John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

120,000 Apps in BlackBerry World (Spoiler: 47,000 Made by One Developer)

double_facepalmLooks like BlackBerry has seen some success with its developer outreach efforts, though perhaps not quite the sort it would like.

A cursory review of BlackBerry World, the company’s app store, reveals that upward of 47,000 of the applications it offers for download are being peddled by a single developer, S4BB. There were 120,000 apps available in BlackBerry World on May 14, when BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins touted the number during his BlackBerry Live conference keynote.

That means more than a third of those apps were published by S4BB, a developer for whom quality doesn’t appear to be a priority. As noted by BerryReview — which first reported on this astonishing proliferation of apps — S4BB traffics in some pretty weak stuff, software that often fails to meet even the loosest definition of “app.” Among its offerings: Innumerable lock apps, repurposed city guides, audiobooks, and an array of content apps that seem to be built around RSS feeds from the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Weather Service and the CDC. And then there’s Mega Shaver, Mega Machine Gun and, inevitably, Mega Fart.

Hardly the type of quality stuff upon which BlackBerry was hoping to build its BlackBerry 10 ecosystem when it arranged those big $100-per-approved-app “Portathons,” and guaranteed $10,000 to devs whose early BB10 apps met certain quality levels.

A sad, humiliating revelation for BlackBerry, which is currently mulling its “strategic alternatives” following an unsuccessful turnaround attempt by new CEO Thorsten Heins.

Reached for comment, BlackBerry offered up a half-hearted statement about the flawed nature of open markets. It declined to say if S4BB was a Portathon participant.

“Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics,” said BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery. “Discoverability in overcrowded stores continues to be an issue affecting all developers. This is why we have worked hand in hand with developers on the Built for BlackBerry program to help showcase apps and games that exemplify the power of BlackBerry 10.”

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