CNN - What killed BlackBerry: Terrible appsCNN: BlackBerry boasts the fact that there are 120,000 apps for its users to download. What the troubled company doesn't tell you is that most of them -- even the popular apps -- are awful.
The sorry state of the BlackBerry App World is one of the primary contributing factors to BlackBerry's (BBRY) rapid demise. The company announced Monday that it plans to go private in a $4.7 billion deal that essentially places no value on BlackBerry's core handset business.
BlackBerry's new hardware has gotten some good reviews, but software is another story. Many of the most popular apps on the iPhone and Android are nowhere to be found. There's no Instagram, Netflix (NFLX), Candy Crush or Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) Maps. Many of the big-brand apps that do exist for BlackBerry, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, are infrequently updated and have received dismal reviews from users.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry news site BerryReview revealed last month that a single developer is responsible for 48,000, or 40%, of BlackBerry's apps. Some of those apps developed by Hong Kong outfit S4BB many seem legit and functional. But many of them are either generic clones of other apps or possess minimal usefulness.
For example, one app made by S4BB is a "camera scanner" that converts photos to PDF files. Another turns off the sounds in your camera app. There are also hundreds of world factbooks, subway maps and city guides.
So it's not just that most of BlackBerry's apps are bad -- the majority of million-or-so apps in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store are also terrible. What makes BlackBerry's app situation so devastating is that the company exercises no control over its own app store.
BlackBerry is also rapidly losing subscribers, so big app makers don't want to devote resources to a vanishing platform. But BlackBerry also gives free rein to small developers to fill its app store with spam apps.
Although the open-ended strategy may be mildly beneficial to BlackBerry and a few ambitious developers in the short term, encouraging such a large ratio of garbage apps to quality apps poses consequences in the long run: Smaller developers don't want to invest in BlackBerry, because it it's hard for consumers to stumble upon their apps in a diluted pool.
It's no coincidence that the major mobile platforms don't let that kind of activity fly inside their app stores.
Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), whose stringent app approval process often errs on the conservative side, has all but made it impossible for app spammers to exist on a ridiculous scale.
Even Google, a company that preaches openness for its Android mobile platform, imposes limits on app spam. While it does not prevent anyone from downloading and installing apps outside its app store, Google frowns upon apps delivering repetitive content in its Play Store. Google requires developers to individually submit each app for approval, which works as a deterrent towards app spam.
BlackBerry thought it could attract users by giving Android developers the ability to quickly port their existing apps to the BlackBerry 10 platform. But many of those apps were still garbage ones, and the ones that were decent still provided an inferior experience.
BlackBerry can produce all of the nicest phones in the world if it wants, but the low standards it has for the apps in its app store, and the seemingly minimal effort it has put into trying to improve it, ultimately contributed to the once-venerable company's demise.
- CrackBerry Newbie
09-25-13, 08:35 AM #7
- 2 Posts
Best article i've read in a while! It seems so obvious that we need more quality apps. I really hope they make this a priority. They have amazing hardware. I see people wanting to buy it, but the apps are a joke. Didn't Peter Parker's uncle once say- "With great applications come great respect?!" or something like that. Lol
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- 09-25-13, 08:41 AM #8
I will get blasted by the "tools not toys" peeps but the lack of apps is the very reason I'm getting an HTC One in a few days. Am I getting rid of my Z10? Heck no! When I need a communion device there's no better, but sometimes I wanna do other things.
And yes I have side loaded but they aren't the same at all!
- 09-25-13, 08:49 AM #9
And yet no one seems to want to take the App Developers team to task. Why is no one calling for Alec Saunders to resign? In my opinion he can sing as many bad songs as he likes, but the buck has to stop somewhere around his head for the crap app situation too.
- 09-25-13, 08:55 AM #13
There's a lot of garbage apps I agree, but to say there aren't any good apps at all is malarkey. Many bad reviews come from user error, heck the fb app on IOS has 3 and half stars. The store has plenty of good apps to keep people entertained and somewhat productive. Banking apps are missing which is crucial for many people, instagram etc...but to mention candy crush among them? Are you serious?
BBM channels: c00121c99 for some knowledge and c00123fca for some real hip hop
- 09-25-13, 08:58 AM #15
- 09-25-13, 08:58 AM #16
It's why I left. I would be a proud owner of a Z10 right now if I could've watched Netflix or played the games my friends are playing natively. And I know a lot of these apps you can sideload, but why should I use an app with a diminished experience when it will run as it is supposed to on another device?
- CrackBerry Genius
09-25-13, 09:00 AM #19
- 4,272 Posts
I still think it is not too late for BlackBerry to fix this by striving for quality over quantity in their store. Good developers want a place to be found. Give it to them by moving all the ebooks and 5 minute ports to an "other" section or off the store completely.
It would be a bold move, but while they are making other changes, why not try it?
- 09-25-13, 09:08 AM #21
So this part then: "Google frowns upon apps delivering repetitive content in its Play Store. Google requires developers to individually submit each app for approval, which works as a deterrent towards app spam."
What about the many many copies of fake BBM for Android apps that showed up in the Play Store this passed weekend? Someone at Google was individually approving those?
Looked pretty spammy to me.
- CrackBerry Addict
09-25-13, 09:09 AM #22
- 841 Posts
So if they are porting garbage android apps to BlackBerry then there must be garbage android apps as well. What about the fact that 2/3 of ios apps are never downloaded?
My biggest problem is I have too many apps I don't use. I test them and forget about them because I've found better ones.
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- 09-25-13, 09:09 AM #23
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