Paul Thurrott has posted on his blog that Microsoft may just announce android app compatibility with Windows 10. Thurrott has put a lot of thought in to what this means for Windows. And his conclusions are all too familiar.
For users, the ability to run Android apps seems like a win. After all, the single biggest knock against Windows/Windows Phone is the lack of native apps.
How many times have we heard this? How many times have we said this same thing? The greatest knock against Windows Phone, is the same knock against my brand of choice, BlackBerry. A lack of big name native apps. And this lack of big name native apps, came very close to breaking BlackBerry. But BlackBerry gave us the android runtime. First allowing Android app developers to port their apps to BBW, and also giving users the ability, with a little effort, to sideload Android apps on to our phones.
But not many Android app developers ported their apps. And media and naysayers says that sideloading was too difficult. That the ‘average user’ would never do this. And BlackBerry made it easier for us. We are now able to install android apps directly. We have the Amazon App Store pre-installed on our phones. And we have the ability to load other third party app stores on our phones. And we can even pull apps directly from the Google Play Store thanks to the developers behind Snap. And now, the app gap is all but closed except for a couple of holdouts that due to either political or financial reasons, have chose to block BlackBerry phones. I’m talking about you Netflix and Instagram.
When it comes time to upgrade, why would anyone choose a Windows Phone at that point?… Instead, most will simply choose Android
This is a fear I read all over websites. In fact, I still hear it. A very typical response is ‘why would I buy a BlackBerry and use Android apps? I’ll just buy an Android phone if I want Android apps’. Well, those that tend to say that, are Android phone users. To which I have a very sensible reply:
I don’t want an android device. Apps? Sure, I’ll take them.
And that’s just it, being able to run Android apps on my BlackBerry does not mean I want an android phone. I want a BlackBerry. And when it comes to functions of the phone, baked in apps, security, build quality, and the ability to use my phone efficiently, I want a BlackBerry. And running Android apps does not mean I lose any of those things I choose BlackBerry for.
For developers who have invested a lifetime of learning and mastering Microsoft’s platforms, Android compatibility is a slap in the face.
Wow. Where have I heard this before? Oh yes! James Nieves of Berryflow writing for N4BB with the incredibly titled ‘BlackBerry Shafts Native Developers In Light of Amazon Licensing Deal‘ . This post which I shall call inflammatory at best, drove a bit of a wedge in the community. Some native developers were worried about what this would mean for them, some knew they had quality apps that would survive.
We here at UTB had strong beliefs about this. We knew that big name apps were needed for the continued survival of BlackBerry. We knew that this was a way to fill in the app gap. We also understood the fear some developers had.
In the end, what happened? Quality apps survived. Great developers stayed with the brand and have been successful. We have seen Nemory Studios break two million downloads. We know great apps like Mock It grew from a fun little app, to be the must have app for BB10. And more importantly, we see new developers coming to the platform.
A few months back I wrote about Android as a universal app. This was around the time that we first started hearing rumors of Windows running Android. A lot has happened since then. There were rumors of Microsoft investing in Cyanogen, that didn’t come to fruition. Microsoft is emerging with a new OS version, jumping from the much maligned Windows 8 to a hopefully great Windows 10. I wonder where they got that idea? And most important, BlackBerry has shown that running Android apps IS a great idea, that works. It works to fix a problem which we had.
It may just be time for Google to change their strategy. Google has been tying down their ‘open platform’, pushing for developers to utilize Google Services to their apps, trying to take back control of android. I don’t believe it’s working. We now know, that it’s nearly impossible to make a profit off of Android devices. Google does, and can continue, making a fair amount of income just off their app store alone. And could make even more if they offered that app store to BlackBerry, Windows, and other manufacturers.
Will we see Android Apps become the universal app? I believe we will. App neutrality just may happen. And if it does, when we look back to see how that came to be, we won’t be looking at Google, we’ll be looking at BlackBerry.