Within the smartphone market, it’s not all about specifications or pricing. If it were, there’s no doubt in my mind that Windows Phone 8 would be doing even better than it is. We live in a world of applications, and those applications have become such an integral part of our lives that many people refuse to try a new mobile platform simply because it doesn’t have the apps they need. There are a lot of developers out there, but not nearly enough to get everything supported, at least not to the extent that all consumers want or need. That’s why it’s big news that Research In Motion was able to rake in 15,000 new applications for BlackBerry 10 at their recent BlackBerry Port-A-Thon event.

It’s more than obvious that RIM is putting a huge focus on their newest mobile operating system, but it should be obvious to anyone out there that it is absolutely necessary for them to do that. It’s one thing to make high-end, desirable hardware. And it’s another thing to create a mobile platform that captures the attention of the busy market. RIM’s focus has to include applications, and a lot of them if they want to truly compete against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

But the argument for “a lot” of applications simply can’t be based on numbers. Yes, it’s great that Research In Motion was able to pull in 15,000 applications in just over 37 hours, but 15,000 applications doesn’t count for much if they’re not what people want. Having an application library with a huge number is great to show off on paper, but that’s about it.

Windows Phone 7 was faced with the same obstacles right out of the gate. In fact, it’s something that Microsoft is apparently still suffering from. When I reach out on Twitter to ask about Windows Phone and applications, the return I get from folks is generally the same: “Not until the app selection gets better.” That’s a bit of a loaded statement, though, because Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store is certainly “getting better” in terms of app selection. Microsoft pointed out at the end of December that:

“Over the last year we’ve certified and published over 75,000 new apps and games (more than doubling the catalog size) and over 300,000 app updates.”

This is something that Research In Motion really needs to pay attention to. Those numbers for Windows Phone are impressive, especially the climb that they’ve made in just a year’s time. But the fact that many within the population still believe Windows Phone has an “app problem,” is a big deal. More so because it’s obviously holding Microsoft’s mobile platform back from truly being a success that it obviously could be.

And RIM doesn’t have the time or money like Microsoft does. The Waterloo-based company has to make a monumental big push right out of the gate. While they are on stage at the BlackBerry 10 launch event, they should have a screen displaying how many apps the BlackBerry App World will launch with, but don’t make that the focus. Have it there for people to see, that big impressive number, but talk about the big name applications in detail.

Tell the crowd, the world, what they can expect to get their fingers on if they pick up a BlackBerry 10 device. You may not have an expansive ecosystem like Apple or Google (yet, but we can dream, right?), but that doesn’t mean you can’t launch your platform with the apps that people really, really want. And that includes games, too, RIM. Don’t forget gaming, because that’s obviously a huge push for the mobile industry.

So what if RIM just doesn’t have the big-name apps ready to go at launch? Or at all? Then RIM should find application developers that have made competent replacements, and show them off. If you can’t get the original app, but you know that there’s another one just like it that does the same thing and does it well, then show it off. Don’t bury it, because all people will see is that the original app doesn’t exist on your platform. So guide the conversation about your platform and your apps. Direct it to where you need it to be, and showcase what you need to showcase.

Finally, one last thing. We shouldn’t let the number be the most important part, but there is something that 15,000 applications does tell us that is pretty exciting: Developers are at least interested in RIM’s new mobile OS. Back in February of 2012, the BlackBerry World’s application count was over 60,000. BlackBerry 10 has to be able to climb over that number, and do so with a majority of applications that grab the attention of the consumer.

The new BlackBerry 10-based handsets look impressive, and the software even has me pretty excited for what the company has coming down the pipeline. Research In Motion certainly has a big hill to climb, but it isn’t an impossible endeavor. It should be a fun, exhilarating and difficult one, yes, but not impossible.

What do you think of Research In Motion’s chances in the app race? Do you think they can grab some of the more important applications to the general consumer, enough to get a wave of new users back under their flag? Or are the big-name developers going to wait to publish their apps for the new platform, based on adoption from the people? Let me know what you think.

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31 Reactions to this post

"Are apps enough to make you switch to BlackBerry 10 once it's available?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Anthony Andrade I like my Blackberry Playbook and Flash Player is something I need to have. I am looking forward to the update to Blackberry 10.
Jude Fils-Aime that's right U HEARD THAT crAPPLE?
Arturo Atherly The real question is.......is the network new and improved...any body can pitch plastic......look at apple !!!!! #windowssucsd#$&
Dwayne Cubbins Syndos X Keep Hoping Dude wp is better than bb10
Orion Pax I hope BB10 kills WP.
Carmen Jessica Not for me...loving my Note II
Arturo Cifuentes No not at all
Juwon Donte Nope bb died years ago i don't see them making a come back
Richard Dominguez Quite possibly! But also depends on browser, messaging and custumization!
Julian Scott Yea but if you are trying to OBD competitors you gotta have what they have plus more the article saying you're going to compete with his other operating systems and you gotta have what they have plus more and better if you are able to get the exact same weather up as I owe us offers doesn't have 1 that's exactly the same just a different name but have a be just as good as the competitors that's what people want
F. Jay Ver For me the hardware comes first. The screen quality, cameras, keyboard, processor, and connectivity are the most important. As long as the OS is smooth and usable with most of the basic functions such as texting and browser are good. I can manage. Apps are just the icing. As long as they have social apps like facebook, some music services, maybe mapping, and weather then the phone will be usable. Gaming is nice but not necessary.
Julian Scott Wow that's really good article.. really good points made that was a good read
Marcus Monet I would get a Blackberry device even if they didn't have any apps. I don't care about dumb apps. Its all about the OS and RIM makes an addictive OS. Can't say the same about iOS and Android.
Vlad Valentine McBride Blackberry has always been about quality, but yes the can use some catching up with apps. Blackberry OS has always been unique and reliable for me
Kyle Wraij No chance. Gs3 is tops
Kelly Tanaka I think my playbook is one step closer to being put out to pasture. Love it just no true support from RIM. Just my opinion.BlackBerry never again.
Romi Max Believe in windows phone app problem?? Not until I got wp and tried to look for apps. Half a year ago it was and half of the apps were rubbish or/and porn. I didn't believe it until I experienced it myself.
Rob Raphael For me, it'll boil down to whether it captures my attention when I pick it up. That's what a BB did for me a few years ago, and I was hooked. Only when they fell behind the curve did I stray away. Now they'll have to steal me back. :)
Treg Andrews They still make BlackBerry?
Nick Speth I dont think its ever about the amount of apps an OS has. Its all about the quality of the apps. Yes, iOS and Android have a ton of apps but alot of those apps are junk. I use a few quality apps on my android, i dont need the other thousands of apps there are. As long as RIM can get those quality developers to make programs for their OS, they will be fine.
Kev Baldwin Haha. BB have been out for years and still they've never ever made anything worth shouting about. There whole app /BB thing is shite. ... no thanks. Stick to my S3 android
Anthony Ochoa Haha haha bb 10 I already have one
Kyle Cordiano It may outshine windows phones.
Riçhy ßøy There were three beautiful hot sexy girls they were very horny and wanted to have sex then they decided to More
David McNally I think bb10 will surprise a lot of people, never count out the Canadians
Anthony Bailey Samsung > HTC > Motorola > iPhone > BlackBerry

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