BlackBerry 10 eclipses 100K apps, up 30% since launch


BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) said there are now more than 100,000 applications available for devices running its new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, an increase of 30,000 since the platform launched seven weeks ago.

Beginning today, marquee apps like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle, OpenTable and The Wall Street Journal are available for download from the BlackBerry World storefront. Forthcoming BlackBerry 10 apps include CNN, The Daily Show Headlines, eBay, eMusic, Maxim, MLB at Bat, MTV News, Pageonce, PGA, Rdio, Skype, Soundhound and Viber, the device maker said.

BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) will expand BlackBerry 10 to the U.S. market this week with the release of its Z10 smartphone. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is scheduled to launch the device on March 22; Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will begin selling the Z10 next week, and T-Mobile USA is accepting pre-orders.

BlackBerry unveiled BB10 in late January, promising 70,000 third-party apps as well as premium video and music downloads. Even at 100,000 apps, the platform remains far behind the pace set by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play for Android, which offer more than 700,000 apps each. Moreover, many third-party BB10 apps are simply ports of existing Android applications: The BB10 SDK's BlackBerry Runtime for Android enables developers to repackage apps originally written for the Google OS.

BlackBerry also must convince high-profile brands like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)-owned Instagram and Netflix to embrace its revamped OS. "We are working constantly on getting these important apps on board," BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said earlier this week. "I think we are seeing the dynamic changing over time as they want to watch and see how BlackBerry 10 is making it in the market. They want ROI on their development dollars as well. I think this is a very respectful way of looking at your business, and it is our job to convince them that BB10 is a successful platform."

Despite BlackBerry 10's initial growth, many remain skeptical about the platform's competitive prospects. "Although BB10 presents a modernized new platform based on touch technology, market conditions will make it extremely difficult for BlackBerry to rise above [the] iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 platforms. In fact, Gartner predicts that through 2016, BlackBerry will achieve less than 5 percent worldwide smartphone market share," Gartner Analyst Van Baker wrote this week. "The question is whether the new platform is sufficient to motivate the buyer to choose BlackBerry over the platforms they know. It comes down to how effective BlackBerry's marketing will be, and how much money they can spend to excite the user in favor of a BB10 device. That challenge will be daunting."

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