Feeds

A single company is responsible for 1 out of 4 BlackBerry apps

Hong Kong imports line virtual shelves at BlackBerry World

3 Big data security analytics techniques

It's no secret that sales of the latest BlackBerry handsets haven't been as strong as the Canadian mobile maker had hoped. But if the real strength of an OS platform is in its developer ecosystem, BlackBerry could be on even shakier ground than previously thought.

At the BlackBerry Live event in Orlando, Florida in May, CEO Thorsten Heins announced that BlackBerry World app store was home to 120,000 apps. And searching for the word "app" in the store now yields nearly 160,000 results.

Not too shabby, eh? But look closer and you'll see the problem. As first spotted by BerryReview, a single developer appears to be responsible for more than 48,000 of those apps. That's right – one company has submitted more than a quarter of all of the BlackBerry 10 apps currently available.

That developer is S4BB Limited, a self-described "young, leading edge Hong Kong based company specialized in the development of mobile applications."

According to the company's site, S4BB develops "applications for the mobile market like ebook readers, ebook readers bundled with ebooks, games, productivity applications, administration tools, wallpapers, videos optimized for mobile devices, mobile VoIP solutions, desktop applications for preparing data for your mobile device, multimedia mobile applications, applications combining famous web services with mobile platforms and even more interesting mobile products."

In other words, S4BB makes apps that do just about anything – and just about nothing. Among its thousands of BlackBerry offerings are apps to view your BlackBerry PIN, apps to view system logs, apps to use your camera LED as a flashlight, OutOfBattery (when you might want to fake an out-of-battery display, for some reason), Mega Bicycle Ring (to have your phone make a sound like a bicycle bell), and Mega Fart (guess what).

That last one is a bit surprising, considering BlackBerry's well-publicized disdain for fart apps. Apparently it's only the low quality ones that BlackBerry World can do without, while "market leading" developers like S4BB get a pass.

"We aren't focusing on, say, hitting the 50,000 app mark," former BlackBerry platform product management VP Alan Panezic said in 2010. "For us, apps are all about adding real value to the end-user's life and creating revenue for developers."

BlackBerry seems to have rethought its strategy since then, however. In March – when the BlackBerry World store only hosted 100,000 apps – BlackBerry VP Martyn Mallick revealed to AllThingsD that one in five BlackBerry 10 apps is really an Android app running on BlackBerry's emulation engine, rather than a platform-native app.

Add those 20,000 (or more?) apps to S4BB's 48,000, and we're left with fewer than 100,000 original apps in the BlackBerry World store – and there's no telling how many of those might have similarly been submitted by "carpet bombers" like S4BB.

Neither S4BB nor BlackBerry immediately responded to El Reg's request for comment. But with the selection of high-quality apps in BlackBerry World so small, it's little wonder that customers still seem leery of the platform. And with BlackBerry reportedly nearing its endgame, there's little incentive for developers to get on board now, despite all the company's valiant efforts to attract them. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.