January 14, 2013

RIM Just Picked Up 15,000 Blackberry 10 Apps

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Research In Motion´s delayed Hail Mary pitch for market relevance seems to be picking up steam in the months before its launch. BlackBerry 10, or BB10, is RIM´s upcoming operating system meant to breathe life into the dying brand. During last week´s CES in Las Vegas, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said his company would carry they new BlackBerry's, joining the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Carrier support does not a successful platform make, however, and this weekend, RIM made an announcement that shows some promise for the new BB10.

According to Alec Saunders, RIM´s head of developer relations, the company´s push to bring in apps for the new OS has been a wild success, porting more than 15,000 apps in only two days.

This news is the result of two virtual events that took place this weekend to coax developers into bringing their apps to the new OS. One event was aimed towards RIM developers, the other at Android developers.

For 36 hours, RIM engineers were “on hand” to help developers port their apps to BlackBerry. The Canadian smartphone maker also put plenty of cash down on the table to entice these developers, offering them $100 for each eligible app to be approved. These developers could submit up to 20 different apps, giving them the potential to earn up to $2000. RIM also offered up other incentives, such as chances to be one of the first to own a Dev Alpha BlackBerry 10 device to test their apps with, as well as tickets to the BlackBerry developer conference in Europe.

All told, RIM is expected to have invested some $1.5 million in developer relations and driving developer interest in BB10.

15,000 apps pales in comparison to Apple´s 775,000 strong App Store, yet RIM is in no position to be choosey. RIM has also launched another incentive program called the “10k commitment.”

The Canadian company has promised to give at least $10,000 to each app developer who has their app submitted by January 21 that makes $1,000 on its own.

While RIM is pumping in a healthy stream of cash towards BlackBerry developers, they´ve also decided to support Android apps on BB10. As a part of the Android-based Port-A-Thon, RIM offered $100 apiece for each eligible app submitted during this weekend´s festivities. Similar to the BB10 Port-A-Thon, Android developers were also entered into drawings to win Dev Alpha devices.

RIM isn´t yet done with their push to bring in developers to their new platform. They´ll be running another Port-A-Thon beginning on January 18, allowing those remaining developers to log on and port their apps to the new platform.

Though BB10 seems to be picking up some steam in the weeks before its launch, one question remains: Will it be good enough to keep RIM afloat in the new smartphone wars?

Many have claimed before that the war is powered by a strong app ecosystem. If this is the case, Apple has clearly been in the lead, with Android making a strong pass for second place.

RIM´s new 15,000 apps could be a promising number, though 15,000 compelling apps could give the company an even stronger start on the competition.

The first BB10 devices are expected to launch in either March or June.