updated 05:45 pm EDT, Tue September 7, 2010
BlackBerry App World at 10K mark two years behind
RIM today quietly slipped word that BlackBerry App World has passed 10,000 apps. The figure comes 1.5 years after the mobile store launched and shortly after the launch of App World 2.0 last month. Its climb has been relatively brisk in 2010, moving up from about 7,000 in the spring.
The figure makes it one of the slower modern app stores to date. Apple first reached the 10,000 app mark at the iPhone's App Store almost two years ago and now has over 250,000 apps to its name. Android Market was slower but reached the milestone in fall 2009, about a year after the Google mobile OS was available.
Reasons for the slow growth vary but include technical and policy factors. Developers have often criticized BlackBerry OS for being a difficult development environment and have either left it or passed over it for Android and iPhone launches; a new Java SDK for BlackBerry 6 is supposed to ease these concerns. The absence of any real 3D graphics support has also discouraged game developers.
RIM has also made unusual choices that have discouraged app sales. It didn't begin preloading App World on any phone until the Torch and left many customers unaware that the store even existed; it was previously an optional download. Until 2.0, the portal also lacked accounts to port paid apps to a new phone or any way to pay for an app beyond PayPal. A decision to require prices of $3 or higher for paid apps also guaranteed that many cross-platform titles would cost the most on a BlackBerry or wouldn't be ported at all.