Poll: Have BlackBerry apps improved over the past year?

By Bla1ze on 1 Jun 2010 10:09 am EDT

Calling all BlackBerry Developers... Need some motivation to take your apps to the next level? Get in on the BlackBerry Super Apps Challenge! 

Over the past year or more we have seen a push from within Research In Motion to reach out to developers in an effort to create better, more compelling applications for the BlackBerry platform. Better tools, more API's and more education on what, exactly developers can do with the BlackBerry platform has been passed on. Events such as the BlackBerry Developers Conference and such initiatives as the BlackBerry Developers Challenge have led the way in increasing that awareness. But, with all that is going on in the "app" sector, do you all as end users feel that such things have offered assistance with making BlackBerry applications better? Let your be counted and of course, please feel free to explain why you voted how you did in the comments.

Reader comments

Poll: Have BlackBerry apps improved over the past year?


Facebook is still a pile of Sh*t, its just way behind the times...But the iPhone app is much better, the mobile page is better than the app!

...I love Blackberry but I'm tempted to jump ship. :(

RIM is sooooo behind on innovation. They still only offer 256MB of memory which is soo ridiculous!! Everything is in the GB now. And their OS is so outdated. Look at everything others have to offer! I just feel like they aren't keeping up. I have a 9700 now and I absolutely love it but when the new iphone comes out, I think I may be giving that one a whirl. It's just so disappointing for RIM. And their new offerings....don't even get me started on that. (that flip phone is hideous)

*sigh* I remain optimistic and I wanna stay with Blackberry but....

I think there's a dichotomy between BB users on the 9700/9650, and those running some of the more outdated technology in the Curve, Tour, Pearl, and even the Storm. If you have a Bold, you at least have the luxury of knowing that you'll be able to run the best that BB has to offer (at least for now). My 9700 is under contract until January 2012. Ideally, it would've been nice for it to be up midway through next year. That said, I am VERY happy with my device, and don't think I'll be "unhappy" with it all the way through the duration of my contract.

Its about time someone else said what I've been saying for months. Ive been loyal to Verizon for about 6 years now, and my current phone (tour) was the latest and greatest when I got it back in august last year. Here we are almost a year later, and RIM is doing the same old tricks. Ooh, a Bold 9650, let's rename the tour and lose the trackball, and get all those suckers to buy the same phone with a new contract. Oh wait, there's the storm...a brick pile of crap, let's make it a little more sleek, up the memory, and get all those pissed of Storm1 users on a new contract. Screw RIM, if you're not gonna do something worthwhile, why not just close your doors. I'm gettin an Evo. Sorry Verizon.

as someone is completely against most apps for bb, i've definitely noticed a large improvement in apps. i'll still be switching to android no matter what, but it'll be exciting to see how much better they get in coming years

Apps are getting better but my tour hasn't quite gotten better. Still have many problems with the phone itself. So, in July my daughter and I are switching to an Android. We miss a touch screen anyway.

I feel that the variety and functionality of available apps is improving in general, even if not all developers take full advantage of the platform they have to work with. Since this is basic "YES or NO" poll...I have to go with "YES", but if there was a 3rd "YES, but there is still a lot of room for improvement and I'd like to see more" option, that would have been my choice.

Its not as if RIM hasn't made any progress rather they have made improvements (in general) with their apps.
But there still a huge room for improvement, especially when the most downloaded app on BB-App world is Poynt (your mind starts to think if there's any real development being undertaken)
And also when you have such better (actually awesome) apps being brought in by other competitors, its high time RIM brings their A+ game should they need to satisfy the majority of the consumer sector.

Not only have the apps gotten better but with 5.0, the OS has improved also. I've only been a BB owner for a year now and have seen improvements. It seems to me, reading through some of the complaint threads, that many of the problems stem from users still using old BB's running old OS's.

Upgrade your hardware and keep your OS current and many of your problems will no longer exist.

Part of the problem is that in order to make use of the new api's users have to upgrade to the newest OS. Many developers are still trying to support OS 4.5 or even 4.2, which means that they are still basing their efforts off of what came out three years ago.

Some of the apps I use are great: BerryBuzz and Poynt, for example. But given the number of developers out there who still aren't supporting 5.0, and with 6.0 just on the horizon, I am not exactly encouraged by forward movement on apps.

RIM absolutely has to hit it out of the park with 6.0.

I am also looking at the Android platform for my next device, though I may keep my Curve just for BBM.

as if there should be a third option. B/c it's hard to say "No, Definitely not." Have they improved from a year ago? For sure. Do they have a long way to go? Of course! But it's unfair to say No, They have definitely not improved from a year ago.

Most of the apps for the BB's are way over priced and most dont wotk as they should. At least the apps i have purchased. I dont use all the business type apps. I want fun apps and games. I have used just about every picture app there is and none can do the simpliest things together need like 3 different apps because they seem to not be able to put croping, resize or rotation together A damn shame !!!
Far as games dont get me stared the free simple ass tic tac toe for the iphone is better than 90% of paid games for the BBs... that is just messed up !! developers stop trying to screw us and make games and apps that are good for the price we pay !!!

The apps have gotten better. However they are not where they need to be. RIM needs to step it up!

The question was if they had gotten better over the past year. If you're answering the question, then the answer has to be "yes". There wasn't even an App Store until April 2009. You can think of several apps (BerryBuzz, crunchSMS, etc.) which are either new or have seen frequent updates and improvements.

There's really very little useful functions that can be done on iPhone that can't be done on BB. The problem is that you have to either be a hacker or really do your homework to figure out how to get it to do those things, which locks out about 90% of the BB user base. We can do music, navigation, podcasts, etc., and actually have MORE customization options than other smartphones...it just isn't always easy or obvious how to achieve all that.

Sad to say while some apps are good, and some are sort of lame, I don't see the flood of apps coming out, so its either the same app just redone in a different way or something completely useless!

1. Too expensive compared to other platforms.
2. Too many screen sizes/devices, making it difficult to port and support.
3. Not enough app memory in most devices, and too many leaks in the OS. Developers should focus on the quality of their apps first and foremost - NOT "gotta keep this lightweight and under 1MB!" But they do not have a choice.
4. Too much lag in the OS for handling common apps such as Google Maps, ScoreMobile, etc.

Add a 3rd option to this poll. I know its unscientific. But it creates some biases. Like people wanting to saying yes it has improved but still lags way behind others. I choose No because I really didnt want to give it a yes, although I guess you could argue the questioned only asked had it improved from 1yr ago.. blah..

Could really improve. In general, Blackberry isn't an "app" phone. So many issues with lag, connectivity, and space for apps. While everyone is amazed with the 300+mb of space on the 9650, I feel Blackberry should really take a leap and but everything they got into one flagship device and from those earnings create cheaper versions. Like almost everyone else does. I voted no because a lot of my favorite working apps aren't anything amazing. For someone to say and LED manipulator is awesome is really sad. I'll stay with what I got but really want to see a change.

See, I think that the most useful apps for BB actually are the things like BerryBuzz that take hardware unique to our device and use it as an advantage. I hear about all the cool apps iPhone has, but are there specific examples (aside from the browser, which is a different story) of what their phone can actually do? I know several people with iPhones, but they tend to know so little about how to use their phone, that I feel like the features I get out of my 9700 are much "cooler" than how they use their device.

Setting specific ringtones and silent blinking alerts to each of my main contacts may sound dorky, but as a COMMUNICATION feature (which is what smartphones were supposed to be about), I know exactly who and when is contacting me no matter how they are trying to do it.

The poll questions are poorly stated. Either applications have made improvements ( even small improvement ) or they need to be improved more? There is always room for improvement.

Instead, it sounds like the author of the poll is looking for:
"Have developers used the new tools and technology available to improve blackberry applications?"
"Blackberry applications have not improved over the past year even with the new technology and tools available to developers"

I really don't think OS 6.0 will make any significant difference. The quality of apps will not make any noticeable improvement until (a) We see higher-powered devices; and (b) the software allows you to save apps to an alternate memory source, like a microSD card. It doesn't seem like it should be that complicated, but until that happens, there will significant limitations on developers.

App Memory is an issue and has been an issue for some time. Because of poor decisions in the past, I would say the majority of Blackberry users (remember, the majority) are running a devices that has 128 MB of app memory or less.

Better apps will take up more memory, RIM needs to provide this so we can move forward.

Poll accomplished nothing as long as you have Apple fan bois that float around from site to site bad mouthing anything that does not fit Steve Jobs version of a phone. I take these polls with a grain of salt.

Wait... you mean, there are people on this site who wish for apps that run smoothly, a phone with decent memory, constant improvement with each new OS, and a phone that actually runs really well? Shame on them!

have happened, but when the competition is making evolutionary changes in their apps/OS's- There is no way to hide the fact that RIM is falling behind. We've all had the discussions here and amongst our crackberry friends, RIM needs to seriously step their game up not only in Apps and OS's but also in their hardware. Internal memory on RIM devices are still in MB where the competition is GB. Processor speed is also falling behind (Qualcomm is already shipping dual core snapdragon processor. Is RIM a customer on the recieving end? probably not). RIM has the capital and the capability to position themselves very well in tomorrows mobile device landscape- the question remains why they have NOT done it yet??

More and more, I'm beginning to realize that RIM is to the smartphone market what Nintendo has become to the video game market. As things became more and more complicated (and expensive) to produce, they realized that pouring resources in to the cutting edge of technology was becoming a zero sum game. RIM has the biggest (international) user base, and they've built up a loyal following with their brand name. But their current goal seems to be more of identifying what core features the most people want in a smartphone, and chasing sales numbers instead of always trying to one-up the competition's hardware.

I think that's a blessing and a curse. There's no doubt that if RIM doesn't evolve at a faster rate, their devices will go the way of the pager and the Palm Pilot. On the other hand, it's important to recognize that the simplicity and longitudinal continuity of how people interact with BlackBerry devices is a HUGE part of why they've managed to remain popular as a business/professional device, and even a "status symbol" amongst working professionals.

Is there a middle ground? Can they do it all? As iPhone creeps into enterprise market can RIM extend their reach into the consumer market while maintaining their grip on the corporate base? For example one thing that has caught my attention has been video conferencing capability. One could argue that this would be a valuable business use application/capability. Why isn't RIM on the forefront of this? Why aren't they on the forefront of many developments that are valuable to their base as well as to the new markets they are trying to attract?

Its annoying to say the least, knowing RIM has the capability to do so much more and simply choosing NOT to.

I love this myth. I have this discussion all the time with phone salespeople. BBs are cheap to buy at the corporate and government buying level and the BES infrastructure is long since in-place. Given that secure push e-mail is soon to be perfected by a number of platforms,existing servers are aging rapidly, Exchange Server compliance and tremendous end-user demand for more consumer friendly devices is bursting at the seams; those who hold on to the notion that "BB is fine. Look at the sales numbers, their as popular today as they were 5 years ago." are in for a very rude awakening.

The thing is...

Almost 90% of the apps available are dated and are not being updated at all.

The new apps thou are very good and most of them at least try to integrate with the OS.

Should half of the old apps be updated (both UI, performance and features), we'll be in for a nice ride.

they have progressed in making apps available and what not, but blackberrys are limited in the type of apps they can run. If you're looking for a phone that can run some sweet apps and games get an iphone or droid.

BBs should be solely used for business. Sad to see people buying them just for the name

I work at a software development company and the target platform for mobile phones are iPhone, Droid and the coming windows 7 phone. Almost everyone is avoiding the BB and not putting any resources into it, it's a chicken and egg problem.

Most of us yahoos don't use blackberry, so there's very little in terms of apps for the average user. Almost every popular culture site that releases an app does it for the iphone, my gf whines all the time about having no apps for the BB

-adult swim
-pittsburg pens
and list goes on and on.

Being a software developer i've also heard bad stories about how developing on the BB sucks. Personally I think RIM has been spending too much time coming up with 100 versions of their phone instead of focusing on content for their phones, too many platforms means lower quality (9550 ugh), little emphasis on apps, a slew of "leaked oses" and generally an unwelcome platform for anyone with time to invest.

Stabilize your OS, consolidate your phone hardware, focus on getting more popular apps out or you'll be left behind. Leaked oses are soooo lame. Fire your goddamn product manager.

Well I'm a bb newbie and frm what I seen most apps I dl aren't what they cracked up to be (but what do I have to compare too lol) so I don't buy pricy apps for that reason!! But I am already a theme addict lol so I hope they do change the apps out there!! :)

Direction they are taking will demand they get better app sources...with the slide and clamshell less corporate guys and more kids buying berries they will probably improve as 6.0 will give them a year.

are routinely coming up as error on page and bad script. Been happening for 2 weeks now. What's the major malfunction?

The BlackBerry's assortment of available apps still sucks compared to what is offered for the iPhone and the assorted Android phones. :(

Take the best iphone or android application and as soon as you need to port it over to a Java runtime enviroment running over C++ operating system supported by a (maximum) single core 624mhz processor without (all but 2 devices) open GLES 3d processing, and (generally) less than 40 megs available space to install and less than 10 megs of RAM to run; well the issue is clarified. It's not just the hardware. It's not just the OS. It is both, and the configuration and deployment of both. I love how so many BB enthusiasts complain about flash, and have no problem in justifying the 1980ish bloatware that is Java.

Android is Java based and the Iphone can support Java. The reason RIM has so far to go is that they/developers keep backwards/forwards compatibility with most of their apps and they operate on multiple networks. The Iphone only works on GSM networks which natively support Data+Voice. For RIM to offer the same kind of apps, they would have to drop half their user/phone base. It makes no sense to develop an app that will only run on a subset of their phone base.

Ya, I thought Android was Java based (but they have their own Virtual Machine).

Regarding apps that only a subset of devices can use. It make sense when there's a large enough base. Your application will be able to do things the legacy supporting apps can't. Thus your application will be able to differentiate itself from the rest of the market and get more downloads on the new devices than you would have been otherwise.

Yes, that makes sense for independent developers, but not so much for RIM. Therein also lies the dilemma in that there is no accurate account of the number of users for each OS. Then you have alot of corporate users which have restrictions on what they can install. Developing for BlackBerry can be very time consuming, and for other than the simplest tasks, daunting for most solo developers and small companies. For alot of people trying to make a profit, and or live off of developing, the BlackBerry platform is not very appealing because of the many variations of devices, OSes, and hardware. Also with the hit or miss nature of many applications, you basically have two choices:
(1)you can churn out unfinished applications (beta versions) that are cheap and will possibly get alot of initial users, some who will stay along for the ride and upgrade as you go along, or
(2)you can spend alot of time developing and possibly have it be a bust and was your investment

typically run 1Ghz snapdragons. And Andoid handsets will be using the new 1.2GHZ dual cores. Thay have already shipped to Motorola and HTC. None to RIM. If the hardware was capable CPU, RAM and storage; then JAVA would not be the complete failure it is. Yes, Berry Weather and a few other apps are great. But most are a pale comparison to their I-Phone and Android counterparts.

Close, but J2ME is the real problem.

Almost every game that is of poor quality for BlackBerry is actually a game written strictly in J2ME and make zero to little use of the API's that RIM provides. The quality of apps written exclusively for BlackBerry is much better...

Are there crappy apps? Of course they are. That is true of
every platform.

But to make it seem as if developers are at a standstill with
BlackBerry is a bit hyperbolic.

BellShare, Fixmo, ShaoSoft, eMobile, DynoPlex, NikkiSoft,
Twinkler, Webgate, VikySoft, Steelthorn, Score Media
and at least three dozen developers I can think of turn
out some impressive (and low cost apps)

There are a whole bunch of free developers that do the

As to the issue of games there are tons of really good ones
but to expect a phone with the specs of a BB to perform
gaming as well as an iPhone or Android is just dumb.

There is not a single app on my phone I consider crappy and
of those apps 34 are paid for. If an app is crappy, it's gone.
Simple as that.

You want better apps, support the good developers, be they
free or paid.

Some developers have been doing pretty good.

But if RIM, itself, can't get it's own Facebook app to work well, then what's the point. How long has 1.7 been out now with all the problems it has?

Oh, and Poynt is great, but that's not by RIM.

most apps are still crappy and so few of them are good. apple as far more apps and all the free ones are pretty good with so much selection. they dont lag like hell like blackberries too. dont get me wrong i love blackberry and use bbm 100's of times a day and lets face it.. its been out for ages and it still lags like hell at times when you open it or have active group chats...

The end user doesnt care if its the hardware, the software or the developers. Most of the apps take days to open before you can actually start using them. After that, they are slow and clunky and less than visually appealing. Notable exceptions are berryweather, kindle and the wsj mobile reader. I did a side by side test of the MLB 2010 app running on the Incredible and Storm 2. Every single interaction with the app was exactly the same. Initiate something on both, the Incredible is done in seconds while I could go out, eat dinner, see a movie come back and the blackberry is still trying to figure it out. Its the entire package that is years behind the competition. Im sure the developers are as frustrated as everyone else.

My children have the ipod touch and have at least fifty games. All of the games are better than anything i've seen on my BlackBerry Storm 2. The ipod apps frequently update and improve as well. This is a rarity for BB apps. With the Android allowing apps to be put on a memory card, I can see moving to that platform when the 2.3 iteration hits. I love the texting on the BB and I don't think anything will be able compare from that standpoint but it's getting rough these days being a BB fan.

How many applications does BB do better than Android or I-phone? Any category?

Productivity (Like Docs to GO)

Social (Like Facebook, AIM Twitter)


News/Sports (Like MLB2010)

Games (Like Need For Speed)

In my opinion there should have been a third poll category which read "they're about the same, no better or no worse over the past year". And as far as other apps are concerned I'd take quality over quantity every time.a fellow Iphone friend of mine has a ton of apps he's used once as they're stand alone applications. I'd love to see apps be more intuitive and work along with core functions of the phone Calendar, Excel and Contacts.....) like Poynt, or Pro on the go. Oh yea, they could lower the prices of some of them too.

I've been a loyal BB user for 8+ years, but am seriously thinking about jumping ship. The things that Android phones and iPhones can do is simply amazing, and the BB is stuck in 2007. Their email has almost caught up to BB, and everything else they do is so much better. I don't play any games on my phone, nor do I want to. But it would be nice to be able to do simple things like crop photos or edit videos (I use these things for business). BB still doesn't have a Chase Bank app (which has been promised for about a year). I don't think you can name one app that isn't first released on, and is much better on, the iPhone. Why would a developer create apps for BBs first? They will obviously start with iPhones or Android, and eventually adapt it to a BB if they get around to it. I'll probably jump to Android because I don't like the restrictions Apple puts on the iPhone. I would really like to stay with BB, but I'm afraid BB is too far behind and their OS is too outdated to catch up.

I am a bb user for a few years now, started of with a bb 8700, and now have a bb bold 9700. I have seen allot of improvement. But i do have to say, there is still a huge gap to fill on improvements. Like. The standard on a bb should be a pdf reader, not a sort of "demo" of dataviz! The prices sould be lower, and there should be something done to use bb maps, or other stuff so you could use it without bis or bes! Bb maps with preloaded maps. So you don't need internet. That way someone without a postpaid plan can easely use the same things as someone with postpaid! I use a 9700 with bes, and a curve 8520 with prepaid!


Many of the apps for blackberry are pretty crappy, some of the good ones always has some kind of flaw, so I don't support, I get them all for free by my own "special method", I don't think they are worth the money.

RIM should stop developing lame applications and focus on creating API's so that other, more talented developers are able to develop great applications.

The other smartphone application development platforms (iPhone, Android) are focused on providing API's that give developers access to the devices internal functions.

I don't use many apps.. However from what *I* have seen and used, NOTHING HAS REALLY CHANGED... As if the whole platform is still all too limited and has reached that limit... I firmly think and believe RIM needs to step it up and build a REAL NEW OS not just some small updates to the original just to play catchup... I love my BB and def am not jumping ship like the folks who post that crap on every post, but the truth is what it is...

They are horrible, I mean apps that make your phone fart and apps to make you talk like a gangsta, LOL. Give me a break. These are some of the shitiest apps i've seen. Seems like kids sre creating them. Years behind with everything.

When you compare BlackBerry to iPhone, you're comparing apples to oranges. Apple releases only one new version of the iPhone each year (and only 2 generations of the iPod Touch). Each has the the same high resolution display with similar specs. As a result, they can all run the same apps easily.

BlackBerry has mind-dizzying slew of models available, and only the higher end ones (9000+) have the specs to run visually appealing and meaty apps. Top of the line units are running apps made for BlackBerrys from 3 years ago, while those units are running apps intended for more powerful handhelds.

Maybe the solution is to create apps with the label "Made for OS 5". It happens in the desktop world. Why not in the BlackBerry world?

Android and Apple have taken a huge lead in this area. AppWorld has made nearly no improvements over the past year and is falling way behind. With apps becoming a key focus for people buying phones, RIM needs to step it up or they are going to fall behind.

The only app we are missing that the iphone has is ebuddy, (facebook chat with out someone hacking)But were having it stock nest OS drop. I'm around Iphones and Andriod. Iphones are like a toddler phone you don't have to look for shit you can't mess it up and at a glance it looks great. But you can't put a background on yet, app's are always gunna be all over your screen you can't put them on the side or anything,you can't even run pandora and facebook at the same time, they forget all the little stuff I love about BB and if you know how to run a BB you can have a phone faster and more functional then a 3GS. Andriod I sell phone's two close firends of mine have a Hero and a MyTouch they have a lot of usless waste your time apps they get laggy they are difficult to use. They have app for that RIM already put it on the phone

The improvements coming to BlackBerry are few and unimpressive. When you have the open Android OS leap-frogging BlackBerry as well as Apple with true innovation with giant steps forward, it's hard for me to rationalize sticking with a stagnant technology. The Storm 1 and all it's flaws also helped me decide it's time to move on to another brand.