Lauren Goode

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BlackBerry 10 Boasts Some Key Apps, but Many Big Names Missing

The big day for BlackBerry has finally arrived. The world now knows what the company’s newest entrant in the smartphone race looks like.

BlackBerry 10 Apps

But what about apps?

For starters, a few key apps were already known, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Several more were announced or shown onstage during the event: Skype, Amazon Kindle, WhatsApp, Angry Birds, Where’s My Water?, Where’s My Perry?, Box, MLB.com, Rdio, Songza, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, to name a few.

RIM — pardon me, BlackBerry — also showed how video chatting and screen sharing are now integrated into the popular BlackBerry Messenger application, as well as built-in photo-editing and music-video-making apps.

But right now it’s still unclear when apps like Instagram, Spotify and Pandora, or streaming video apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, will make their way onto BlackBerry 10. And notably absent was Google Maps.

Update: A spokesman for BlackBerry says the company is “in talks” with Instagram and Netflix, but could not confirm when those apps will make their way into the store. Also, there is not a dedicated YouTube app, as we suspected, but he was quick to point out that YouTube can be watched on a mobile browser.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has been quoted as saying that the company’s app store, still called BlackBerry World, would have more than 70,000 apps at the time of this launch. BlackBerry’s Martyn Mallick reaffirmed during today’s event that this is the case.

Just a couple weeks ago, RIM hosted a “Portathon,” enticing developers to create submissions for 15,000 new apps in a single weekend, as AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski reported.

To hear BlackBerry talk about it, developers are excited to take advantage of some of the new features that BlackBerry 10 offers, like “BlackBerry Flow,” or real-time multitasking between apps.

But keep in mind the competition. Apple currently has 800,000 apps in its App Store, with 300,000 optimized for iPad. The total number of apps in Google’s app store, Google Play, isn’t totally clear, but, by some estimates, Google is nipping at Apple’s heels.

Let’s not even get into apps for the Microsoft Windows Phone operating system. Okay, to be fair, let’s talk about it: Microsoft said in a recent blog post that it had “more than doubled” its Windows Phone app library with the addition of 75,000 new apps in 2012. Which means even Windows Phone boasts more apps than BlackBerry 10.

Of course, some will argue that it really doesn’t matter how many apps are available — it’s whether the important ones are there. Many smartphone owners download a bunch of apps, only to have them sit there taking up space on their phones.

Are BlackBerry’s apps enough to sway current iPhone and Android users?

The BlackBerry 10 event is still taking place. Click here for our live coverage.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus