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3/27/2013
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BlackBerry Says 80% Of BB10 Apps Are Native

BlackBerry says BB10 platform is gaining traction with developers and now has 100,000 apps, with only 1 in 5 an Android port.

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
BlackBerry's Martyn Mallick, the smartphone maker's VP for global alliances and business development, says that only one in five BlackBerry 10 apps wasn't natively written for the platform. This is a significant change from what the BlackBerry maker announced when it launched BlackBerry 10 in January.

At the January launch, BlackBerry boasted of having 70,000 apps for BlackBerry 10 in the BlackBerry World app store. BlackBerry's executives said, however, that 40% of those apps -- or about 28,000 of them -- were ported in from Android. Just ahead of the Z10's U.S. debut, BlackBerry announced that BlackBerry World had grown to 100,000 apps, or by 30,000 new apps in just seven weeks. Of those 100,000 apps, BlackBerry now claims that only about 20,000 of them are Android ports. What's happened during the last few months to change this ratio?

Developers are beginning to take notice of BlackBerry 10.

Speaking to AllThingsD, Mallick said the Android porting process was necessary to bulk up BlackBerry World quickly at the start. "We give [developers] a very nice on-ramp to get onto the platform. Our users deserve to have great content. If [porting Android apps] is the fastest way we can get some of that content, that's great."

[ BlackBerry has a lot to overcome to pull off a comeback. Read Gartner Skeptical On BlackBerry Comeback. ]

Now, BlackBerry 10's traction in the market has developers looking anew at the platform. Mallick said that many developers who initially planned to just port their Android app to BlackBerry 10 now have plans to develop native apps for BlackBerry 10. Other developers have altered their Android apps in order to take advantage of BlackBerry 10's unique user interface features. Examples of the latter include Amazon and eBay.

BlackBerry is still working to court developers and coax them into making BB10 apps. There are still notable omissions, such as Netflix and Instagram.

"There are still some partners that are not in a position where their schedules line up with our schedules," said Mallick. "There are some partners where their priorities are elsewhere, not even necessarily in mobile. Overall, we're excited by what we are seeing in the marketplace. We have a high level of confidence we will continue to see more of the application partners come on board."

Momentum in BlackBerry's favor might accelerate now that the Z10 is available to U.S. buyers. The Z10 already can be purchased from AT&T and T-Mobile USA, and it goes on sale at Verizon Wireless stores beginning March 28. AT&T and Verizon are charging $199 for the touchscreen smartphone. T-Mobile, with its new contractless service plans, is asking for a $99 down payment on the Z10.

Developers will no doubt watch the U.S. launch of the Z10 closely to see just how much more traction the platform is able to grab.

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