RIM just issued a bounty for BlackBerry 10 applications. During the keynote of its BlackBerry Jam developer event Tuesday, RIM's developer guru Alec Saunders promised attendees that their BlackBerry 10 applications will earn $10,000 in the first year they are available in App World. If the app doesn't earn $10,000, RIM will cut the developer a check for the unearned balance.
Of course, there's a little bit of a catch.
First, the application has to be a "certified BlackBerry 10" app. How does an app become BlackBerry 10 certified? No one knows yet. RIM didn't say, noting that the full set of criteria will be released later this year.
Not only do BlackBerry 10 apps have to be certified, but also, they have to earn at least a minimum of $1,000 on their own in order to quality for the $10,000 prize. In other words, free apps and crappy apps that aren't worth paying for aren't necessarily in the running for the $10,000 prize.
[ What did RIM reveal at BlackBerry World 2012 about its next platform? See BlackBerry 10: RIM Doesn't Show Key Pieces. ]
Any app that earns at least $1000 but less than $9999 will win that developer a check from RIM. (We can only hope that RIM doesn't have to start cutting huge checks starting in late 2013.)
The move is meant to entice developers to create apps for RIM's unreleased smartphone platform. Without apps, no smartphone platform will succeed. Though webOS had plenty of problems that contributed to its demise, the lack of apps was perhaps the biggest. The webOS App Catalog, for example, never won the kind of developer support needed for the platform to succeed.
RIM will need hundreds--if not thousands--of apps to be available as soon as BlackBerry 10 devices launch, or it will face some serious criticism from the mobile community. RIM is clearly begging developers to give BlackBerry 10 a chance.
The pitch to developers in interesting, though, because according to Saunders there are 99,500 apps in BlackBerry App World. One quarter of them were written specifically for the PlayBook. Everything that RIM has said about PlayBook OS 2.0 indicates that apps written for PlayBook OS will run on BlackBerry 10 when it launches. So, isn't RIM starting with a base of 25,000 BlackBerry 10 apps? (The other 75,000 BlackBerry 5.x, 6.x, and 7.x apps won't work on BlackBerry 10 devices.) This bounty hints otherwise.
The move also follows a bit in Microsoft's footsteps. Microsoft worked hard to court developers in the lead up to the launch of Windows Phone 7. When the Marketplace for Mobile launched, there were plenty of marquee apps from known app developers to help support the platform.
RIM needs the same support. Will this $10,000 bounty coax the right people to develop for BlackBerry 10?
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