BlackBerry's developers want BlackBerry 10 OS to surpass the number of apps launched on any first-generation smartphone OS.
The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha welcome screen.
(Credit: Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia)
RIM may be months away from its first BlackBerry 10 OS offering, but the ailing BlackBerry maker wants you to know that it's committed to a thriving app market at launch.
In fact, Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development, told CNET that RIM intends to launch its OS with more apps than any other first-generation operating system.
The pressure on Saunders and his team to perform explains why RIM has been hitting app creators hard since May, hosting BlackBerry Jam developer sessions around the world, including two in the San Francisco Bay Area.
RIM's app goal sounds lofty, but BlackBerry 10 OS has little competition. As Saunders said himself, iOS and Android barely had app stores when they started, which leaves Microsoft's Windows Phone OS as the main record contender.
At Microsoft's Nokia Lumia 920 launch event on Wednesday, the company stated that its Marketplace storefront opened with 7000 apps.
RIM's rivalry with Microsoft isn't surprising. As Microsoft struggled with getting its rebooted OS off the ground, it boasted about its app store count (now up to about 100,000 titles) in ways that jabbed at RIM's app store count.
In addition to that, Microsoft is pushing hard to become a strong third alternative to Android and iOS. It's no wonder that RIM sees Microsoft as a tangible target.
Hard times getting harder
Despite the confident posturing, and claims that BlackBerry OS 10 will be a "game changer", RIM's bind is impossible to overlook, and is getting tighter with each passing week.
The Canadian company is haemorrhaging money and people, and is so far behind schedule that even loyal fans in key markets like the US and Canada could very well overlook the next BlackBerry in favour of a long list of existing premium phones.
Apps are important, but from where we sit, RIM has bigger things to worry about than surpassing Microsoft's app count from way back in 2010 — like releasing a premium product that's good enough to distract customers from the forthcoming Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Apple iPhone 5.