40% of Blackberry 10’s apps are repackaged Android APKs


You may have heard the folks at Blackberry touting that its apps store will have about 70,000 for Blackberry 10’s launch, but how, exactly, did it build up such a massive catalog? It wasn’t pure, raw development, I can tell you that much. Many of those applications were developed for the older versions of Blackberry, but a whopping 40% — that’s about 28,000 — came from somewhere else.

Those applications actually came from Android. If you don’t remember from the launch of the Blackberry Playbook, Blackberry — who was formerly known as RIM — provided a tool that allowed developers to easily port and repackage their Android apps to work on BBOS. With the recent announcement of Blackberry 10 you had to imagine the company would look to implement the same sort of compatibility layer for the phone side of things.

Interested developers need only change a few lines of code in order to port their Android apps over to Blackberry. Most of the code deals with implementing the “back” and “menu” functions which are normally handled with hardware or software buttons. Since Blackberry 10 uses swiping gestures to control all of that it is necessary for developers to make those minor tweaks. It’s nearly effortless, though, and the end result is a Blackberry app that actually is an Android app.

Blackberry obviously wants developers coding in the platform’s native tongue, but the company needed to spur development as quickly and efficiently as possible, and offering a tool to port apps from the world’s fastest growing mobile platform is one neat way to do that. It’s a band-aid, essentially, and Blackberry will want developers to rip it off as soon as possible and let the wounds of the app-less platform (when it comes to modern implementations, anyway) heal naturally.

[via PCMag]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. got 5 of my own android apps on that market place. Here is to good luck generating sales.

    1. Hah, good luck Sir!

  2. correct me if I am wrong but I’m sure BlackBerry is by RIM (research in motion) not formerly known as….

    1. You are correct. But they are DBA (doing business as) BlackBerry

      1. I like my downvote. I’m not wrong. They are still RIM, and are awaiting their next shareholder meeting to officially rebrand their entire company as Blackberry.

        1. You were wrong, you thought you spotted a typo, and took the chance to prove how smart you are. how does you foot taste?

          1. Spotted a typo? Wtf are you talking about?

    2. No, they actually formed into one name now… It’s now just called Blackberry

    3. RIM actually changed their company name to Blackberry to “simplify”

    4. Actually they’ve changed their name TO Blackberry. No longer RIM.

  3. How else would they get their “70 000 apps?”
    What developer, in their right mind and in the current state of Blackberry, would actually spend time and money to develop an app from scratch for the Blackberry app store? lol…

    1. ask @jcarty on twitter. I hear he has made a bunch of money off of his twitter and tumbler client on the Playbook.

      1. Well, I guess I can see the other side of the argument… Since there isn’t much apps, developers could jump into the making quality apps for Blackberry that users would die to pay for… but it’ll still be a risk to develop apps for a dying OS

        1. BB10 has only been out 1 day. Not enough time to see if it is dying don’t you think?

          And you are right about developers wanting to get their apps out to the right market. Blackberry owners are more likely to buy an app then and Android owner.

          I am not saying anything bad about Android owners because I still love my Ice Crème Sandwich phone, and most of my app revenue comes from Google Play. But as a hobby developer wanting to make money off my apps to pay my student loans. I want to sell apps. And having another market to sell apps with just a little more effort on my part to release. Im cool with that.
          Android and iOS has also brought in a culture of freemium apps.

          If it is not free to a user, it aint worth crap. I saw a very nice app that calculated how long it took to pay off a debt for 99 cents. One review just blatantly said should have been free.

          I remember when I was in high school and I found a book in the library for BASIC programs. It was an old tethered book. It too had a program that would calculated a pay off of a debt. That book had a $4.99 retail price on it. And you had to enter the program yourself in your Commodore 64 or TRS-80 or APPLE 2.

          Now when you have a distribution system like today and you don’t even want to spend a dollar on something. Really irks me up. So now when somebody says something should be free. I tell them, “You know if you want an app or game for free, maybe you should make one yourself”.

          Ok. done rambling. Thanks for reading.

          1. Lol, yeah I think I saw a statistic a while ago saying that iOS users are most likely to purchase an app than Android users, but I want to see if that holds up true now.
            I personally buy apps that I know I would love to have, and if I find the value in it. And with the Android OS, it backs up what apps you have straight on your Google account, so it’ll be easier (and cost-effective) when you switch from one Android manufacturer to the other. For that reason, I’m okay with buying apps. I guess it all depends on the user.

          2. That is true. BlackBerry does the same thing too. I don’t develop for iOS so not sure about that.

          3. And there are users like me who want to buy apps, were doing so regularly, then Google suddenly decided to stop accepting all of my debit cards (I live in India), so I’ve turned to AndroidPIT for apps that are on there (and also been asking devs to try and put their app on that store) and sometimes to warez as well. Meanwhile, Apple is nice and is accepting my debit card without problems, also has music, movies, etc available here while Google has only apps. It makes me wonder if that also might be the reason more people buy apps on iOS than Play Store, as Google seems focused mainly on Europe and USA. They need to get their content to other places faster and also support local debit cards etc better if they really want Android devs to make more money.

          4. You know,

            You may be on to something there. I have had numerous attempts of my apps to download but not because Google couldn’t verify the card. Lost so many sales due to that. The only other conclusion is to buy a Google Play Gift Card, but those are only in the US for now :(
            I have been thinking about putting my own apps on amazon. There is another market with all the kindle fires out there.

          5. What Google (and other companies too) need to do is find a way to make purchases local for every country. Most banks here won’t allow international transactions on their debit cards, so it becomes a problem as purchases get declined since a transaction at Play Store counts as an international one.

            I guess that’s not too feasible though, but they have to find some solution to this if they want developers to make more money. It’s all good in the USA and Europe, but other nations are seeing more and more people willing to buy apps and content but unable to do so because of these limitations.

          6. I guess that is a good thing about BlackBerry. You can pay with paypal to get apps. I know that not every country will allow paypal. But a lot do.

      2. there was some sort of incentive,like $500 (im just guessing on $$, my memory is failing me) per app ported…or something along those lines…

        1. You must be referring to the Port-A-Thons that happened recently. There were offers to port your apps for $100 a piece up to 20 apps. I submitted 5 of my own apps at that time.
          There was another offer to developers who made Native apps for BB10 and made more then $1000 in a year but less then $10,000. Blackberry will send you the difference. So if an app made $2000 in a year, Blackberry will send you $8000. That was their $10,000 commitment.
          They want the apps. its up to developers to give them.

          1. So your “buddies” could buy $1000 worth of your trivial native app and BB will send you 9 grand ? Cool… :)

          2. Haha, yeah they thought about that already. There are strict guidelines and have to meet Built for Blackberry guidelines as well.


    2. Current state ? B , has sufficient cash to run for quite a while lackberry is in the black

    3. in the black and swufficient cash , unlike some ( cough Nokia cough ) and they still have 80 million users!

    4. Does it matter really? 80% of the work is done before you start porting. So why not port over and have a greater reach?

      1. It actually does… it affects the quality and functionality of the app for the OS.
        I hate it when developers simply port their iOS apps to Android, without at least optimizing it for Android… It affects how the app performs and the overall UI. For Blackberry, to have Android aspects in their apps affects the overall UI of Blackberry OS. Also, Idk if it’ll be optimized for Z10’s bezel-gestures…

  4. It’s a good thing that apps can be ported easily.

  5. BB10 looks more interesting than Ubuntu phone imo

  6. Why is your tone so hostile in this article?

    1. Hostile?
      What part does sound hostile to you?

    2. How was anything I said considered “hostile?” I’m applauding them for doing this, and pretty much saying that it’s a cool patchwork idea while they look to build the native Blackberry apps catalog.

  7. “Many of those applications were developed for the older versions of Blackberry” That’s wrong. The 70,000 apps are apps that can run on BB10 which apps for the older versions of BlackBerry can’t. 40% are android ported and 60% are native BB10

    1. Not exactly.

      I think that Android apps are the majority of apps on Blackberry World. Other apps includes:

      Native Apps, which I suspect to be in the 20% range of that 60%
      Adobe Air apps, probably also 20%.
      HTML5 Apps, I suspect is about 30-40%
      And the other category is BlackBerry app generator apps. Which are pretty much RSS feeds in a single apps. That will probably be about 20-30%.

      So there are a lot of options for developers.

  8. I don’t see the big deal about 40% of the apps coming from Android. What percentage of rehashed iOS apps do we have on Android? I have a few on my iPad that I would love on my Optimus G. Besides, why reinvent the wheel? Its not about where the apps come from, its about having quality core apps and a few exclusive killer apps and features. Case in point, the PS3.

  9. [speculation alert] Can BB build up an ecosystem transparent for Android, and then sell their business to Google, or one of Android OEMs?

  10. And the reviews say that the BB10 Android player runs like garbage. Blackberry is paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to fill their app store with crap.

    1. I read a lot of those reviews and I can tell you most of them are biased. I personally own and S III and a Blackberry Playbook, some and only some the android apps that don’t run well are those that are available out of AppWorld (not approved by blackberry side loads), but the apps that are approved run seamless, an example is one of my favorites, News Republic I have on both devices, but i prefer to read it on the Playbook it runs just a good as it does on the native Adroid OS, but is a more comfortable read.

  11. As long as the apps run smooth in doubt users care. BlackBerry made the right move, with the BB10 system. Many companies still only support BES forcing employees to a Berry. Now with that dual work/private option and android apps there will be no need for all those people to buy a second phone. I think the big loose her won’t be Google but Apple. Google is still happy that BB uses their apps since they still use mainly Google services. Also most Business BB users I Know own an iPhone in their leisure time.

  12. Yeah – got my Andrpid Freebies on there as well. They even did the work of porting it to BB10 for me!

  13. 19 of those are mine! Don’t expect nearly the revenue that Android offers, but very much worth the minimal effort required.

  14. What does this say about apps going the other way? I’d love to have BB10’s camera app on Android.

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