The recently unveiled BlackBerry 10 OS will launch with anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 apps to kick things off. Impressive right? Well what’s even more impressive is that according to BlackBerry CMO Frank Boulben approximately 40 percent of those apps will be Android. That’s at least 28,000 Android apps running on BlackBerry 10. It makes you wonder just how did so many Android apps make it on a new platform that clearly has a different gesture-based interface?
Developers can’t just simply load an Android APK into a BlackBerry phone and be done with it. The developer has to utilize the BlackBerry 10 SDK to “wrap” their Android code in a BlackBerry-friendly format. Essentially, the BB 10 SDK transforms Android idioms to fit into the BlackBerry’s universe. The biggest example being how it translates the Android “menu” button into an up-swipe gesture, and the android “back” button to a back-swipe gesture.
With that said BlackBerry doesn’t just want their new OS to be stuffed with quickly “wrapped” Android apps that will end up running smooth but looking weird with misplaced UI elements. The solution? BlackBerry is really putting their focus on native apps and telling developers to do the same. The company is also focusing on the top 100-200 apps used in each country that BlackBerry has a presence in. BlackBerry is even going as far to send teams into different countries to identify these popular apps and personally ask the developers to write for their platform. How’s that for courtship.
At the time of the BlackBerry 10 OS launch we did see well known games like Jetpack Joyride and Angry Birds. News junkies will have well known apps like The New York Times and The Economist. However, what we didn’t see a lot of was video streaming apps like Netflix and HBO. Oh, and sorry photophiles, no Instagram as of yet.
The good news is that with BB 10 devices are still 2 months away from hitting retail shelves meaning there is still time for developers to get their apps in. BlackBerry is promising that “many more apps will appear in BlackBerry World by then”.