January 30th UPDATE: BlackBerry 10 will have Skype after all.
You could argue that four-thousand flashlight apps is really just a bunch of failed attempts at a really good flashlight app.
You could argue that many of the apps created for iOS really wouldn’t be necessary if the Apple devices had Adobe Flash.
You could argue that the truly great and useful apps are often lost in a virtual mountain of junk.
You could argue all these things, but the idea that certain consumers will not buy a BlackBerry because of its lack of apps has stuck. And in the fast moving world of mobile, perception is sometimes as good as reality. This applies even in the sometimes bizarro world of Apple which, as tech guru Tim O’Reilly pointed out recently, has filed patent suits to prevent others from using multitouch, even though they didn’t invent it.
We are nearing the stage where product cycle pendulum looks like it is swinging back, at least in a minor way, towards the BlackBerry. And the news of late has mostly been of the decidedly non-dire kind, that is to say, unlike most any of the reportage over the past three years. Even RIM’s share price has perked up.
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Now, just a couple weeks before the launch of BlackBerry 10, on January 30th in New York, comes information that probably won’t convert the harshest of RIM’s critics, but will satisfy most everyone else.
In an interview with website Fierce Wireless at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, new RIM Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said BlackBerry 10 devices will support approximately 90% of the top 600 iOS and Android apps.
Bouldben said BlackBerry will launch with 70,000 applications. So what apps will BB10 have an what will it be missing? We know there will be Twitter, Facebook and Angry Birds. Plus, many of the apps it doesn’t have might be bested by native applications that replicate another service like Instagram, or simple hack-like apps that allow you to view sites like Pinterest (app for Pinterest) and Netflix (Flix) in the native BlackBerry browser, taking us back into the rhealm of the whole “did this necessarily need to be an app?” debate.
What will be missing? Right now, it looks like the one glaring omission, although we have no official word on this either way, will be Skype. The video conferencing app is available for certain BlackBerry 7 devices with some carriers, but there has been some concern that there has yet to be an announcement about its availability for BlackBerry 10.
This may be a dealbreaker for some consumers, but the reverse could be said for Android and Apple devices that do not have Blackberry’s sole smash hit product, BBM. BBM, by the way, is rumoured to be adding video chat in its new iteration.