BlackBerry winds down BB10 pay-to-port rewards, payouts top $4M

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BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) is bringing to a close a series of Port-A-Thon events designed to foster developer interest in its BlackBerry 10 operating system, halting payment rewards for developers who port their mobile applications to the platform.

BlackBerry kicked off the Port-A-Thons in January, offering developers $100 for every app and game successfully ported to BlackBerry 10 from rival operating systems like Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. The first virtual event generated 15,000 ports over a single weekend, and another yielded 19,000 more. In all, the BlackBerry World app store added more than 40,000 BB10 ports through the program, with developer payouts eclipsing $4 million.

BlackBerry said it will not initiate any new Port-A-Thon payments after June 30, but it will continue to mount developer programs. "We have an incredible year planned out for the developer community that we're anxious to share with you," said Lou Gazzola, BlackBerry's Senior Marketing Manager, Developer Relations. "For instance, we're really excited about our first virtual event surrounding gaming.  Rather than focus on apps, we're concentrating this event on making your games more successful."

BlackBerry also will continue its efforts to attract Android developers: Earlier this month, the manufacturer issued the beta release of its BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and Plug-in for Android Development Tools for BlackBerry 10.2, introducing support for applications running Android version 4.2.2, a.k.a. Jelly Bean. The BlackBerry Runtime for Android emulation engine enables developers to repackage apps originally written for the Google OS in the span of about five minutes: Roughly 20 percent of all apps available for download from the BlackBerry World storefront are Android ports.

BlackBerry has nevertheless urged developers to build native applications optimized for BlackBerry 10, warning that consumers aggressively dislike BB10 apps and games ported over from Android. While most of the ports work on BlackBerry 10 smartphones, they can't access all core device features, and BlackBerry Development Head Alec Saunders recently told CNet that consumers are keenly aware of the difference. "From a commercial perspective, users hate them," Saunders said. "Our partners who have ported apps get dinged for them."

BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) unveiled BlackBerry 10 in late January. BlackBerry 10.1, the operating system's first point-release update, followed last month. The company has not yet announced when it expects to roll out BlackBerry 10.2 to consumers.

For more:
- read this Inside BlackBerry Developer Blog post
- read this ZDNet article

Related articles:
BlackBerry 10.2 bringing support for Android Jelly Bean apps
BlackBerry dev chief Saunders: 'Users hate' BB10 apps ported from Android
BlackBerry: 20 percent of BB10 apps are Android ports
BlackBerry 10 update boosts third-party app performance, video playback
RIM: Developers submit 15,000 BlackBerry 10 apps in less than two days

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