BlackBerry has a pretty serious problem on its hands. And no, we are not talking about the potential sale of the company.
BlackBerry World, the app store that serves the BlackBerry 10 operating system and the legacy BlackBerry OS, has 120,000 apps in it. That is a respectable number, if we are just talking volume. The problem is that 47,000 of those apps have been created by one “developer” that appears to be taking advantage of BlackBerry’s open publishing rules and flooding BlackBerry World with a tidal wave of crap that does no favors to BlackBerry or its diminishing base of consumers.
BlackBerry-focused blog Berry Review was the first to notice the flood of apps from developer S4BB. A cursory review of the apps in BlackBerry World from S4BB show that the developer is not much focused on quality. Some of S4BB’s features are a coin flip app, a couple of fart apps, an app that sounds like a bicycle bell and a lot of “locks” (apps that puts a password before you can open another app). Some of the apps seem to be repurposed RSS feeds or publications of publicly available city guides. A variety of audio books fill out several hundred apps from S4BB.
S4BB appears to be a mobile development shop based out of Hong Kong, according to the company’s Twitter account. Its website states that it has been around since 2006 making apps for Palm and BlackBerry.
For the most part, developers have not been particularly keen on publishing apps to BlackBerry World or BlackBerry 10. The company did have a series of mildly successful “Portathons,” where developers could port their apps from Android to BlackBerry, but not many developers are choosing to publish directly to the platform. BlackBerry likes to send out a weekly email highlighting new apps in BlackBerry World. Each week the list of new and exciting apps gets a little shorter and devoid of anything actually interesting. Top app publishers like Spotify have declined to build BlackBerry apps because it is not worth their time to do so.
With BlackBerry facing an uncertain future and running out of opportunities for a comeback, this type of news about BlackBerry World is not what the company needs. The lack of quality and the dominance of one shoddy developer is a sure-fire way to keep other developers from building apps for BlackBerry World. Without quality apps, BlackBerry will have trouble getting consumers to make the jump to BlackBerry 10 smartphones from the likes of Android and iOS.