BlackBerry announced earlier today that its BlackBerry World content portal has officially crossed the 100,000 app marker, and has chosen to celebrate by talking up availability of some select, high-profile apps. New Amazon Kindle, OpenTable and Wall Street Journal apps have already gone live in the market, and BlackBerry has said that eBay, Skype, Soundhound, and Viber (just to name a few) are being prepped for launches in the “coming weeks.”
If you’ll recall, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins already said in an interview with Australia’s Financial Review that he expected the company to hit that particular app milestone ahead of its U.S. Z10 launch. That makes today’s announcement not a surprise in the slightest, but it still speaks to the considerable developer traction that BlackBerry has managed to cultivate over the past few months — after all, the platform launched with some 70,000 apps this past January, so racking up another 30,000 submissions in two months is nothing to sneeze at.
While it’s totally understandable that BlackBerry would make a fuss about 100,000 apps in its app store, a number like that only ever tells part of the story. Some have a tendency to look at the size of an app store as some sort of tell-all indicator of ecosystem health, that’s just clearly not the case. Back during the Windows Phone 7 days Microsoft had to deal with this a lot — there were long stretches of time when new, well thought out apps were effectively drowned out by spam and reiterative crap. It eventually got so bad that Microsoft had to cut down the number of allowable app submissions per day to keep would-be spammers from flooding the New Apps section with lousy apps that didn’t bring much value to the table.
Don’t get me wrong here — I’m not saying that’s what’s happening with BlackBerry 10 right now, but a quick look at the time-sorted list of apps launched in BlackBerry World indeed reveals quite a few stinkers. Sure, they arguably serve a purpose, but those aren’t the apps that are going to help move units and make people want to use BlackBerrys again. Hopefully, now that BlackBerry 10 has crossed a major milestone so early in its life, BlackBerry can deflect some criticism from bearish investors and pundits and work with developers to create the unique, polished native apps that devotees are really yearning for.