Will BlackBerry become a major player in the app world, or should companies not waste resources on developing apps for BlackBerry users?
With the launch of BlackBerry Z10, hopes and stakes were high. After almost a month in the stores, those hopes are smaller and the stakes are higher. BlackBerry, once the pinnacle of enterprise mobility and security, just can’t seem to recover from the huge market loss to its competitors Apple and Google. Of course there are the faithful followers who love their brand and who will most likely stick with them. BlackBerry’s most famous fan to date President Barack Obama remains loyal so far due to its security and, well, the tech guys know how to fix them. But even a famous fan like the president doesn’t seem to make much difference when it comes to customer conversion or retention; even the Immigration and Custom Enforcement department and the military have left BlackBerry for Apple and Google. So that begs the question – should app developers ignore BlackBerry?
Should BlackBerry be ignored in the app world?
The simple answer is no. While the market share for BlackBerry is considered small when compared to the titans Google and Apple, Blackberry’s still has 10% of the global market – still a significant number, one that shouldn’t be disregarded by app developers. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than not having an app available from their bank, their insurance, or even games and utility apps because they chose to stick with what they like, a BlackBerry.
Granted, at the release, there were about 100,000 apps available to BlackBerry users. Sounds significant, but isn’t. Those 100,000 applications are in direct competition with a combined total of over 1.4 million apps held by the competitors. While Facebook is already part of BlackBerry’s operating system, Instagram, an entertaining and greatly enjoyed photo app that lets you post to Facebook, won’t be available any time soon for BlackBerry users, if at all. Skype and Rdio are only expected to become available at this point, and the device has been launched for a few weeks now outside the US.
Some good apps that show faith in BlackBerry and believe it’s worth the effort:
- Nobex – A free internet streaming radio.
- Kindle – Yes, it’s great, but it’s Android ported.
- Box – Access to cloud storage lockers.
- WordPress – Blogging from the phone (great for live blogging).
- Foursquare – Social check in for friends.
- LinkedIn – Business-oriented social network.
- Connect to Dropbox – Native to BlackBerry, helps the wait for the official Dropbox app.
- Slacker – Another radio station.
What can’t be ignored is the amount of Android based apps that are ported over to BlackBerry. Obviously those apps won’t work flawlessly on BlackBerry devices since they aren’t designed for or with them in mind. They are, however, an opportunity for companies to have stepping stones, to try out new applications before fully committing to them, or act as placeholders while companies work on either a native or all-around application that will run on all platforms.
Having a native application is always ideal, but often having a native app customized to all devices just isn’t in the budget, especially for smaller or mid-sized companies. While Mark Zuckerberg may not be the biggest fan of HTML5 and CSS3 and looks at it like that middle child too, it is a viable and cost friendly solution in regards to app development for all mobile users. Having an experienced company develop tailored mobile solutions that fit your needs is the most cost efficient and customer friendly option. Nothing is worse than sending out an app to your customers that doesn’t work properly, doesn’t work for their device or is not secure (banking, health, finance apps). Remember we live in a mobile world, where the customer has an instant voice online. Providing your customers with fluid, multi-platform options that look stunning and are optimized for real world scenarios can only benefit you and your company in the long run.
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