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3/21/2013
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BlackBerry App Store Hits 100,000 Choices

BlackBerry World app store reaches a major milestone on the eve of the U.S. launch of the BlackBerry Z10.

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
BlackBerry has yet another large number to crow about. The company announced that its BlackBerry World app store now offers 100,000 unique applications for the BlackBerry 10 platform. The timing is perfect, as the Z10, the first BlackBerry 10 device, launches in the U.S. on Friday.

Applications are a critical part of any smartphone ecosystem. When BlackBerry 10 launched in Canada and the U.K. in early February, 70,000 apps were available in the store. BlackBerry has added 30,000 new apps to the store during the last seven weeks.

According to BlackBerry, some of the new apps live in the store today include Amazon Kindle, OpenTable and The Wall Street Journal. Further, apps such as CNN, The Daily Show Headlines, eBay, eMusic, Maxim, MLB at Bat, MTV News, Pageonce, PGA, Rdio, Skype, Soundhound and Viber will all reach BlackBerry World in the coming weeks, said the smartphone maker.

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

BlackBerry has been courting developers around the globe in order to build its app catalog. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has been targeting the top apps in each market, rather than just a random blanket of apps. Heins' efforts appear to be paying off.

"The response to the BlackBerry 10 platform and applications has been outstanding. Customers are thrilled with the applications already available, and the catalog just keeps growing, now with more than 100,000 apps," said Martyn Mallick, VP of Global Alliances at BlackBerry. "Top brands and application providers are joining us every day and are seeing the benefits of being early supporters of the new platform. We constantly hear from developers that the BlackBerry 10 tools are easy to build with and that we provide opportunities for app differentiation that they do not see on other platforms."

There's a big caveat to BlackBerry's big claim, however.

Not all the apps in BlackBerry World are native BB10 apps. When the Z10 launched in February, BlackBerry admitted that about 40% of the 70,000 apps were ported in from the Android platform. Further, BlackBerry didn't make clear today if all 30,000 of the new apps added since early February are native BB10 apps, or if some of them are also Android ports.

The difference is important. Apps written expressly for the BB10 platform can take full advantage of BB10's user interface elements and run more efficiently. Apps ported over from the Android platform are wrapped in code that can slow them down. Android apps cannot use all of BB10's user interface elements, either. In other words, the experience isn't as good.

While it is nice for BlackBerry to have a nice round figure to brag about, it would be better for the company to come clean on the current break-down of native BB10 apps to Android ports. Being up front just might improve its chances of success.

Either way, the Z10 goes on sale at AT&T stores beginning Friday, March 22, for $199. It reaches Verizon stores on March 28 for the same price.

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