Consumers and Developers A.A. (After Amazon)


What does the Amazon App store being preloaded on BB10 phones mean for the developers, and for the consumer? This is the hardest to answer, and in all honesty, will involve the most guess work. In the end only time will tell.

“If these apps are available for free without having to sideload, why would they buy it simply on the premise it is native? There will no longer be an ‘app gap’ for native developers to fill”

This was posted today by a developer which will remain nameless. And this is and has been my biggest fear for some time now. Because of the ‘app gap’ it seems that many developers are trying to replicate other big name apps that aren’t in BBW. Now I love that they have done this for us. I appreciate that they have been supporting the platform. They have provided something to BlackBerry users during a time we didn’t have we didn’t have them.

But here’s the dilemma. If some native developers were under the impression that they could merely make apps that duplicated ‘big name apps’, then we have a problem. In order for this to become a reality, they would have to hope that BlackBerry 10 never gained enough popularity to bring the big apps over.

I do my part to get people to transition to BlackBerry 10, but even in my little world, I hear the excuses of, “it doesn’t do what I need”, and generally what they feel they need are apps that I care little to nothing about. But they do, and it’s not in our app store. I will show them apps that we do have, that will do what they want, but I am told that ‘knock off’ apps aren’t good enough.

Let’s look at one of these ‘knock off’ apps. Let’s look at iGrann. We don’t have Instagram in BBW. And this is one of those missing apps that seemed to cause the most heartache early in the run of BB10. And a native developer came to the rescue and created iGrann for us. I remember as the developer was adding features to the app as BB10 users were calling out for them. It was an amazing thing to see. Adrian Sacchi was and is a hero to BB10. And sadly, when talking to friends on other platforms, this is the app that is most often called the ‘knock off’ app, because Instagram is typically the first app I have to answer ‘no, we don’t have that’

Of course, we can load up official Instagram. And it works very well. I loaded it, compared it to iGrann, and deleted Instagram, while keeping iGrann. Because quite simply, iGrann is the better app. But it’s not pulling new consumers in to BlackBerry. And there’s the problem. You give me a BlackBerry user, and I know it would not be difficult to get them to use iGrann over Instagram. But unfortunately, we need Instagram, because that’s what they’re used to using.

For developers filling holes,   first of all, they need to produce a good app, that offers something over what the original app offers. And iGrann has. In my opinion, iGrann has nothing to fear from the Amazon Store.

And let’s look at my favorite app. MockIt! I’m not much of an app guy. Outside of the core apps of BB10, I really don’t use anything regularly, except for MockIt! It’s a great app. Original, works amazingly well. And is truly useful. Again, nothing to fear from Amazon.

In fact, I think they have a lot to gain. Amazon App store, I believe, will bring more users to BlackBerry. Those consumers that won’t buy BlackBerry because it doesn’t have whatever app is popular this week, will now be able to get those apps on BB10. And more users on BlackBerry, are more users that will be downloading these great apps.

Developers making lackluster apps, and expecting success because the app store is small? Well, they will need to step up their game. No pun intended

Current BlackBerry users, as PING said in the comments of my last post, will see no change. Many of us already have the Amazon App Store on our phones, and those that don’t, can get it. Without any sideloading. Future BlackBerry users, shall just have more apps available to them than I did when I got my first BB10 phone.




BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • Omnitech

    The funny thing about people “used to using Instagram”, or various other apps like that: Instagram didn’t even exist until about 3 years ago, and the first version for Android didn’t get released until April 2012.

    Whereas people were clamoring for it to be on BB10 at launch when it had only been released for the most popular mobile platform in the world 9 months beforehand.

    Kind of amazing how attached people become to something and can’t live without it when they’ve only been using it for less than a year.

    And before long and probably just as quickly, Instagram will surely be relegated to the dustbin of history.

    Anyone remember the Pet Rock? :D

    • shanerredflag

      And wall walkers too. locco_smiley_29

  • Interesting read Brad. I understand that you are a developer too! ;)

    I think there’s no doubt that current BB users prefer apps written natively or “Built For BB” or whatever. I know I do. I look for them first. They also invariably seem to get the highest reviews vs non “BuiltForBB” apps. It’s an interesting distinction you’ve made that the Amazon deal will bring new users to BB but will not deflect current users from BuiltForBB apps and I think this is very astute. No doubt Chen realized this when he did this deal, because Chen is the type of guy who knows better than to alienate anyone. He wants all his constituents to win.

    I hope the current storm of a subset of the DEV community goes away soon and everyone breaths a sigh of relief as they realize their fears were unfounded.

    Great article. Cheers.