/25231876

... have almost become indispensable utilities for me.

And I got more out of these quality apps that I ever paid for. Happy to have a cup of instant, if I need that as a "placebo" to justify the purchase....

(I don't have to mention SuperTube, Noted, e-Mmanuel, MockIt etc., yes even games like Hues, Flycraft and Flappy Herbie! )

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Prem WatsApp

* become almost indispensable....

(will enjoy them on any BB10 phone thereafter, they're part of it now, won't ever miss them again, they're in my BBID now! )

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Bacon Munchers

I think we have hit bottom for not only the stock price, but device sales. Looking forward, if dev's can hang on a bit longer, I see a ray of light starting to show.

I really think that in the next couple quarters, we start an upward swing.

Zmain

I still do believe that blackberry should of partnership with another mobile manufacturer that at list would of help to give the company some needed drive, at present moment things is still not moving great enough for them.

The man with executive ability wins always in business.

dejanh

Interesting editorial but I feel that it does not capture a number of critical elements.

App development is highly commoditized and strongly dominated by large corporations and (alternatively) by organizations relying on the freemium model. The former have alternative (primary) revenue streams and perceive app development as an extension of the existing services, not as an added revenue stream; hence the reason why almost all corporate developed and published apps tend to be the most feature rich and also free. The latter are primarily funded not through app sales, but rather through advertising and data aggregation, data which is subsequently resold for other uses. App development for individual developers may have made some sense when the entire ecosystems were starting out, whether it be Apple, Android, or BlackBerry, however with the staggering numbers of apps present today and the very limited functional implementation of smartphones it is nearly impossible to create an app that differentiates enough to itself become a solid source of revenue.

If we were to imagine a similar scenario existing in the traditional computer space, it would be the equivalent of having several thousand different text editors and task organizers, several thousand words processing tools, several hundred office suites, and tens or hundreds of thousands of utility tools such as file explorers, compression tools, calculators, weather trackers, etc. Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it? There is a reason why most of these hundreds of thousands of apps are made up of mostly the same type of app done over and over again by different people; hence the "they're all flashlight and fart apps". There is simply an overabundance of choice where each choice is virtually no different than the next.

Going back to desktops, a similar scenario did exist in that space as well about 20 years ago. If we look at office suites we had Microsoft Office, Lotus, Corel, etc. all competing trying to take a slice of the market. Over time consumers demanded more simplicity, more integration, and greater standardization which resulted in the competitive edge of most of these competing platforms being eroded to an ever greater extent. They all started to do similar things in order to meet consumer demands and eventually there was no reason to choose one over the other. The choice came down to who was the most portable and best integrated, and the winner was clear, Microsoft.

So, how do we tie this in to the premise of this editorial. Kevin stated that BlackBerry needs greater incentives for developers. That's definitely true. He also stated that BlackBerry needs higher volume. That too helps. However, what BlackBerry really needs is not another Apple or Google like app store. They should focus on getting developers to write not apps but true applications for mobile computing. This in fact could be their differentiator. So far nobody is really realizing the idea of mobile computing, not because the devices lack power but because productivity tools simply don't exist. BlackBerry should invest in building this portfolio and by doing so not only can they support their own idea of targeting enterprise and prosumers but also become a leader in a budding market segment. They truly could become the standard for mobile productivity. And as for the common app developers...I think that you are best served trying to carve out another niche or going to a platform that is better suited to the freemium model. Direct revenue model based on apps is just not profitable or sustainable with an ever growing commoditization of the entire market especially when the volume is just not and will not be there.

Posted via CB10

dejanh

Just as further proof of the commoditization that I am talking about you need not look further than Apple's announcement today where they will allow a family to purchase an app once and share it between six family members. Fantastic for consumers but it cuts the value of each app by (up to) six times. That's a huge deal.

There is no value in apps as such. Some may still be cashing in on them, but these are few and far between and are poised to become even fewer.

Posted via CB10

Prem WatsApp

"Applications (for mobile computing) instead of apps" is a great observation.

Productivity tools for small businesses, corporations, sole-traders, etc...

If they present real value, these can be sold for $49 or more, or on a subscription for $99 a year, look at Invoice2go.com

Great solution, albeit only iOS and Android, and they refused to port. And, they use GoogleAPIs on their website.... :-((

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

nbaliga

If I'm not mistaken, John Chen recently indicated that he doesn't think there's enough for a BBRY ecosystem. This prompted a lot of people (myself included) to speculate that they will adopt Android as the app platform while continuing with BB10 for the core hub, flow, keyboard.

Nothing different from today, except they'll put more muscle behind making the android experience work well in BB10 (which is very regrettable and will never match up to Cascades, but hey lots of people will have many fart, beer, and porn apps that android's famous for)

Posted via CB10

UberschallSamsara

Links to <re/code> conference stories:

John Chen Acknowledges BlackBerry Can’t Compete Broadly for Developers
http://recode.net/2014/05/28/john-chen-acknowledges-blackberry-cant-comp...

BlackBerry CEO on Handset Business
http://recode.net/2014/05/28/blackberry-ceo-on-handset-business-im-not-e...

Skip to 1:15 for Q&A on "are you going Android?" "no comment".

georg4BB

I'm a developer too and i see two problems:

1. I think it is difficult for niche products in such a small market. I was initially focusing on scientific utility apps and it did not play well. Even with B4BB and great reviews and high ratings, the numbers are too small. It was my fault to narrow the userbase so much, I learned the lession and focus on a broader consumer base now. But when BB can not sell more phones, niche products will never be developed natively.

2. Android & BB world experience. I was recently looking for a special health app and found about 20 in BB world. It took me a lot of time to check every single of them - and I needed to do it because I have no other way to find the native apps. Unfortunally all were Android ports.
About 10 were garbage with no screenshots and no description, batch ported in "portathons" to create the numbers. 5 were almost the same, from the same developer but with different names. 5 Had good reviews. I downloaded these 5. Three of them didn't work properly. 2 worked, but had oldfashioned Android UI and were no fun to use. So I ended up disappointed and wasted my time.
It leaves an impression, BB world is only a poor Android store with some native apps here and there. And then there is no need to use BB world at all. For Android apps Amazon is a much better source.

It would be much better IMHO to put all the native apps in one place, with or without B4BB label. Then I can look for native apps first, and then in a second step look for Android ports or jump directly to amazon for example. But right now BB world is no fun. Not easy to find native apps, and a poor source for Android apps.

dejanh

I do agree with this idea...separate native apps from Android ports.

Posted via CB10

IggyBlue

What if BlackBerry gift cards were available and as ubiquitous as iTunes cards? Would that help app and other content sales?

Posted via CB10

IggyBlue

Oops! I just noticed that you already suggested that TimJohnSmith!

Posted via CB10

revil-0-316

Hi I'm a novice dev. I started learning to code cascades (mainly via qml) last year. I agreed that developing apps to BlackBerry 10 is pretty easy just like what Developer Economics says http://berryflow.com/2014/05/developer-economics-names-blackberry-10-eas...

I could say it was pretty easy because this is not my main profession, I'm a civil engineer full time weekdays. Since last year I make coding as a hobby and I consider myself as a weekend coder. I learned fundamental coding thru the BlackBerry Dev website, @BrianScheirer apps and website, OSBB website, and from the book by Anwar Ludin BlackBerry 10 App Development Cascades Driven Approach.

Well for the revenue, yup its terrible, proportionately on the time and cost spent. I am not expecting too much here because I'm still honing my skills to advance.

One of my approach is long term, I had use the BlackBerry Advertising Services and implemented on one of my app easy. But to avail, I think nobody is making a good revenue here (visit BBAS community forums). But look out Google they had much making their revenues thru ads. I think BBAS should also be address by BlackBerry and make revenue here to developers healthy.

You can check my apps here, it's simple, reviews make me inspired to do more. Thanks! Check this out in BlackBerry World at http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/57535


dibbis

Hey so you made calendar of proverbs?!?! I am one of those reviewers. I was very glad to finally find a native app that does what I want. Simple and fluid navigation!I know adding other languages can raise legal issues but hey it's just a suggestion :D.

Posted via CB10

revil-0-316

Yup! Thank you very much for downloading and having a positive review of my app, appreciate it a lot. :-). Having an option for the user to change the versions they need is definitely on my list.

Would you mind to contact me on the "contact the developer section" on the BlackBerry World. I had a surprise gift for you...I'm gonna add you on my sandbox. :-) you'll be surprised!

Posted via CB10

Raestloz

I must say, as a user who have not downloading anything for the past few months:

1. I've got everything I need. Unless I need more, I won't browse BlackBerry World, so that's one less customer potentially exposed

2. Some apps simply don't do what I want it to. I have needs, and unless the app specifically fills my needs, even if it can make me fly I won't buy it. Okay, so maybe I will but that'd be because it fulfills my need of being able to fly

3. I don't have credit card. By extension I also don't have PayPal. I relied on carrier billing, and when I switched carriers I can no longer buy anything. I considered buying a SIM specifically to buy apps, but that'd be stupid

4. I'm running out of space. Seriously, with that 16GB, put in a few big games and you're full. Even if I want to, I can't buy more apps. There is no way to backup my save data, so I don't delete games unless I really, really won't play them again.

BlackBerry needs to tap into the world of Indonesia. Get more carriers on board carrier billing and sell more phones there!

Z10 STL100-1/10.2.1.3175

Fran9670

I'm not a developer, but I'm seriously considering learning to develop because I can't found the apps I need, not in BlackBerry, not in iOS, not in Android, not in Windows.
If there is a serious developer reading this post, I will tell they which apps I want to pay for:

A DATABASE compatible with MS Acess.

A wordproccessor with MAIL MERGE capabilities (maybe an app that integrate with Docs To Go).

An app that let me print directly to an HP eprint printer, without the Internet connection (iOS have it).

Most people hates MS Office, some people loves it, but EVERYBODY uses it: make a real MS Office compatible app, or:

An app that lets clients access his MS Office 365 account.

Forget games, and be smart: BlackBerry is for BUSINESS!

Please, start developing for business. Make REAL BUSINESS TOOLS!!

If you want to develop games, work for Mattel, ToysRus or Apple!

God Bless You!

God Bless You!

dejanh

This is exactly what I pointed out in my lengthy comment a few posts earlier. Applications for mobile computing, not apps. I don't need entertainment apps, well not many, only a few. I need true productivity apps. What use is Miracast and all this fancy mumbo-jumbo to me when I'm still editing a spreadsheet on a mirrored screen from my smartphone in an application where the title bar takes up 1/5 of the screen and the application supports 1/100 of the features of Excel. That's not mobile computing. That's a joke.

Posted via CB10

bounce007

Good read. Man I learn so much about the mobile phone industry through CrackBerry

Double_J75

Anyone know if they still take a cut on in game purchases? Games like real racing 3 that are free to start but you can opt to buy content in the game...

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Yup. They do.

Posted via CB from my LE

johnm137

They need to bring tablet for games and consumer apps. Many people are carrying BlackBerry phones and other OS tablets. People mostly download games, movies in tablet. I download games on my ipad and carry BlackBerry phone for communication.

Posted via CB10

VR6

This is a shame but not surprising to hear. There is a ton of functionality missing on bb10 that we used to have in bbOS. Lots of opportunities to make money.

John Kastanes

A good app with a little marketing will sell. Unfortunately most apps are worthless, hence the reason for whining app developers.

Posted via CB10

Carterbits

I hit all the 10K commitment dates, earned about $3,800 last year and did not get a check.

Doing some back of the envelope math, I highly doubt that they actually exhausted their $10 million pool. I kinda feel robbed.

[URL="http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/17581"]Download [B][COLOR="#b03060"]Noted[/COLOR][/B], my 5-star rated, native BB10 notepad app.[/URL]

Prem WatsApp

You made something like Noted, and that was the result? BlackBerry needs to sell more phones, for sure.

Did you have a word with them about the cheque? I am sure, CB members here will give you their vote!

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

jgrzadka

I like your Baby Name Creator app. Will it be made available for bb10?

shupor

The developer market is a saturated one and he/she could very well suffer the same fate on other platforms. Admittedly, you stand a better chance of reaching a wider audience on the other platforms, if you happen to develop an app or game that gains widespread popularity like Flappy Bird but how many small time devs have achieved that kind of success??

Posted via CB10

trsbbs

As with anything that fails, you move on. Grow up and live!

Next....

Using a BlackBerry Z10! The "UnDroid"!

bbcyclist

I really dont mind paying for apps. But since I do not use a credit card, BlackBerry doesnt give me any other option. Myabe an add to service provider bill wilk help or even a netbanking system. BlackBerry needs to work this out fir people like me who want paid but cant buy them.

Sorry for the typos. Travelling.

Posted via CB10

Superfly_FR

Developers clearly have to focus on productivity and enterprise apps.
Mostly because of what you've said above - low numbers, more business oriented users - and that you can claim a higher price than the classic $0.99.
If your app can give an employee a real productivity advantage or fluids information circulation, anything around the $5-10 range is a no brainer.
Consequently, you have to focus on high quality (eq. "certification": native sounds dominant here) and support capabilities, and that's not the thin part of the job. Thus, a SOHO, independent or single owned company may have difficulty to reach these criteria. Time to be creative ... and rational.

l like the 30% off idea, yet, I'm not sure this can be done w/o counterpart.
So, what about a 30% sales credit for a BlackBerry 1st level support [given your app is native and approved "bug free" <= add a much more strict quality control here ]?
As an independent, if I invest 30% of my monthly sales, it won't cover anytime soon what a real support costs. On the other hand, if BlackBerry federates all these fees, given the economic scale, I'd guess we're pretty close to the average % cost for support. Quality, customer care : aren't these the keywords for succes ?

I'd sign for that anytime. And oh, yes, for the job too :D

Carterbits

We also need a less buggy OS and development framework. This bug affects all my Qwerty device customers and still hasn't been fixed:

https://www.blackberry.com/jira/browse/BBTEN-1882

[URL="http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/17581"]Download [B][COLOR="#b03060"]Noted[/COLOR][/B], my 5-star rated, native BB10 notepad app.[/URL]

Kevin Michaluk

Great comments in here. As I said in my post, I didn't necessarily think we had all the answers nor were RIGHT about everything, but thought posting the story would serve as a great catalyst for discussion which it absolutely has.

Quick Thoughts:

  1. Good to hear that the 10k guarantee has been paid out on (sounds like one person saying that haven't received though). I know it was quite tough to be approved for that program, so I would assume and hope anybody who made it in and didn't hit 10k would get their payday. I just hadn't heard on it, so was curious.

  2. Overnight, I received a few emails from other developers (who didn't want to post in the comments) echoing that sales right now are "pretty terrible". Looking through the comments above, it's clear that is the case for a lot of BB devs right now. There may be exceptions of course.

  3. Totally agree that building quality apps vs. numerous apps is a better path to go down.

Keep the discussion FLOWING! :)

lnichols

BlackBerry isn't giving many people a reason to be loyal anymore. Maybe Shao should learn Indonesian and then he could tap into a consumer market that BlackBerry is putting in a little effort into to. Sad that is the case. BlackBerry put absolutely no effort into making BlackBerry 10 successful in the US. After the launch and the pathetic Super Bowl ad, they did nothing, except put up a for sale sign (someone wanted their $48 Million payout). This is what BlackBerry's strategy is now: Consumer focused in low end markets where they make nothing per device, Corporate in established markets. This leaves people in the established markets who were loyal to the brand in a no man's land.

In all seriousness though I wish him well and he should be developing what makes money. BlackBerry hasn't rewarded any loyalty from anyone and is putting no effort to sell devices, so why should he out effort into developing for the playform.

Posted with a BlackBerry Z10

jon4400

There's always two sides to a story. Instead of blaming the lack of users for his app, there could also be a lack of interest for them.

Personally, I never understood people living only out of app development, it's a risky business. If you're the author of IG, Candy Crush and such, you could make some serious dough and be set for quite some time, but in reality, there's no guarantee your app will be as addicting and popular.

I wish this Dev the best luck for whatever path he chooses.

Posted via CB10

pavichokche

Since I bought my Z10 recently I've found the BB appworld to be pretty much useless. The only app that I bought was BeBuzz, because I had it on my 9900 and was used to it. Everything else I'd like is either not available for free, or is done better of free on Android. And sadly, a lot of the paid apps have terrible reviews too, and lack the features I want. That's why Snap is on my homescreen, and the appworld is tucked away in a folder. The key issue seems to me to be that there isn't a simple in-app ad platform, giving app developers an incentive to develop free apps. Instead they just lock away the key features into paid versions, leaving borderline useless husks of apps available for free. And since android apps are now so easily available to BB10 phones, I honestly don't see any way the App World will ever bounce back. It's kinda depressing going through that thing, seeing garbage-filled search results, half of it paid and with and average of 3 stars, on a new-gen phone. I think if your key apps (BBM, Facebook, Skype, Songza) all have reviews of 3 or less, you should just give up and go home.

KermEd

I have been writing blackberry apps for about 3 years now.

My average income per month is OK (~2k) for the third consecutive month. But it took major effort and a lot of good and bad apps to make that happen. With that said the income right now really only comes from 1 app. The average app sells between 0 > 40 / month by comparison.

BlackBerry announced the death of AIR - which includes my too sellers - so I'm expecting that income to become nothing again over the upcoming months. Or I have to rewrite hundreds of apps and games. The other advice from RIM is to move my apps to Android and 'port' them - loosing all BFB status. And it can only be done for apps that don't use Bbry API's (and all of mine do).

Point being. Money is there, it isn't much. And with all the rework they keep me doing - the platform can never truly be profitable.

We do know of that the highest advertisement app driven companies are only clearing 1,500 a month. So there is definitely a user base issue.

Posted via CB from my LE

edyb

It sounds like with $2k/month, an app developer really can't make a living purely on BlackBerry as that equates to about $24,000 per year income. I assume that most independent app developers making that kind of money must have a normal day job perhaps in the computing industry, coding software or websites, doing graphics design or 3D. I think app development is more about having a little extra "bonus" money from a hobby, but to quit a full-time paying job that could earn $40-60k in the computing industry to scrape by on half of that... I am not sure how many app developers are actually able to survive solely on their apps.

I am not coding apps for the money, I realized that long ago. It is a learning experience for me and fun. I take too long at this stage because I am still learning everything from scratch to make it worthwhile, as the time I spend is too great compared to the seasoned and much more brilliant app developers posting here. But I think some of the intangible benefits here from app development is that there is a lucky chance the app will go viral, or be picked up by a major company looking for a startup, and so on. There are opportunities but just like in every industry, it takes a lot of work and there is no magic formula.

There is also luck and timing. Take for example, Angry Birds... This game is a rehash of Crush The Castle and other trebuchet-style launcher games, available before in Flash format on the web. However, when the touch-screen phone came along (like iPhone), it was the killer game app of the platform... and along with very clever and simplified game-play, cute characters, music and so on... It became a huge hit for a small group of developers. What is around the corner is anyone's guess...

KermEd

Great points above, I caution I am about to write a storm!

A bit of history behind the sales ... I do make about 2K / month right now with 5 apps for sale. All 5 apps are "hobby" apps, I work on in my spare time. However to-date I've had 10 or so apps for sale and a couple hundred freebies posted into BlackBerry World. Not bad for an evenings and weekends hobby!

Of those 10 applications I've sold, 4 have broken the 3,000 dollar mark. And in total I've earned about 35,000 in sales and rewards from BlackBerry over the last 3 years where it has had an upward trend. Applications & games become a positive income flow that is self generating after a certain point. In addition, applications generate steady (smaller) income flow. Games generate fast and then typically rapidly declining. So having a nice balance can help smooth out your income.

Putting this into comparison, I currently make about 25/m on iOS sales. 15/m on Android sales. With Windows sales being just below a couple dollars. If your curious, the following article on my blog shows my sales comparison for Flippy Bird 3D - my last 99cent cross platform game. http://www.filearchivehaven.com/2014/03/01/flippy-bird-3d-sales-trends/

Regarding effort, I currently spend ~10hrs / week. I would estimate that a person could comfortably generate upwards of 50,000 if they are diligent and ontop of bugs and communication. They could easily surpass that if they monetize cross platform using adverts and in-app purchases. I am greatly overpaid for my work as an IT Consultant (yay me) in my day-job and currently working 3 different large contracts. The income difference is enough that I don't think my app sales could ever be enough to switch to full time. But if my income target was in the 40->60K area, I think it would be doable.

Your absolutely right about the reason to write applications and games though. For me its an interest / hobby. And having a perpetual PayPal account that tops itself up is certainly nice for my Arduino and Raspberry Pi hobbies...

I recommend development for anyone wanting to try - its rewarding and getting easier every day. Plus, its fun knowing you can control how your application comes out. It's nice.

To your last point - timing is *everything*! It means the difference of 100x sales just by watching the market wants --- I'm not kidding. When I released Flippy Bird 3D it made about 2400 in units sold because of timing. A friend released another Flappy Bird copy within a month or so, and it only had about 20 units sold. Trying to create something unique is even tougher - especially if you go BlackBerry only (Where most average-Joe users are looking for specific iOS and Android apps, not really looking for unique BlackBerry apps on their BB10 devices).

BlueRocks

Can you please explain. In one paragraph you mention you have income from one app. In the next paragraph you mention that you have two apps that are paying you.
Also that you would need to rewrite hundreds of apps. Why? Why not just rewrite the one (or 2) that are selling and not the rest that aren't selling? Is BlackBerry forcing you to rewrite all of your apps even if you only have one or two that are still selling?
Sorry for not understanding.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Absolutely ... the post above helps explain some of the income.

Your absolutely right, the applications I have for sale - I'm working to have them rewritten. Mostly because I don't think it is right for BlackBerry to remove those from peoples devices just because they didn't want to pay for run-time licenses..

I'm currently on the fence on the free applications. I hate the idea of having a lot of nice freebies no longer available. But I don't have 6 or 7 months of free time to rewrite them. Some of the applications (Night Ports for example) I've been fortunate enough to have some amazing developers such as Joe from QXS and Dean and Roger (one-love to my developer brothers) help pool together to keep the applications alive. Big thanks to them.

Realistically I'm considering keeping 20 applications alive. I will be keeping 4 or 5 for sure. The rest I may just sacrifice to the void. But I'll be angry at BlackBerry for that for quite a while (specifically Tim Neil) who seems to have been the mastermind behind the cost savings initiative. I'm pretty sure he thinks he's a honey badger. But I'll get over it - I just won't be looking at BlackBerry the same way in the future.

One thing is certain, I won't be working with Cascades myself - as much as BlackBerry keeps pushing me to - and I'm going to foot the bill and just bribe other developers to finish working on those paid apps for me. All my games I've been writing cross platform in Unity. And I have been using xcode, ADT and Cocos2dx to get cross platform as well. But with the Cascades-centric approach for BlackBerry, it means I need to focus less on it in the future. The effort of learning an IDE specific to one platform that has less users means a large risk to ROI. I'd rather focus on in-app and advert based apps and games on the larger platforms for the next few years to study the income difference closer. I think I can make far more on Android and iOS if I step away from the 99c purchase model that works so well for BlackBerry (BlackBerry users put a lot of trust and faith in developers, its nice).

nutellapr

This is now an issue for all platforms. Phone sales are saturated and people have purchased the apps they're going to purchase. A new phone allows you to port those already purchased apps. One of the only cool things Apple announced yesterday is App Bundles in the app store. That's a great way to encourage sales while offering volume discounts and offering greater exposure to a developer's apps.

Posted via CB10

CatlinFD

It's because the majority of the paid apps are crap!!! And who wants to pay for something you can sideload for free

Posted via CB10

bb10_fan

In addition to what already suggested BlackBerry may consider to stop favouritism. Seeing the same apps months and months in all featured sections is just annoying. This makes me thing there is nothing new in store. I know there is a New arrivals section exists, but it mostly filled with a horse poop (city maps, guides for each city as a separate app). Many good apps are buried under piles of these ...ap and discovered only accidentally. And CrackBerry could probably help here, stop reviewing Android ports or apps that don't even work!

mavsguy842

I'd like to add a suggestion to the list of what BlackBerry could do:

Improve app discovery in BB World!! BB World STILL shows me apps that I already have installed; which is a total waste of the limited real estate to promote new apps. I'm logged into BB World, BB World knows what I've already downloaded....it wouldn't take an engineering genius to solve that problem.

FYI: Currently I've already downloaded 35 staff picks, 18 trending apps & games, 10 top grossing (i quit looking after the list kept expanding and expanding). Those are all wasted spots if I'm looking for new apps to download.

BlueRocks

Wow. Great suggestion. That whole 'connectedly' kind of thing.

In a similar vein, it frustrates me to no end when I call a company and have to enter tons of information through the keypad only to have to repeat everything when I talk to a live representative only because their systems don't talk to each other.

The integration you speak of should be the minimum these days. And we we still get so much less.

Posted via CB10

The Aficionado

^^^^
Good idea

Posted via CB10

ryanlrobinson

I did a little bit of development before I had a full-time job, simply because of the incentives. I earned two free PlayBooks, both of which I sold and then bought a 64GB instead when the flash sales started. The first took me forever, learning AIR, while the second was really quick in WebWorks. I also got the Dev Alpha A by going to Toronto's Jam Day and then traded that in for the red Z10 - that app took more work with Cascades but is honestly still pretty bad.

So my story cuts both ways. Yes, it got me motivated and I am obviously very glad I did it, still using my PlayBook as well as my Z10. The apps I contributed were also crap and for good reason have sold very few. I'm sure there were other apps gained by their incentives that were much better, so their question I imagine is whether it is worth the losses to people like me to get actually good apps. I'm guessing something that drastic is too big of a cost to swallow for too small of a gain.

I love the idea of changing the profit percentage. Even more I love the idea of changing it dependent on the type of app: 25% for Android ports (still better than they'd get in Google Play), 10% or 15% on natives. That sounds like a win for developers and a win for consumers with less of a hit to BlackBerry's profit margins.

scr

I think it's a right idea to reduce 30% plank for native developers. Removing it completely wouldn't be good for Blackberry itself, but reducing let's say to the level that Microsoft did (20%) would be appreciated by the developers community a lot.

Posted via CB10

The Aficionado

Sadly a lot of devs probably feel the same way and won't update their apps anymore. No updates for Sayit or other bku apps. Developer for Arkick lured everyone in with a sale and promised an update that never came. Other apps like battery guru which obviously can and should be headless don't get updated. And then there are ones, like gadgetbox, which is totally excellent, and doesn't really need an update, but it used to be updated all the time, and now it hasn't in a few months, so you wonder if the developer still is working on it.

Eventually we will find a happy medium where devs who just like developing for BlackBerry will stick around and will stay in top paid, and the others will fade away

But The only real solution, imo, is for bb to sell more phones. It probably doesn't help that new users can (and do) just download free android apps to meet most of their needs, for anything they can't get for free in BBW, something I predicted when the ability to install apk directly was announced

Even if the Z3 is selling ok, those users aren't going to buy a lot of apps (limited income for many of them). I have spent hundreds of dollars on bb apps. Most people aren't like me. We have to wait until the q20 is out for there to be a shot at new users who are big app buyers

For a lot of people, apps are a class of things that are supposed to be free. People aren't used to paying for them. It's like if Kevin charged $1 a year to post on cb, people would stop posting. It's not the money, it's that people are used to getting it for free. Then if one of them actually pays even $0.99 for an app, they complain bitterly if it doesn't do just one minor thing they want. People will even do this with free apps. This makes life as a developer difficult. I suggest that blackberry should add a subscription option to payment. This way, devs would have the option to monetize by getting users to subscribe to a yearly, even a bimonthly payment (as an in app purchase). For something well supported and updated I'd be willing to pay that. This will give developers more incentives

Posted via CB10

dejanh

This is an interesting point. I wrote and published a very specialized app for controlling the basic functions of a high-end car-audio digital signal processor called Control 6to8. Since I developed the app in my spare time and since my motivation was that I wanted to have this app natively on BlackBerry 10 I published it for free to BlackBerry World. I have had several hundred downloads of my app since day one and not a single review despite the fact that I know the users found the app handy. Then, about a month ago I got my first review, a one star review from a user stating that the app is not working on the latest firmware. Instead of contacting me privately about it now in have a lousy one star, and only, review attached to my app from one user who was unhappy that a free app which he would not have reviewed ever had he been happy with it did not work.

The point of this story...this is the sense of entitlement that exists from users. Specialized or not, paid or free, people feel entitled. They also feel that the only time to express how they feel is when they are unhappy with something. They are truly vocal then, and only then.

As for me, I fixed the app, a few weeks after that review. I even figured out who the reviewer was and explicitly contacted him to ask him to revise his review after he downloads the update. It did not happen. Also BlackBerry, despite the update, did not wipe the old reviews or categorize them under previous version. I'm still stuck with an unfair one star review even though my app has zero problems.

Posted via CB10

scr

The "star" system is very destructive for all BlackBerry developers. Doesn't matter how good or may be just OK your app is your reputation can be lowered by group of trolls pretty much easy. There are bunch of solutions and smart implementations that really work ( for example Stackoverflow rating, where you can't low someone until u get some reputation and every time u low u r loosing reputation too). I think Blackberry has to do something in this direction. Fair rating system would be a big step toward developers.

Posted via CB10

The Aficionado

^^^
If the last thing seems contradictory, I only meant that it should be an option in bbw for payment. It might not be used often, but would actually be something unique on blackberry. I doubt others here will like the idea

The only real way to solve the problem is for BlackBerry to sell more phones

Posted via CB10

Loc22

My point of view is that when an app is sold on BlackBerry World there is definitely a revenue sharing model. My guess is that the revenue will be split into :
1. BlackBerry
2. Payment medium eg. credit card companies, telco's for providing the payment network
3. Developer

In this respect probably, Blackberry could for the next 2 years forgo their portion & pass it back to the developer.

To increase the sales & incentive for telco's to push the BlackBerry phones they can also give a bigger share for the time being to the telco's.

In this way there is upside potential to increase the number of phones going out to end users. Therefore there will be a win win win situation between BlackBerry, developers & telco's.

At the same time, Blackberry could come out with a tool to help developers develop apps native to BlackBerry, but the compiler will at the same time compile the app for Android & if possible for iOS as well. In this way there will be more revenue for the developers as they do the work 1 time but earn money from 3 platforms.

At the same time provide good training to developers so that they will be more comfortable to use this compiler.

Posted via CB10

riksch

I totally agree, number of app downloads stays pretty low in comparison to downloads for the same app on other platforms (even in comparison to small ones like windows phone)

Loc22

There are more apps that i would like to buy at the moment but I need to seriously consider before buying because :

1. I have a Z10 & I don't have much space left.

2. Sometimes I'm not sure if I should download an app because I'm not sure if this is exactly what I want. Perhaps if u can download a trial copy for a week or two then I'm more comfortable to download more apps.

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Fran9670

I think apps are not selling because is not what BlackBerry user really need or want.
It could be a good idea for Crackberry to let user talk about what they want, what they need, and what they don't found.

God Bless You!

Fran9670

That's is a good idea. BlackBerry could incentive developer whose make free test apps. Not the limited ones, but the fully one, limited just for the time it will works.

God Bless You!

Smiley88

BlackBerry World needs to get rid of all the crap and useless apps. Delete apps that have no downloads for over a year and stop allow useless Android ports that do not work.

Newfangled

I want to see BB10 succeed. I really do. But I think BlackBerry has conceded defeat in trying to develop a competitive app and media ecosystem. Why do I think this? Because they are now focused on improving the Android runtime. While it's a great stopgap and excellent option for power users who want to augment the dismal native BB10 app selection with Android offerings, I think it will ultimately prove to be detrimental to the platform in the long run.

Why develop a native BB10 app when they can just install your Android app - which is making you more money anyway?

The only thing that will drive adoption of BB10 in any significant numbers is to improve the native app ecosystem, and I just don't see that happening.

We BlackBerry fans need to resign ourselves to the fact that BlackBerry devices will remain niche products in North America for a long time to come. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we need to accept that we won't see a surge in BlackBerry's popularity any time soon.

Tatwi

As a GNU/Linux user since the 90s and an open source developer, all I have to say is, "boo friggin' hoo".

Seriously, if you're only interested in money perhaps you should be doing something else. Those of us making actually free software, not add infested garbage, do it because we enjoy it, not because we want to make loads of money, obviously. I think with a market as small as BlackBerry's, if no one is paying you to develop the app and money is all you're after, then you should move on to a platform that will meet your needs.

Ah well, millions of people around the still make software for the sake of doing so. I'm not going to feel bad that some folks didn't get rich quick doing so.

- Disco Trooper CB10Z10

RyanGermann

People have the right to earn a living even if it's something others are willing to do for free... and there's a difference between getting rich quick and just making a fair, decent living. I think you're a bit out of line in your comment.

Tatwi

Sure people do have the right to earn a living, but complaining that you aren't, because you're choosing to put your time and money where there isn't a market is what is out of line. If your apps aren't selling on BlackBerry World, either support your current install base with updates, because it's the right thing to do, or don't support them and put all your time into going where the money is, if that's all you're really after.

Pretty simple.

- Disco Trooper CB10Z10

RyanGermann

If you limited your comments to "go where the money is" and left out the stuff chastising those who would like to make a bit of money from supporting BlackBerry's app ecosystem, I would have said "here here".

I want to see BlackBerry have a lively app ecosystem, but making a BIT of spare change on the side would be gratifying, even if one doesn't realistically expect to be a bazillionaire from it.

Tatwi

Sorry, my point about GNU software was simply that loads of people make software because they enjoy it. *Some* get paid for their work, but the vast majority of people don't, yet they keep at it anyhow and make some terrific software. So it's entirely possible to do a good job of making software and not make any money from it.

Making software isn't some super uber exclusive union where members are guaranteed to make money, let alone lots of money. If you aren't making money on it.... so? The end of the world it is not.

- Disco Trooper CB10Z10

billbsb

I'm also a BlackBerry 10 developer but I do it just for hobby (Look for Wappy on BBW). Indeed, most of the work has to be done by BlackBerry to sell more, much much more, devices. Of course that having amazing apps on the platform also helps selling more phones.

My suggestion to have more amazing apps for BB10: "Built for BlackBerry" apps have 15% cut and make sure to highlight those apps!
Cheers!

DGrayman

At the end of the day, BlackBerry has 1% market share, all the proper apps you want ie your bank, airline, news etc are not available or made, and never will be. It's a real shame, at least 1 mobile market allows you to download most other play apps, games but I'm not that interested in those. Have you ever tried to install a vpn,it took me ages, with my ipod downloaded straight from app store no configuring etc. Unless Google play comes to bb it's never going to attract people back. And those I know with BlackBerry have no idea that you can download android apps. BlackBerry will still sell phones but only in the 100's of thousands, not the 10's of millions it needs to be a player. When is the Z3 going to hit the rest of Asia, South Asia and African states? Too late already if you ask me!

Posted via CB10

dejanh

To those who are saying that BlackBerry needs to sell more phones to boost app sales...do you realize that this is a finite market that is already largely saturated by the two competing platforms? Most smartphone growth is experienced in developing nations now but they will not support pay-for-use ecosystems since they simply don't have the funds. They just want functional low-cost devices and free apps.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

Generally I agree with your premise (market saturation). I have to disagree a little bit here on the growth.

My last set of 99 cent app sales only did well on BlackBerry - it has the highest rate of "people who buy apps" on any platform as far as I can tell.

dejanh

My point is that the model is not sustainable in the long term because of market saturation. There is also a strong sense of community between BlackBerry users which results in a lot of charity purchases intended purely as a show of support for the developers. Don't get me wrong, I'm not implying this is why people are buying your apps, rather a general observation.

KermEd

No, totally fair points. I agree market saturation is a dire concern. People also don't *want* to change to a new platform. Even if BB10 is super amazing against Android, if they are already an Android user, they (general mass speaking of course) would prefer to stay with what is familiar and what has their purchases.

I find that on BB I sell better on average. It has higher minimum sales levels for apps I make, but it also has lower maximum sales caps. I think your point on market saturation directly affects that cap.

playpen007

It is easy answer--if you want to sell more apps, BlackBerry has to sell more BB10 phone. In order to sell more BB10 phone, BlackBerry has to sacrifice profit margin by selling less than the competitors that have similar phones. Why sacrifice profit margin? This is the only solution if BlackBerry wants more people to adapt BB10 phone. When more people learned that BB10 is very intuitive, fast to get the job done, very secure, and all of its features are the best, you bet the word of mouth will have a chain reaction. When you have enough people adapted BB10, and then, BlackBerry can add a few more features and raise the price up enough not to get people piss. I think BlackBerry did right now with the joint Chinese Foxconn is the right move for low price but quality BB10 phone.

stevedee

This is a great discussion (once the trolls timed out). I signed up to develop but busyness in real life and trying to find a marketable, user-desired focus that wasn't derivative turned me off. The tools and support did look great, though.
A few major barriers still exist and might go a long way to helping the dual challenge of having enough ongoing replacement of existing BBOS holdovers and gaining new BB10 users. One to me is the constant battle for program real estate - 16 GB is not enough storage given overhead of program use. Picked up a great B4BB offline nav program, but as soon as I prepared to travel in Canada, my phone got filled up (over a Gig to d/l). If apps would be loaded from secondary storage (as my ancient WinCE device managed) that would help a bit.
I also observe that much of the world has a significant population that natively uses RTL (right-to-left) languages, but many apps are unable to implement this adequately and this would be a huge incentive for people to jump to the platform and then use quality apps.
As I read through all of these comments, it is clear that the well-designed, well-implemented apps will attract attention, even at a high-cost. And sometimes, like Fasttube, it is simply the convenience factor.

Another challenge is that the quick, hasty developer may never get onto the target device(s) to see how it actually works, and if they do, they know how it works and automatically will adjust to faulty UI problems. My wife is on iPhone after her Curve 8330 crashed, recently while I was driving she was trying to work on the Z10 and gave up on the app she was trying to use because it didn't fully implement the few things she already knew.

In any case, keep up the good work. More phones and keeping up with the OS improvements will keep the faithful following on the app path. Thanks for your mostly unappreciated efforts.

nightridah

BBRY needs to invest in apps! Otherwise their market share will fall! They need to take some money in their hands, go to the major all developers and get native BlackBerry 10 apps now!

Z10STL100-2/10.2.1.3175

jojetski

I hate to see the blackberry platform struggle in any way, developers included, because I am a huge fan. For me I use my phone as a business device mainly which is, I communicate with it. That being said, I have purchased 3 apps since upgrading to a BB10 device. Other than those 3 apps, the built-in functionality works for my intended purpose. I do have games on my phone but they were all free. My point is, if the current makeup of the blackberry population is hard core business oriented this will be a tougher platform to sell the non-business casual apps. I am not saying there is not a demand nor do I want those apps to disappear, I am just saying I believe this is less of a consumer oriented platform. If I was building an app for the platform I would look to see if their is a pain point around communications or security that would make things better. Case in point, the app that allows you to delay your e-mail sends for a specific amount of time so that you can change your mind and delete it, I thought, was really smart and I was tempted to buy it. I like the idea of a native BBM app getting a higher percentage of the take. I don't think Blackberry should give away all of their cut, but I do think rewarding people for writing native apps will persuade some developers to take the extra time to get the extra margin.

D_Town_Tony

From my own experience the only way to REALLY help developers is to sell more phones. Plain and simple. That's it. I was also extremely loyal as a developer beginning with themes and then moving onto games but ultimately if you're going to really make a living developing mobile apps BlackBerry is going to be at the bottom of the list as far as platforms to support, especially when you're a small/indie developer. I was fortunate enough to have one of my games reach #1 for a period of time a little over a year ago and even at the top the results were less then impressive. If I remember correctly it was bringing in about $500-$600 a day (after BB 30%) which may seem like a lot of money, but having an app reach the top 10 (forget #1) of the charts for iOS, Android, or even WP and you can expect to add another zero or two to the end of that number. The biggest issue is whatever you release is most likely not going to be #1 for very long so you have to earn the profit in the beginning. Within a month of hitting number one the earnings were down to under $50/day and now linger between $8-10. Compare that to 3-4 years ago, when BB still held a solid share of the market, having a theme reach #1 at the app world would bring in a solid 2-3k a day. As BBs market share shrank, so did the earnings. That, along with a consistent lack of anything resembling solid, professional, developer relations basically chased me away from the platform which is not only a shame, but also a common theme I've heard from other developers.

christoph77

Nice

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)

RyanRoman0

Hope you devs get great incentives. I support BlackBerry and the devs all the way!! Happy to pay 0.99 :)

Posted via CB10 via my BlackBerry Z10 ;)

Rockland63

Maybe stop Apple's continuous theft of BlackBerry market leading IP and app features! BlackBerry app developers are being robbed by Apple!

Posted via BlackBerry Z30

EyesofThunder

Amazing how many people expect apps to be free. I honestly put $5-$10 into apps or vids. I want to see the app ecosystem flourish on the BlackBerry. I didn't buy apps when I had Android, but on my Z10 and later Z30 I saw the value in it.

I hope to try to develop my own app one day, but too busy to devote time to it yet.

Posted via CB10

KermEd

You sir, are one of the people that make me want to keep focusing on BBRY.

Posted via CB from my LE

Cylon69

Everyone just has to be patient until all the next bb10 devices come and Chen hopefully markets them well

C00121953 channel for car freaks!!

diegonei

Still waiting on the $100 the email I got said I wa gona get SOON...

Neil Johnson1

They need something that works for both parties, getting the whole fee isn't a long term solution for blackberry either. From the article the developers normally get 70% of the fee? Perhaps 100% 2014 for developer, 95% second year, 90% 3rd year, 80% 4th year, 70% 5th year and beyond.

Or base pay for certain years and then do splits.

D_Town_Tony

When BlackBerry first opened BlackBerry World the split was 80-20 which may not seem like a huge difference on the surface, but once it switched to the industry standard 70-30, as a developer, you could feel the difference. That 10% might be enough to at least keep some devs interested a bit longer until (if) the market share bounces back a little.

towngirl

Companies with their attitude that they don't need a BlackBerry App is one of the most frustrating things as a consumer!

Posted via CB10

Phi Nguyen

you have to remember though its not free to develop an app and maintain it

if the number of gained users doesnt help sales then what good is it to them companys have already discontinued apps because of lack of users

it is not the app developers that has to sell bbry's
that is bbry's job to market and sell them which they are doing neither

no company right now except for bbry doesnt market or support their own devices

not to mention bbry has the lowest of user satisfaction rating
which accounts for all their users not just the 10 fans who post after buying their devices

bbry needs to provide direct support and marketing
neither of which they do

smoke#CB

Ok, I hesitated to put this out there because I was wondering if I may have been able to profit a little myself from the idea, but I am a BlackBerry loyalist so the greater good is in my heart 1st.

Here's a thought, one which could help BlackBerrys name, could help with BBM adoption & growth (cross platform) & certainly with (initially) individual developer notoriety, which could in turn help all BlackBerry devs. We've all heard of such games as Candy Crush, Cut The Rope & Words With Friends. Well based on the success of these, I believe there is a whole section of the BB app market untouched...BBM! Apps can be made expressly to work through BBM. The apps would have to be extremely high quality, original & highly addictive... in the vein of such titles like the aforementioned. Once established, a whole new avenue of exposure would exist for developers who are willing to create such high level apps (for this to work, they would NEED To be HIGH level/quality apps).

[BlackBerry, talk to me, I have more ideas easily more profitable. I'm contemplating getting on a plane & taking a trip to Waterloo to discuss some of them - I just don't want to be stopped at the gate.

Reach me @ Only1Smoke@gmail.com]

Posted via CB10

Powdah

A couple of things come to mind.

Yes, selling more phones is important. However, selling phones to a clientele population that have the resources to buy apps is also important. Sure selling well in India, etc., but looking at the North American demographics, there is a reason Google and Apple app stores do well, the population can afford to buy and in many cases, discard apps.

Being "enterprise" focused in MHO does not make sense. Users, even enterprise users want the latest and greatest. I know of many former enterprise users that now have went through Android and are moving to IPhones. It is about the user base. As a younger user base who grew up with Android and Apple phones, becomes the enterprise user, they want an Android or IPhone as their enterprise phone.

To success in the "enterprise" market, BB will need to appeal to that younger, presently non -BB user, so the trend will sift back to BB as a enterprise phone. Touch screens are important to them, not keyboards. I know that is heresy to many of you touch screen addicts. ( I would like to see an age based poll on who uses keyboards vs touch screens).

At that point there is a huge untapped market in North America. It will mean a fully committed, inspired, marketing campaign.

liquid_metal

Phone sales and market share notwithstanding, there are more apps than ever being bought & downloaded from the BlackBerry store. There's still a ton of money to be made in BB development, IF you've got something in the top 25 or a couple of items in the top 50, or a handful in the top 100. If you can't achieve that, then you're not making decent money. That's no different than it ever was.

The problem these days is getting into the top 25 or 50, and the obstacle to that is the number of developers. The stores are overflowing with apps, most of them are free, and products are being added to the stores so fast that new stuff gets buried before it can take off. The only ways to succeed are luck and marketing.

preciousmetal

I think it is worthwhile to consider how much utility people derive from your app and then what you charge for it. For instance, why would you make a password app/manager when blackberry already does for BB10...it just seems pointless and I would rather trust my passwords to Blackberry than some unknown developer.
Some pieces of software cost hundreds to thousands of dollars because of what they do. Intense capital investment to build a piece of software, followed by marketing to explain what it does and why it is worth what you are charging. Really good apps are hard to find and they probably cost between $0 and $10. It isn't easy to make a lucrative living off that.

kenchang83

I'm a Chinese and here is my thought from a Chinese user's point of view:

1. Sell BB10 Phones to China, be it working with telecom companies or open blackberry store like apple. it's hard to believe that there is no official blackberry store in China, we've got quite some blackberry users, even developers in China, but rarely any of them get their beloved phones from a Blackberry authorized re-seller unless they got it from overseas. There is no secure way for us to get a blackberry phone without worrying about if the phone is genuine and brand new, or used, or been repaired. Some blackberry sellers even come up with instructions about how to check if all the parts in your phone is genuine. What seems to be ridiculous for a healthy market, is a sad truth in China, for both BlackBerry and Chinese users, and all the unpleasant user experiences brought up by those suspicious BB10 devices just give the users wrong idea about BB10 devices and forced them to keep away from BlackBerry. For years we keep guessing why BBRY never care about us and some guessing went as far as a government conspiracy level. BlackBerry: We have plenty of people, we have a market that's larger than you can ever imagine, What did you do? You closed your China office. So you want to sell more devices? you want your developers to become rich? Start selling the damn phones to us.

2. Make more payment channels available. I have seen more than once in Chinese BBRY forums that people complaining about how they want to buy an app but couldn't find a way to pay for it. As in China, normal credit card can't pay in USD or whatever that is needed to make purchase in BB World, and Paypal is either barred or not that popular here, not a lot of people is using it. But, we do have Alipay, basically the same thing as Paypal, and it's safe to say almost every Chinese between 16-50 years old has an Alipay account. We spent 19.1 Billion RMB (a bit less than 3 billion USD?) in one single day (11/11/2013) using this service on taobao.com, a consumer e-commerce website. Honest to say, there are quite some users only interested in free stuff here, but also a lot of people who is willing to pay for better apps, like myself, and considering the potential customer base based on population, it's only logical that there are a lot of people who wants to spend some money in BB World, they are just waiting for BlackBerry to allow them.

3. Make some Kick-Ass devices, necessary or not. Stop thinking that specs competition is for idiots. Most of the phone users are "idiots", specially when they never tried BB10, specially when they got used to the way big brands promote themselves. It's these idiots who you need to attract, and considerably easier to attract than tech junkies. Most users don't care if a 720p screen is good enough for them when their friends is holding a phone with 1080p or 2K screen, admit it, part of the reason why people choose a certain phone is to stand out, maybe it's not necessary, it's not healthy, but it's the ugly truth, and when you can't satisfy them with it, they just simply not choosing you. It's only wise for BBRY to catch up with the best specs possible, attract more people, at least at the moment. Don't bring out Apple for otherwise, yes, Apple doesn't have the biggest screen (don't forget they came up with the retina screen first, and make the concept ppi popular ), only has a "mid-tier" camera, but they have deepest understanding of image technology, coming from the knowledge that they have been building up for decades, they don't have all the top of the line specs, but they have the ability to make attracting features out of the "Ordinary specs", plus they had the best salesman, their CEO, who can make people excited for every feature their phone has. BBRY has none of them. So I think BBRY should aim lower, don't aim Apple, but the Android Tribe, make monster devices, promote them in a way normal people is used to, make the monster device as cheap as possible, instead of making cheap device. It's really not a good time to think about device profit, as long as doesn't lose money, make the specs as high as possible.

4. Making devices cheap. Stop making BBRY flagship price equal or even higher than iOS, Android flagships. it may not be fair, but BBRY is not in a position to ask for fairness, because people don't know about BB10, they don't care how much effort has been put into the system and how much reasonable margin should be in the device. Stop thinking BBRY as a hardware company. Apple considers itself a software company, instead of iphone, ipad, what they are actually selling is iOS system, they just wrapped the system with a pretty metal box. It's even more true to BlackBerry. BB10 is a system by no means worse than iOS, and a much better one in my opinion. So the most important thing is to get as many people to know the system as possible, so again, just make attracting devices, lower the unit price, make them affordable, even for flagship devices (because the system works best on them). Get customer base first, get profit later. More devices=more users=more app sales=more happy developers=bigger,healthier Eco system=more users=........etc,This way, users, developers, everyone wins, BlackBerry wins as well, a little later maybe, but eventually.

lysan

Yeah android apps have this great tendency to crash

Posted via CB10

danielbigham

Thanks for writing this article. As a developer, this is the kind of thing that's meaningful to read and mull over.

Back in the days of PlayBook, I was one of the developers in the Top Paid section. My two top grossing apps were "iTunes Sync" and "Flix". Another app that did decently was "Print". I had also ported iTunes Sync to BB7. At their peak, those apps generated about $500/day in revenue, which was extraordinary and obviously encouraged me to put lots of energy into app development.

On BB10, Sync for iTunes is currently generating about $17/day in revenue. When I look at the "Top Paid" section on my Z10, it seems to show up on the first couple of pages. That really worries me, if apps that high up in Top Paid are earning so little.

I've been working on a photo app for BB10 which has been taking far longer than I anticipated. I'm approaching 300 hours of development -- a tad higher than the 8 hours it took me to make iTunes Sync! With app sales the way they are right now on BB10, it would take a miracle for my photo app to give me even a $20/hr return on investment, let alone the $400/hr average that my PlayBook apps compensated me for.

So I would echo the obvious: BB would need to sell a lot more phones to attract devs (like me) to continue writing apps for the platform.

Lisa Montgomery

I'd love to have the Blackberry Classic. I'm on my second Blackberry, and my husband and I have the same one (Z10). I use more of the bells and whistles than he does because he's retired - but he loves his browser!