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RIM's BlackBerry 10 Success Might Hinge on Apps

By Craig Galbraith
January 17, 2013 - News

Research In Motion is offering incentives to attract applications developers, a move that might be critical to the success of its soon-to-be-released BlackBerry 10 platform.

One of the biggest reasons that RIM fell way behind in the smartphone race against Apple and a bevy of Android manufacturers was its lack of focus on the importance of software applications. Apple and Google offer hundreds of thousands of apps in their respective stores, while RIM finds itself playing catch-up.

It took only two days for the company to draw 15,000 submissions for BlackBerry App World after offering developers incentives that included $100 for approved apps, invitations to RIM events and more. The company was targeting Android developers in particular, IDG News Service said in an article on Computerworld.

“While we have confidence in RIM’s ability to deliver quality hardware and we find what we have seen of BlackBerry 10 compelling, the new device platform’s success will be driven by the richness of the apps on offer," noted Wally Swain, Yankee Group senior VP of research. "This is particularly true of an important category of potential clients: former BlackBerry users who have switched to Android or iOS. If switching means losing the apps that they have loaded to personalize their environment, it’s likely they will stick with their new devices instead of returning to BlackBerry."

It's been a struggle for RIM in recent years, particularly in the consumer segment in North America and Western Europe. The company has remained strong in some international markets, and hopes to regain some of its mojo with BB10. The new OS has received mostly positive reaction from carriers ahead of its Jan. 30 release – helping the company double its stock price over a three-month span late in 2012 after giving half of that back in one day due to a poor earnings report.

All major U.S. carriers have said they will carry BB10 phones this year – but will the applications be strong enough to steal customers away from the competition?

"Convincing die-hard BlackBerry fans is one thing. Convincing the non-BlackBerry faithful to switch to BB10 will depend on the apps," Swain added.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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