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Alec Saunders Explains That BlackBerry 10 Users Hate Android Ports But Allows For Gauging Interest

BlackBerry Native SDK - BlackBerry Developer-000410

Android ports on BlackBerry 10 are nowhere near ideal and any user could have told you that. Its reassuring to know that Alec Saunders, head of BlackBerry developer relations, is aware of the issue. He told CNet that "From a commercial perspective, users hate them… Our partners who have ported apps get dinged for them." Alec explained that it is all about momentum. The last 50,000 of the 120,000 current apps in BlackBerry World were created over the last 4 months. Android ports are a quick way to get companies to test out BlackBerry 10 and gauge interest it “is not the ideal situation.”

That is why I am glad to see apps like Songza realize that it is time to go native. They have confirmed that they are working on a native app due to user demand. This is exactly the kind of process that Alec is counting on to onboard large developers to BlackBerry 10.

How do you think the BlackBerry 10 Android runtime is helping get apps to BlackBerry 10? Personally I am a huge fan of a few apps I have ported myself including Google Maps and my Chase bank app.

22 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I feel bad for users of actual Android phones. They have 100% nothing but Android apps to choose from…

  2. Could be that users find the Android app experience laggy – which should be fixed by the new updates and faster runtime. And also the Blackberry app experience along with cascades as a whole is much smoother than Android.

  3. The main issue is that Android apps don’t act like Native apps. The process to go back is a completely different gesture, and integration isn’t anywhere near the same experience. It’s nice to have app options, but the UX can be confusing when expecting the BlackBerry 10 way of doing things.

  4. Yeah possibly. I was thinking maybe they could use the same gestures for Android Apps and that would make things a bit better.

    • The problem is that Android apps can implement any UI they want and that’s why some of the apps are great while others are dull.
      It would be impossible to implement a swipe gesture without breaking some apps.

      I guess what they could do is make it optional so that devs who port their app can opt out of the default behaviour.

  5. BB10 would be in bad shape without the Android VM, so it was a necessary “evil”.
    80% of the apps I use are ports and I imagine, most users are in the same situation.
    It’s better to use a slow port than a poor native app, if it even exists.

    • I don’t see how you think BB10 would be in bad shape without the Android API. It depends on the individual user. Ninety eight percent of the apps I use are native BB10 apps. If 80% of you used apps are Android, seems to me you should’ve bought an Android phone. Why on earth would someone that uses mainly Android apps by a BlackBerry?? It makes no sense.

      • Well as a PlayBook user stuck in LIMBO, if I wasn’t using Android apps, I would be using my device as just a reader and that would be that. Actually, I’m using Android apps for reading too. They have built in Dropbox integration that the native ones lack. The Docs to Go Android app is better than the Docs to Go built for the PlayBook, and BlackBerry OWNS Dataviz!

        “Why would someone that uses mainly Android apps by (sic) a BlackBerry”, you ask? It’s simple. I was already invested in the BlackBerry infrastructure and decided to show support for the new device, while at the same time knowing that the ability to use Android apps was a way of hedging my bet. I did NOT wish to go down the path of the HP Touchpad. If BlackBerry were to fail with the PlayBook (and it is looking EXACTLY like that has occurred, they just won’t say it), I would still have a device that I could use and load apps on.

      • Good for you and we’re all different in how we use our phones, but take a look at the top apps on the Apple and Google store and tell me how many of them you see in BB World as native apps. You can even do the same exercise by category and in some cases, it won’t be as bad as the top one, but the new OS didn’t stand a chance without the ports. Filling BB World with fake apps like the ones generated by Mippin doesn’t help consumers get what they want, ports do, especially since many legacy apps are missing.

        So, I’m using a BB because of the keyboard and the integrated experience, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to use the same apps everybody else is enjoying. I’m hoping more native apps will be created, but if that doesn’t come quickly enough, I’ll be happy with speedy Android ports. BB needs to work on the integration layer so that we have notification, background services, etc. without having the devs do anything.

      • Canalys has just confirmed what I said.

        “BlackBerry World contained BB10 versions of five of the top 50 free Apple App Store applications, and nine of the top 50 paid. It contained 11 of the top 50 free Google Play store applications, and 11 of the top 50 paid”

        http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/top-ios-and-android-apps-largely-absent-windows-phone-and-blackberry-10

        BB10 would be a beta OS for devs if it wasn’t for Android ports.

        • Always take those sorts of reports with a HUGE grain of salt. For example, Fart Sound Free is in the Top 50 free apps of Google Play along with at least two flashlight apps a Yahoo Mail app and games. Once you take all of those out very few that are left are actually “Apps”

  6. I’m not a big fan of Android porting. As the article states, it’s a great way for Android developers to gauge BB interest in their apps, but the majority of the ports I’ve come across, whether sideloaded or downloaded straight from BB World, tend to be laggy and buggy as all get out. Also, the huge negative to developers simply porting over their Android apps is that it makes them lazy. If they’ve already gotten BB users’ money from their substandard port, why would they even bother creating a native app if they’re already getting paid anyway? There’s no incentive for them to go native. It’s my opinion that all Android ports should be clearly noted AND they should all be free until a native version exists, at which time the Android port should be removed from BB World. Those are my thoughts on it.

    • Yeah they need a better system for pointing out apps are Android ports especially if they cost money. I use the Android ports to augment apps that are not critical but not yet available like my chase banking app and they work well.

  7. In general I would agree with you and Canalys may rule out equivalent apps simply because it’s not made by the same vendor.
    And rankings are done per country, so the situation in the US would be different than the one in the UK.

    Still, a quick check for Switzerland, out of 25 free “apps”:
    – 17 are real apps (gmail excluded)
    – Of which 5 are available in BB World
    – Of which 2 are native and created by BB itself… Facebook and Adobe reader

    So without Android ports, users would have 2 apps. Instead, they can have a few more via BBW and a lot more via side loading.
    It’s a great stop gap solution and I have high hopes for hw acceleration and Jelly bean coming in 10.2.

    Once BlackBerry is back with a significant market share, I have no doubt that we will get more native apps.

  8. Very different indeed… In CH, Twitter is not even on the list… and WhatsApp is #1.
    Let’s not forget that Google’s apps are not on the list. I assumed Maps would be in the top 5.

  9. I think Blackberry users should welcome android ports as a “get out of jail free” card that they are. In cases where inter-platform communication is needed they are great. However, the “Blackberry WOrld” should allow users to ignore android ports if they don’t want them. As a matter of etiquette, giving an app a bad review for being an “android” port simply means that in many cases NOTHING will be supplied. As a user, who is too lazy to “side load manually”, I long lamented not having “Draw Something”, “Viber”, Skype and numerous other apps that allowed me to interface with friends without Blackberries. As a community, we are stabbing ourselves in the back. Would I prefer a native over an android port? Yes, of course but I’d prefer an android port over “nothing”. In general, the rich app portfolio of the old Blackberry gets lost with BB10/Playbook, whatever Playbook had, is lost with BB10. An out of jail card is needed.

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