Wondering how BlackBerry 10 managed to get 70,000 apps at launch? On the back of Android, that’s how.
Executives told reporters at the launch of the new phones that 40 percent of the apps in the store were Android apps that developers have repackaged using tools provided by BlackBerry to enable them to run on the BlackBerry phones.
The revelation highlights just how hard it is for a new phone platform to enter the market. Many people do make a smartphone decision based on availability of apps on the phone. But it’s challenging for the new smartphone platforms to convince developers to build for their platforms if their user base isn’t big. Making it easy to convert Android apps to be used on another phone, like the BlackBerry, is one way to try to convince users that the apps they want will be on the phones.
It's also another indication of how Android is becoming the dominant ecosystem for developers, even as the platform itself fragments with forked versions like Amazon's and add-ons like Samsung's.
Microsoft took a different approach when it launched Windows Phone. It tried to take the sting off its relatively small app store by saying that it was focusing on quality apps rather than sheer quantity.
For BlackBerry, while all those Android apps boost the total number of apps in the store, they won’t necessarily offer the kind of quality that users might hope for.
PC Magazine reports that the Android apps in BlackBerry 10 “look odd," with dialog boxes and other elements not fitting quite right.
BlackBerry started down the Android apps path when it first announced it would launch a player in its Playbook tablet that would run Android apps. It now offers tools that developers can use to repackage their apps to make them compatible with BlackBerry 10 and the PlayBook.