Thinking big with the world's most prolific app developer, S4BB

By Simon Sage on 26 Sep 2013 01:33 pm
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Last month there was a big stink about a single developer accounting for about 47,000 apps in BlackBerry World - roughly a third of the total catalog count at last tally. Lots of press painted a picture of a manufacturer that encouraged low-quality, spammy developers to beef up their numbers and ultimately project an inflated sense of health in the app ecosystem.

Even outside of the BlackBerry ecosystem, 47,000 apps by a single developer is unheard of on other platforms. It was easy to imagine a Chinese sweat shop full of poorly-paid coders cranking out apps as fast as they could be submitted. The developer in question was S4BB. While in Hong Kong for BlackBerry Jam Asia, I swung by the S4BB offices to see if any of these images held up.

"You can't stop at a hundred."

Turns out they didn't. S4BB is a small group of mostly Europeans. The apps they make are polished and useful. They're innovating in new areas like Oculus Rift software and consumer drone hardware. CEO and co-founder Patrick Kosiol sat down with me to talk through the ruckus caused by their app count. The vast majority of S4BB's apps are individual city guides, though they were quick to remind us that they've dabbled in many areas. 

That dabbling is actually very much at the heart of S4BB's strategy: while many developers put all of their blood, sweat, and tears into a single app, Kosiol and his team identify single, useful utilities, cook them up quickly, and move onto the next. Kosiol says this is a more macro-level view and has so far proven successful. BlackBerry's Alec Saunders confirmed that though individual download numbers for many of S4BB's apps aren't through the roof, the combined results of single sales a few thousand times over works out in the end. 

As you might expect, some of the cities S4BB provides guides for are extremely obscure, but through an automated system, they're able to pull in legitimate content from a wide range of sources into a consistent, polished user interface. I actually ended up buying their Hong Kong city guide and read through the Wikipedia article on the flight over. (Fun fact: Hong Kong is the most vertical city in the world due to the number of skyscrapers. I feel right at home.) The built-in currency converter has been helpful a dozen times already. Kosiol posits that the city guides are even good enough for Built for BlackBerry designation, a claim which Saunders had backed up, but providing that badge of quality to such a huge number of apps could obviously be problematic.

"It's all about the end-user."

S4BB's loyalty to the BlackBerry platform is worth noting, too. They've been in the sphere for awhile, and have even named their company after BlackBerry. What happens if things don't go smoothly for BlackBerry over the next couple of quarters, though? S4BB have already launched a handful of apps on iOS and Android, but for the immediate future, they aren't going anywhere.

However, if BlackBerry pivots to enterprise solutions as expected, Kosiol might not be inclined to stick around. He clearly enjoyed gathering end-user feedback and addressing the needs of everyday consumers, but there's little room for that in a world where only CIOs are buying BlackBerry apps.

See all of S4BB's apps in BlackBerry World

162 comments

New_Z10

Hope they make some useful apps. More quality less quantity.

Posted via CB10

Undbiter65

They do. I have a few. They're pretty good apps. :)

Posted via CB 10 on my naked Z10 ;)

farteater

Same here

The Gamer's Network- C00015A3 || From my Z on .1047

BBPandy

Some of their apps are really good...not sure about the city guides, never tried em

Posted via CB10

rockivy

I have a couple as well good quality very responsive tech support

Posted via CB10

New_Z10

Should have said some more. I have a couple of their apps too.

Posted via CB10

just_luc

I've yet to try an S4BB app that was any good at all..

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

It would be cool if they could take that effort of publishing 47,000 titles and put it into assisting with bringing big name apps to the platform. A new industry partnership model.

BerryWizard

Ok...you are actually asking a business to stop working on their products and help the competition to get on the market to compete with them ?
Each $ you had put on them will now go to another developer team.

Doesn't sounds like a good deal imho

Posted via CB10

birdman_38

S4BB doesn't regard Netflix & Instagram as competition. Therefore if there's a way for BlackBerry to leverage S4BB's dedication to help bring their non competitors to the platform - in a way that benefits all parties - that would be awesome.

Just thinking outside the box here.

cletis

So what is your argument? That S4BB should say to Netflix et al, "Hey; we've published 47,000 apps for the BlackBerry, so that should inspire you to reverse your analysis of BB as a fringe market not worth the expense of trying a development team"? Or are you suggesting that S4BB should lease some of their dev time to the big guys so they don't have to incur the overhead of ramping up their own dev team?

birdman_38

Something more like the latter. AnimalPak200 kinda nails it below.

AnimalPak200

I guess you could do a contractor type model. Netflix et al. Simply contract out BB10 coding and support (except for account/billing issues) to S4BB, obviously allowing them access to whatever restricted API they have in place. If BB10 tanks, then they just end the contract without any lingering employee liabilities.

Posted via CB10

rikard27

Nice one 2!

Z10 / PlayBook 16GB / iPod touch 4th generation iOS 6.1.3-32GB/ iPad mini iOS 7-32GB / Lenovo IdeaPad K1 4.2.2 Jelly Bean 32GB

masterful

Keep it up. I like it

Posted via CB10 from my BlackBerry Z10

THBW

Good for S4BB. Lots of bright, energized developers working in efficient manner to pump out useful apps. And Hong Kong is the place to do it. Quite a stark difference from the lumbering dinosaurs we call App developers in North America. Good news is that North America developers are still #1 in attitude.

Buzz88

I don't have a problem with what they are producing. Most of them are very useful apps even if they are only useful for a small number of people. It's better than the vast array of crap that shows up on Google Play... that place is like a malware factory.

Magnetic_dud

But they produce a vast array on crap on BlackBerry World

cletis

Your comment, being a categorical contradiction to the theme of the article on which you're commenting (as well as the other commenters to it) requires substantiation.

Magnetic_dud

ok, i show you the crap they make:

http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/25925760/ (Macau, not the country, but an unknown town in brazil)

http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/22326087/ (Swiss, an unknown town in the USA)

http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/22323970/ (Manhattan, an unknown town in kansas)

http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/22304000/ Another variation to manhattan (not the real one)

and there is much much more!

This is not crap????????
Come on!

cletis

Yeah, I'd agree that those City guides are crap that clutters up App World. Apparently S4BB's real star app is the code they wrote which automatically gathers the data on every town they can, and inserts it into their City Guide App framework with little or no human intervention.

inurear

Google Play is not a malware factory! how dare you suggest such a thing...

Excuse me while i rate my BBM app i downloaded on Google Play from some unknown developer.

Jahcure

Love the Imdb app.

Posted via CB10

Iggy City

I bet you there's over 47000 useless/virus/spam apps on both Android and iOS. But of course BlackBerry is the one that gets all the negative attention, even though the developer is legit and is actually willing to sit down and talk about it.

Anik91

Exactly

BlackBerry Z10, CB10.

themyk

Doubly exactly. Although it might be nice to group the thousands of individual city guides in country guides, the fact remains that this developer put money and effort into it's focus on BlackBerry and isn't afraid to sit down and talk about it.

Posted via CB10

mikeycollins13

He didn't put money in you fool. He was paid dump trucks full to spam this.

This is at the heart of the scandal.

BBPandy

Not sure about iOS. But yea Android probably does have over 47,000 malware apps. Oh & as for useless, I have DL'd useless apps on my iPhone

Posted via CB10

texazzpete

Way to miss the point...you'll not find that many crappy apps from ONE developers on iOS and Android. The flak came because S4BB apps are 40% of the total appstore, and many are pure garbage.

If you can't see the clear difference, you're beyond hope.

oilgeo10

Exactly.
That BlackBerry & Alec Saunders may think this is ok and not degrading app world, is surprising. No wonder BlackBerry is where it is today, out of touch.
This dev has only been dumping 50 -100 'apps' per day into app world, depending on when he started.

Posted via CB10

mrneo3277

How. Fucking dare you. Dude,bb had. Less than 6 months to get apps together,with a shyt load of. Roadblocks, you all are some unappreciative bums,apple and. Google. Gathered this apps over 5 years idiots,

Posted via CB10

iwasspartacus

That's bullshit. PlayBook was the beginning for BB10, and the Android emulator? Its not a 6month old OS and they have been unable to build relationships with other developers to - at a minimum - port apps from Android.

The posters are correct there is a lot of crap on the store. It's sad that the dev relations folks think S4BB ratio of their library is ok. It's embarrassing and they are just delaying the inevitable for the salaries cos they and the other execs might never work again in this industry again. Certainly not for the compensation they are getting.

Posted via CB10

Iamanonymous62

It would have to be more like 360,000 to be a fair analogy.

Erik Lehman

90% of the s4bb apps are garbage. A few of them are useful. If I make 50 000 apps and 10 are useful. It is clearly because they are trying to scam people. Not surprising considering where the outfit is based out of.

Posted via SEGA master system

lotuslanderz

Do you have evidence that they are trying to scam people?

Posted via CB10

rjedge54

Have you actually tested all of their apps to validate your "90% garbage" or "they scam people" accusations? If you are going to make that accusation you should be prepared to back it up. Just because an app is not useful to you or is specific to a geographical location other than your own, does not make it a garbage app. I also have a few of their apps and the ones I have purchased have been quite useful.

THBW

Nothing like a bit of subtle racism to justify your arguments. If you have ever been to Hong Kong, you will realize why S4BB is based there. It is a great place to do business and the city is buzzing with new opportunities. While they make money, App developers in the west sit on their fat collective a$$ and pat each other on the back.

k8bushlover

I have nothing against S4BB. I'm sure I have some of their apps, lots are free, and let's face it, it is a numbers game overall. (Without S4BB, what number of apps would BB have announced at launch? S4BB probably deserves the golden parachute.)

I don't like how BB obfuscates things, but should be used to it by now. Look at the confusing way they announced sales in the pre-earnings report last Friday ("won't recognize as revenue until sold-through" -- "5.7 mln sold-through but some shipped [so already reported as revenue] in previous quarter".) None of it "untrue" -- just hard to make out a clear picture of the situation from the cherry-picking of numbers.

Magnetic_dud

Well, it was better to say there were less apps, rather than lose face when it was exposed than 1/3 of apps were spam and submitted by only one team...

buylocal_getaBB

Except that the consensus in the comments seems to indicate there not spam, and my own experience agrees. So I fail to see your point...

Posted via my Zed (not Zee) 10

Magnetic_dud

because we are fanboy. You can't deny that their guides (Wikipedia stuff + currency converter at the low price of $3) aren't spammy.

Simon Sage

Content licenses cost money, yo.

Posted via CB10

Magnetic_dud

content licenses? It's stuff from wikipedia, it's free. You even bought the hk app, you know what are you talking about. If they had to pay even $0.1 for content licenses they wouldn't have done useless "spam" guides on unknown cities that have a keyword as a name (guide for "manga" city; guide for "sencha" city, and so on)

See the macao (chinese country) guide, it's about a town called macao in brazil...

camera531

Looking at the big picture here, to not call this guy a spammer is just being disingenuous...

c_legaspi

Very conflicting about blackberry apps. As the first poster remarked, we need useful apps.

Posted via CB10

c_legaspi

I also find this article a little too kind. I think we need to a least air out the truth.

Posted via CB10

koolrosh

Thank you for putting it in perspective. The truth is it doesn't matter if they make 1000000 apps as long as some of then are useful, then they should be encouraged to keep making apps. The app store should be done in a way that gives less eyeballs to lower quality and lesser downloaded apps.Just look at Apple App store, they have 1 million apps and most of then are crap, but you wouldn't know by browsing through their store.

Play Starcraft? Join our Channel: C001242DE

Magnetic_dud

It matters. If they were going for quality, they would have done a SINGLE tourist guide with the possibility of buying new cities via in-app purchases.
They are only abusing the terms of service

k8bushlover

I don't disagree, I think it could have been handled or managed better. But isn't that the theme of this whole year that's been BB10?

iwasspartacus

This rot started way before BB10 and the the team put in place has not been effective at moving the needle at all.

The BOD has presided over this slow and now rapid decline. Can you believe one Director is teaching at a B school!!!

Posted via CB10

Reckage

If S4BB had made regional apps instead of city guides they would have offered better value instead of looking like spam artist.

Posted via CB10

trsbbs

CrappApps 'R Them.

Posted via CB10 on my Verizon Z10. 10.2.0.1725

hibackhand

Great article. Interesting behind the scenes look. Thanks!

trwrt

Does BB10 support in-app purchases? It seems like the city guides could just be a single app that allows you to buy additional cities from within the app itself, as long as BlackBerry World provides a way to do it.

Christopher Medrano

It supports in app purchases. I think everybody would agree that this should be the way they develop their city guides. Then they wouldn't have a problem certifying built for BlackBerry either.

Posted via CB10

Simon Sage

My thinking is that it isn't optimized for search engines. If the city name is nestled into a larger regional app, it won't show up first on results if another app has the city name in the title.

Posted via CB10

bomarco

Looking over most of these city guides, I'm not sure that is a legitimate concern. For example, I have a hunch that their Aakirkeby, Denmark (population 2,060) guide would probably be right near the top of a search for Aakirkeby. That metropolis, by the way, may actually be one of the larger urban sprawls that S4BB so helpfully guides us through.

mrneo3277

Hey man. The. Bb's on here talking bout he apps we fit need they ass whooped, stop trying to compare BlackBerry to a damn bite off apple, they have 800,000 bullshit apps they damn self..be proud of BlackBerry, be proud to be BlackBerry, ,,iPhone took till the iPhone 4 to take off, galaxy didn't take off till gs3,damn man. BlackBerry 10 is in q2 of the first devices, ,stop letting the media credits,reviewers, and appleheads dictate. What blackberry does,their phone are inadequate out the box,they have to get apps to fill the phone out, that's kool, but recognize that the BlackBerry 10 is has given them a higher bar to reach for,
WE DON'T CHASE PHUCKING APPLES,
WERE BLACKBERRY, THEY CHASE US, THIS SELL OF APPLE PROVES THAT APPLE HEADS LOVE THE HYPE BUT HATE THE EXPERIENCE, ASK YOUR friends with ios7,they all say. Hey I can do what you do now, not really,

Posted via CB10

mrneo3277

Sorry. Typos

Posted via CB10

digicloud

As the first poster stated: more quality and less quantity, that is what it is about. Sheer numbers are not going to make you rich as a developer. I have looked at many of their apps and to be honest, completely useless!
Makes you wonder if they are part of the BB scam on apps or in Crackberry's pocket as this review makes them come out rosy, and they are far from that. Let's have some balanced reporting without the marketing hype.

Simon Sage

Cool conspiracy story, bro.

I think a lot of people are stuck in the mindset that quantity and quality are mutually exclusive. Part of that is because we're very used to seeing developers put everything they've got into single apps, which, admittedly, can yield some amazing results, but it's far from the only way to do business. S4BB's apps do what they say on the box, and that's enough to put them above spammers. If you think their apps are useless, fine, but if that sentiment were universally shared, these guys wouldn't be in business.

Posted via CB10

Iamanonymous62

Don't forget, as Simon pointed out on his previous article about S4BB, Alec Saunders and S4BB are involved in another project together.
http://t.crackberry.com/blackberry-comments-prolific-developer

Simon Sage

I got some clarification on that, actually. Saunders isn't really heavily involved, he's just promoting the project where he can. 

Iamanonymous62

Well maybe you can clarify why it shows Saunders as a "funder" on the Indiegogo site?
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sky-drone-fpv

digicloud

Again let's keep some perspective as this project was just a prototype with many great ideas that did not get funded. So it does not go any further. It is atypical of crowdsourcing tech projects, given I have invested in several over the last couple of years cause as I said there are some great concepts out there that need help.
As to your comment Simon. There is no misunderstanding here, at least from my side. Making a comparison from developing one app or two to developing 50,000 is a wide divergence in terms of quality versus quantity. S4BB have come up with a system that mass produces apps (not unlike a production line) that can be replicated because of similarity in order to make dollars from every avenue. From a business perspective, pure genius...it's all about the money right? And in terms of BB they have been able to use this to advantage by saying: "Wow... look at the number of apps and how they are growing". But useful apps universally that reach a large audience, hardly. But it feeds the hype machine at BB, and BB has been good at painting a rosy picture continually while providing little detail. Unfortunately you folks sugar coat most articles as well and all I ask is for a balanced approach, don't think that is unfair.
So is that good or is that bad is dependant on your perspective and your dollars but like most people I think when we look for apps we look for quality, reliability, bug free as much as possible and certainly that it is useful, functional or provides entertainment, again dependant on your own perspective, but not one of these apps from S4BB stands out on their own or can be touted as being successful (other than a few I suspect), although you could say collectively they do. But what I/we are speaking to, is quality apps that bring a useful user experience to the owner. And yes maybe your Hong Kong app was useful on your trip but that is where it will stay as there is no other use outside of that city. (A good map app for free should give you what you need or Google Earth.) What would be more appropriate is to charge a usage fee, recurring revenue for the developer based on usage. Buy the city guides en mass for a monthly, yearly fee and you get unlimited access to all the guides although I have no idea how that would work.
Cheers,

Iamanonymous62

I was only pointing out the connection between Saunders and S4BB, Simon then claimed that Saunders was only "promoting" the venture. Since this seems to contradict what is written on the Indiegogo site, I felt it was necessary to respond, and was curious to find out why Simon would try to downplay/misinform regarding Saunders involvement, But, no response.

Simon Sage

Honestly, I don't use Indiegogo at all, so don't really know what the "Funder" section means. My guess is that it's like "backers" for Kickstarter, except you can highlight individuals that provide permission for their profiles to be shown. 

Simon Sage

For what it's worth, they're still working on the drone stuff regardless of the Indiegogo campaign. The guides might not reach a wide audience, but why do they have to? If there's one thing I learned from Jam Asia last year is that there are a whole host of super-localized apps that we never hear about because of their specific geographic focus. It's fine that it's a dispoable app with limited scope - it's three bucks. That is not a lot of money for a lot of convenience during my trip. For the frequency of my traveling, a subscription model makes no sense, but a single bite-sized purchase does. You could do a la carte in-app purchases through a single central hub app, but it's much more convenient for me to launch into a BBWorld search and download a stand-alone than it is to download a single primary app and search through its catalog. Plus hey, the individual city guides get their own specific user reviews too. I agree that S4BB has an assembly line approach, but I still don't see the problem. Cars aren't made by hand anymore, but nobody's demanding the abolishment of those assembly lines. As for sugar-coating, it is fair to ask for a balanced perspective, but this piece is meant specifically to provide balance. I opened this story talking about how every other post on the S4BB situation has been universally negative. It's aimed to provide a contrary counterbalancing opinion that just maybe S4BB's business strategy isn't absolutely awful. Now, BlackBerry's sugar-coating app numbers is another story altogether. I'm sure BlackBerry's more interested in appearing spam-free than having a lot of apps, but seriously, S4BB isn't doing a thing that merits their forced removal from the store.

mikeycollins13

Yes, Have you asked if he paid for these shares?

Playbook007

The best news! Now that the world believes BlackBerry is going private, and then ultimately to the bone yard, the trolls are now out in full force on Engadget feeding on Apple and Android. It's funny to see them argue on who is less secure! As we all know kids have work arounds for for the ipads that were distributed to the LA schools for 1 billion dollars. BlackBerry just go private!

BlackBerry will survive in the Corporate and Government Sectors! My Z10 is so much better than an iphone!

Rjinswand

According to this article (German) he also is also in charge of Skylab Mobilesystems. That's another few hundred apps. It also explains where they rip the actual content for most of their apps from:
http://m.heise.de/ix/meldung/Zehntausende-BlackBerry-Apps-bauen-auf-frem...

Magnetic_dud

S4BB have already launched a handful of apps on iOS and Android, but for the immediate future, they aren't going anywhere.

Because if they have a similar behavior on the App Store they would be BANNED for spamming?

I hope they leave the market (unlikely, since they are allowed to make $$$ with those wikipedia+currency converter "apps")

lotuslanderz

You don't have to buy or download their apps!

Posted via CB10

THBW

Hey, they are out there making money. Good for them. They obviously have a business model and it is working. Now if just a few developers in the west could just figure this out. Sort of a Duh.

Plenty of garbage on the Apple App Store. Last time I looked, the Fart app count was nearing 12,000.

Magnetic_dud

You want more developers to behave like them? Are you crazy? You want 500k apps that are garbage?

THBW

So what is wrong other than the fact that they are smart and figured out different business model. They figured out that BB provides tools that allows them to make multiple Apps of similar content (i.e. City guides). Good for them and on top of that they are reasonably useful. And why didn't someone in North America figure this one out? I think it has something to do with laziness on this side of the pond. North American app developers need to wake up and smell the coffee. China just gets it done while we just open another can of potato chips and watch life pass us by.

SlcCorrado

Good read. Would have been nice to have more though. An interview would have been appreciated

fearmantis

Keep moving BB!

BB Z10 Rocks!

mr_zed10

The video was making me sleepy.

Any ways so long as the other 47,000 apps are in line with the example in the video then I say keep them coming, the reviews will speak on the quality and people can make up their own minds.

No spam? No problem. :)

ifarlow

So this is what it has come to, writing a fluff piece to spin positive the crap that is S4BB and their spamming of BlackBerry World with mostly useless junk? The simple truth is that there is nothing positive about one developer providing, at last count, roughly 48,000 apps. Forty-eight thousand! That is absurd, and its level of absurdity is only trumped by this sad attempt at making this news somehow sound like a good thing.

As others have noted, it would be much, much better if developers would produce fewer apps and focus on ones that aren't crap, that aren't so narrowly focused that they are useless for most people, and that actually draw new customers to the platform. S4BB is not helping the platform one bit, and the silly numbers game that BlackBerry is so proud to trumpet any chance they get regarding BlackBerry World looks more and more foolish when considering just how many of those apps are from this one app mill.

Simon Sage

I think a lot of people get hung up on the number without contextualizing it. The vast majority of these apps are automatically generated, which to me says consistency, not necessarily low quality. These city guides are only as good as their data sources, and their data sources are pretty good. As for the affect on the app ecosystem, it just means BlackBerry 10 has access to some extremely obscure city guides. How does "not for me" translate to "doesn't deserve to exist"?

Posted via CB10

Iamanonymous62

More like "not for most people"

mikeycollins13

"I think a lot of people get hung up on the number without contextualizing it. The vast majority of these apps are automatically generated, which to me says consistency, not necessarily low quality."

Either you must think we are really stupid, or you are really dumb. It's one or the other after that statement.

ifarlow

Simon, I never said "not for me," although that sentiment is so very true. No, what I said, in far fewer words than this, was with tens of thousands of apps that differ only in their microcosmic geographic reach, each app will reach an insignificant portion of the potential user base. That makes each of the tens of thousands of apps a waste of space and time, serves no benefit to the BlackBerry community at large, and as an aside, impacts the BlackBerry World numbers to make them look far more impressive than they really are.

Look at it this way: why create tens of thousands of apps that each relate to a very specific geographic area when S4BB could have developed a single app with a preference setting to let the user determine what geographic area the app serves? If S4BB had created a dozen or so of these apps, then the answer wouldn't be so obvious, but with them making tens of thousands of these apps, the answer is clear: they wanted to spam BlackBerry World. That is not a good thing. That does not help BlackBerry, BlackBerry World, or the users.

The issue is further exacerbated by the unfortunate reality that BlackBerry loves to shout from the mountaintops that they have X number of apps in BlackBerry World. Never mind, of course, that so many of those apps are spammed junk from a small, small number of "developers." As I think about it, there are two detrimental side effects of S4BB's activities: the inflated BlackBerry World app count, and the disproportionate number of developers relative to the number of available apps. In other words, with so many apps available, it might seem that there are an equally large number of developers making those apps. Unfortunately this is not true as S4BB (and a few others) are responsible for so many of the apps available. That leaves precious little room for other developers in the count of remaining available apps.

There is yet another issue to consider: their flood of crap pushes legitimate apps further down the list and makes finding those apps more and more difficult. Sifting through all of S4BB's junk is frustrating, and that alone should be concerning to everyone. But it seems that, for most people, they just don't care. The more the merrier, it seems. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Consider this in summary: if S4BB had only made a few dozen or even a few hundred of these apps, would we be having this conversation at all?

rlgwood

They were making good apps long before BB10 arrived. Keep it moving.

Posted via CB10

Pdoody

If S4BB is making money, who cares. Mire power to them.

Posted via CB10

Pdoody

Woops....

More power to them. I think we should encourage any developer that wants to develop for BlackBerry. If you don't like the ap, then don't download it.

Thanks S4BB!

Posted via CB10

PK070205

S4BB 47,000, apps are junk! S4BB, is not the only one pumping out a large number of junk apps. Subtract S4BB's crap apps from the app store and your down to 73,000 apps, subtract all the other spam app developers and you have less than 10,000 apps in the BlackBerry App world. Compare the big name apps such as Facebook, Evernote, MLB... there counterparts and you'll see a big difference in the quality of apps on Apple and Android platform. Apple has the highest quality apps of the two major ecosystems. There's no doubt BlackBerry App World horrible and apps do matter.

What killed BlackBerry: Terrible apps

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/25/technology/mobile/blackberry-apps/index....

Posted via CB10

Simon Sage

Obviously the iOS app ecosystem is better, but that doesn't stop BlackBerry's from being good, or makes it necessarily bad. I'm sure if you whittled out the spam from iOS and Android, they'd be a little more sparse too. I'd wager that if you took the worst across all platforms, they'd all be in the same ballpark, and if you were to compare S4BB's supposedly awful city guides to the worst on iOS or Android (because they're apparently in the same camp), BlackBerry would be leagues ahead.

Posted via CB10

Iamanonymous62

Shouldn't we be comparing the BEST?

ivande

No excuss for this crap.
Did you ever try to look at BB World at the new apps section? You'll see 10 different apps and then hundreds of this garbage!!!

The purpose of this behavior is not to give users a better experience (in this case a single app with frequent updates or server-side downloads would work best), but catch as much Z10 Limited and other feee stuff from BB. And of course (wouldn't be any surprised if that was directly supported by BB) increase a number of apps in a store.

Keep BB World clear and full of different apps, but not a copy-paste-renname!

mikeycollins13

This S4BB is nothing more but a total fraud. It will be the grossest fraud perpetrated by Heins and co to wilfully let consumers and shareholders believe that the BB10 platform was being 'widely adopted' by developers.

This deception, with about 70K apps from two developers, will be unravelled.

I expect the SEC to investigate this aspect of BlackBerry's demise carefully.

Someone at BBRY new, someone at S4BB was duplicitous and both of those parties are in the wrong.

I really can't believe Crackberry would write an article applauding such behavior.

This is editorially in bad taste, something that is quite rare for this site.

Posted via CB10

Iggy City

Were you in any way, shape, or form affected by these "fraudulent" apps as you so call them?

No? Then please walk away and rid us of your mindless rants that just reek with ignorance.

mikeycollins13

You must be the biggest idiot in the world...

Analyst all over Wall Street, the press, all wrote about our 100K strong app store.

Shareholders were decimated by this lie and other deceptions.

That is how many of us 'WERE AFFECTED'

Posted via CB10

Iggy City

Are you a shareholder or an analyst, or do you work for BlackBerry? If not, then this doesn't affect you.

And please don't tell me it affects you because you have the phone. Your BlackBerry won't randomly turn off if the company goes private or gets sold in parts. Life goes on.

And really, if you don't like the apps, then ignore them and don't download them.

Tell me why you aren't just as outraged about all the spam apps on android eh?

mikeycollins13

Shareholder. They lied and puffed up the app store. That hurt a lot of people. they should go to jail.

irulesucka

If you have ever launched an app in BlackBerry World (or any market) you'd understand the value of New Releases. If you'd put your blood, sweat, tears and money into building something for BlackBerry and launch it only to have it flushed through New Releases along with 300 city guides you'd probably have a different opinion and realize the affect these "apps" have on people and the market overall.

The reality is.. these city guides and apps like them are nothing more an attempts to occupy space and improve discoverability by dominating a category at the expense of other developers.

Simon Sage

Now this is a fair complaint, but has a lot more to do with how new releases are presented in BlackBerry World than what S4BB's doing. iOS and Android don't have a firehose feed of every single new app that comes out - those new release feeds only exist for individual categories. If you check sites like AppShopper or AppBrain, you can get a good idea of just how messy a pure global new releases feed can get. If S4BB flooded the local guides feed, there wouldn't be a problem here. iOS does "Best New apps" (previously New and Noteworthy), which shows it becomes necessary to curate once these kinds of feeds become overwhelming and useless.

Posted via CB10

ranzabar

47,000?
47,000?
Again
47,000?

C'mon.

Posted via my BlackBerry Z10

CatlinFD

Their apps ask for way too many permissions. Suss as hell.

Posted via CB10

hobgoblin1961

Glad that I'm not using a single app from them, nor I'm in need of any.
Tried one in The beginning of this year, but quickly turned my back at S4BB, because that app didn't work after an official OS upgrade.. this guys don't care about customers questions, never answered, hiding behind a automated email response system.

Thumb down!!

Posted via Z10

sgt_snacks-64

So... we still don't know what the "S" stands for? :)

Posted via SmackBerry 10

RonBro66

They make crap apps for a dying company.

TylerJNelson32

No wonder there are so many horrible apps. I think by now it's clear that the most demand is for quality over quantity. No one would care the number of apps in BlackBerry world if they had quality well known titles, and work at getting them nicely tied into bb10.

Posted via CB10

TheLoonie

This must be a fucking joke. First that Kevin guy tries to draw comparisons to Apple's troubles in the late nineties, now this?

Yes...must be a fucking joke.

Posted via CB10

Adam Munn

wow garbage apps, garbage company.... crappy platform, waste of an article. I love coming to Crackberry for a laugh.

irulesucka

Witty and insightful. How can the world get more Adam Munn? You should write or host a podcast. Don't deny your fans what they want.. what they NEED. Please. Think about all the women that would through themselves at you.

TheStrider

I have several of their apps, and enjoy using them. If it took them that many apps to get the quality ones spun out, then so be it.

jdcfinisher

Sure are a lot of shelf righteous people here. I don't like that app or no use for it. So it's crap /spam . Try posting a list of your apps. I bet I don't have 3/4s of them, so that must mean 3/4 s of your apps you have are crap. If you can prove an app is a scam report it and have a cookie. If you can't prove it shut your lying, racist mouth up. Comparing a tiny free app to one From a huge site or an expensive app is stupid.

Posted via Z10

THBW

Yes, one can't help but notice the combination of self righteousness and subtle racism. S4BB has obviously figured out a good business model and you can here it in the interview. And we wonder why China always beats the pants off us in the west.

c_legaspi

I guess it's dam if you do and dam if you dont.

Posted via CB10

SparkyBC

They're nothing but a joke. Why even feature them in an article 99% of what they produce is total s4it

THBW

They are just smart business people and they know an opportunity when they see it. I have actually used a couple of their Apps and they are pretty good value for the dollar. Good to see you have used the other 47,000.

dmacne

I'm happy with the imdb Wrapper they made. Let's be honest the webkit browser is fantastic so it's a pleasure using the site in that form

Posted via CB10

spacemanspork

You know for City Guides you would think it'd be useful to have a free city guide app (offer a barely traveled city for free) and then micro transactions for different cities. That way you only have one city app and people can see what it's like for free and then buy the cities they want.

Magnetic_dud

but in this way they couldn't spam the market with their apps. Everytime i search something, i get their useless guides.
If they cared quality and blackberry, they would have gone that way (free app + guides via IAP)

THBW

Okay dude, S4BB has to pay for content but you want the app for free. May I ask what business school you atteded.

Posted via CB10

Magnetic_dud

Hey i teach you something: wikipedia content is free, you don't need to pay to use it.

And also I said: free app and then you BUY a city guide via in-app PURCHASE

Can you open your eyes? Thanks

mrneo3277

Hold. Up. I can. See that. We have a bunch of. APPLEHEADED. DUSH BAGS. ON THE "CB". I. See em. They are the ones. That talking down on the app developers, like. Apple and android. Have 800,000 quality apps,really. Bullshit, they also had. 5 year to build. Thier catalog, spy ass. Wankers, BlackBerry comes with everything that the compition has to search half their store for, and some they still can't an app for, apple. And android. Wants you be an app junkie,thats their game,their phone lacks communication and multi tasking ,so they make you focus on apps,and you damn fools sit and fall for the bs on cb, you complain to damn much,that. BlackBerry needs to go private,it the ever judging eye and en- experience for tech of the present shareholders etcc... Apple worked because no one could tell jobs what to do..period..he ran as he saw fit, and shareholders couldn't tell him shit, privately thir can run the company unapologetically and see their vision come to life, , they mad do with what they have, , but you asshole push and push, to make then cram 4 years of work into 6 months, for what,godamn candy crush, I don't. even play that boring ass shyt , bb got The media,bloggers, reviewers, and etcc hatting, and now. Yall. On cb. Crying bout some damn apps, ,even some of the apps deva. Hatting on bb,(we waiting to see if it picks up). It picks up with the core apps,(mr INSTAGRAM). And further more where the hell was the 72 subscribers at when the z10 was released,huh

Posted via CB10

oakvillerelopro

Thanks S4BB! Keep moving :)

Magnetic_dud

Excuse me, thanks for what?

THBW

For showing up and putting there money where there mouth is. If you don't like the app don't buy it.

Posted via CB10

Marc_Paradise

It just baffles me. Why not (for city guides) just make one app and use in-app purchases for each city? It's clearly the same code anyway, and the same purchases would get made - so why flood the app store in a tactic one would expect from a spammer?

Posted via CB10

irulesucka

Marc, I think you just answered your own question. Because they're an app spammer. They know 90% of those apps will be downloaded 0 times. 9% will be downloaded less than 10 times. 1% will be downloaded more than 10 times. Simply because they own the category.

It's a shameful tactic.

Simon Sage

I think it's a discoverability issue, and solving that problem isn't a spammy, dark practice. People are going to do searches for cities they're visiting, and the app that has the city name in the title will bubble to the top and likely be the first place users click. Sure, you could tuck away a city name into the description when talking about in-app purchase options, but searches won't pick up on that data as readily as a proper headline mention.  

rshore

Would be nice to have a call blocking app for OS 10 like they do for legacy devices. But ensure you can upgrade from BlackBerry World like you couldn't do before. S4BB said it was a BlackBerry World issue and vice versa. All finger pointing with no resolution.

Posted via CB10

niss63

I've bought a few of their apps. They generally work ok, but they are often a re-hash of what's available on a website. Their audio books are for sale for $5 a pop, but the same audio books are available for free on the web. Also, they ask for way too much personal information.

Anymore, if I see it is from S4BB, I'll usually look for another dev with a similar app.

It would be nice to have a search in BBW that would allow you to skip certain apps, words, or devs in the search results.

JuiciPatties

Boy....things are getting quite heated on this forum. I guess everyone is stressed out about the organization and it would be great if they had a equivalent ecosystem as its competitors. But us yelling back and forth about BB developers isn't really going to change anything. Everyone has an opinion and "it is what it is.".

What I believe is worth noting though is the z30 in the video. :)

Simon....bring one back for me. Thanks.

oilgeo10

Keep moving backwards BlackBerry! Looks like CB and S4BB will support you all the way into obscurity.

Posted via CB10

mrneo3277

This is one of those bitch n####$. I was talking bout earlier

Posted via CB10

kbz1960

One man's trash is another's treasure.

digitalsurfboard

it's about credibility.

the dev loses credibility with it's revenue generating approach to publishing apps.

the bb10 eco system loses credibility when such a large percentage of apps are from one developer and they let that developer overwhelm the app store.

edyb

Wishing all the success to S4BB. Regarding the city guides, I was wondering why don't they make a SINGLE app with in-app purchases allowing you to download only cities you want to your device? And you could eliminate 40,000 of those apps. Since the main "engine" seems identical across all the city guides, wouldn't this be a better way to do it? (not to mention supporting and updating them)

chiamattt

Are all you "quality not quantity" people totalitarians dreaming of a world where we all eat the same "quality" food, drink the same "quality" drink, and wear the same "quality" clothes?

I can't think of a shop ANYWHERE both physical or online where the selection of products I am not interested in doesn't exceed 95%.

Blaaaaaah

And there is the real problem: That anything you can package up no matter how trivial counts as, and is approved as, an "App".

Why is every single city guide a separate app?

Shouldn't it be one city guide app, for which you can load and download different guides?

If a simple city guide is considered an app right alongside Facebook being considered an app, then all you've done is completely cheapened the BB definition of "app", implying you cannot expect a fully-featured unique program from one, but instead are more likely to find just one feature, some gimmick, or a minor variation of some other app.

I'm glad it's not a sweatshop. I still believe they have done irreparable harm to the brand at a time when its "app ecosystem" (as everyone loves to put it) needed a different approach (quality over quantity) more than ever.

Hey Saunders, ever thought of getting these clowns to write Instagram for you? Instagram released their real-time API in early 2011 apparently, which means anyone could have wrote an Instagram app in a couple months.

You didn't think of that, eh? And now you're telling everyone they can't have it.

KemKev

Sheesh, why call the developers "clowns"? Does it make you feel better to label people?

dcbo89

Theres the simple fact that all those damn city maps that are clogging up the app catalog SHOULD BE ONE APP. Just learn to use in app purchases and you'll find that you end up with 5 apps and just as much content. 50k apps is outraageous and BB should have stopped them ages ago.

Blaaaaaah

And this article fails to address that BB10 "App" developers were getting paid by BB to produce apps.

Now what if we found out that under this incentive program, somehow every app that S4BB produced was considered "unique"?

These guys may have walked away with millions in exchange for flooding BB App World.

It should be researched and disclosed how much money was granted to S4BB through the incentive program.

Tripa

Horrible apps, could do 10 times better, most apps are so useless

Posted via CB10

KemKev

A bit disappointed at the article/report. I wanted to hear more from the developer's perspective and his response to the criticisms.

lsd2011

Okay now I understand why there are hardly any updates for my S4BB apps. I have a few like SmartWifi, Battery[some_name] and Memory/SignalBooster. SW does work fine but I think I'll only support the devs which are mentioned in the article from now on: those who only have a few apps and which are supported by the devs effort and heart. Neutron Music Player, Origami Browser, 3G Auto, Advance OS and LED Pro, BeWeather, Quicklaunch, Shortcutme - just to mention a few. Those apps get updated and are supported by the devs and I was happy to have paid and supported those small devs. I'll try to avoid the S4BBs from now on even if it won't be easy because of the massive AppWorldFlooding. BTW: many of those mentioned devs responded to my questions really fast and actually cared about me (the customer).

paulomurteira

There's nothing like seeing the guy behind the wheel, and listening to his ideas to change one's view about the so called "... Chinese sweat shop full of poorly-paid coders cranking out apps as fast as they could be submitted...".
- One suggestion to CrackBerry: next time, before putting the idea here, {like you did, several weeks ago, and that generated so much hatred conversations (mine included) about a (super) company that puts its effort to put the word BlackBerry on the market,} talk to the company, go there, or make yourselves invited. People (us) will stay with a very different perspective of that company. Thank you for this article.

Wolf35Nine

Hey wait a minute, doesn't everyone love low-quality, spammy developers? :)

GjDub

Ugh!

There are a billion "city guide " apps #fail

Posted via CB10 / Z10

bcuffy

They abandon the great apps like action pad. Task reports, next action etc for these 47 garbage.

Posted via CB10

s4bb

Thanks a lot for your enthusiasm! Of course, we have not abandoned Action Pad which is now available for BlackBerry 10 on BlackBerry World. Please feel free to download it from BlackBerry World. (note: Action Pad is even Built for BlackBerry and like all of our apps we have taken much care and time to design such apps for all of you)

We are currently working on NextAction! for BlackBerry 10 and will launch that very soon. Please stay tuned for the upcoming debut in the next couple of weeks!

ankush77

THEY HAVE DONE GOOD FOR BB,BUT NOW THE QUALITY AND CLASS SHOULD LEAD

ankush77

THEY HAVE DONE GOOD FOR BB,BUT NOW THE QUALITY AND CLASS SHOULD LEAD

za_berry

Moving to enterprise apps only after all the BlackBerry jam sessions and independent developer support.

That doesnt seem logical

Posted via CB10 from my Awesome Hub enabled Z10

CobaltTiNor

On my old Bold and Bold 9900 I used to give a lot of respect to their Wifi app. I forget the name. It used to save my battery quite a bit by turning on Wifi only in areas where I used Wifi. Now I have the Q10 so battery life isn't as much of a concern but it would still be nice. Who can say they don't want to extend battery life?

Posted via CB10