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Mr Heins, Tear Down This (BlackBerry World) App Wall!

Floyd Tear Down The Wall

I was having a candid conversation with a friend yesterday about strategic moves that BlackBerry could make to quickly boost BlackBerry 10. One of the main themes that kept coming back was how badly the BlackBerry World team has failed the BlackBerry community. Just take yesterday’s revelation that almost 50,000 apps in BlackBerry World are spam from one developer or the basic fundamentals still missing in BlackBerry World. I have advocated quite a few times that BlackBerry simply open up the door for OTA (Over The Air) application installation but sadly BlackBerry has arrogantly stuck to BlackBerry World.

This arrogance smacks right in the face of the very active “Sideloading” community for BlackBerry 10 and the many limitations BlackBerry imposes on them. There are even multiple commercial services dedicated to bypassing this user unfriendly restriction BlackBerry places on their devices that did not exist on legacy BBOS devices.

By opening up OTA application installation BlackBerry could boost their app availability by hundreds of thousands of apps. Many Android developers already publicly offer their APK files for installation. Others are easily accessible and would open the door for everyone to get Google Maps, Instagram, Candy Crush and MANY more such apps on their BlackBerry 10 devices. On top of that it would also allow for all the apps that BlackBerry has so far restricted due to asinine policies by not forcing BlackBerry to be part of the transaction. It would have even simplified the BlackBerry Maps bug that hammered BlackBerry support earlier this week.

BlackBerry continues to allow BlackBerry 10 to be held back by the embarrassment that is BlackBerry World. At first BlackBerry advocated that these limitations were imposed because developers asked for them and they would improve security and visibility for apps. So far BlackBerry World has failed on both fronts on top of limiting functionality for BlackBerry 10 and PlayBook users.

Its is way past the time for BlackBerry’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, to either clean up shop at BlackBerry World or simply make life easier for BlackBerrys real customers. What do you think?

PS: This plan should be easy to implement for Android apps but BlackBerry would have to find a solution for Cascades apps where you can extract the source code from the BAR files.

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I disagree.

    Telling people that they need to go multiple places to get apps makes things worse for users. We need to be fighting fragmentation, not encouraging it.

    Opening up OTA installation doesn’t even help with the issue that you are discussing as there is already an easy way for Android developers to release their apps for BlackBerry that is mostly being ignored.

    • If you look at the sad state of BlackBerry World this seems to be the better of two options. BlackBerry went the “if you build it they will come” route and that failed miserably. The android apps that are in BlackBerry world are usually pitiful and never updated even if they are totally free.

      I agree that fragmentation is bad but currently the single point for apps is much much much worse for BlackBerry. BlackBerry users could easily have up to date android apps on their devices but sadly they have to resort to convoluted sideloading. This is such a prevalent issue that every day I have people ask me about how to do this “sideload” thing. They are being denied apps that work well for no other reason than “avoiding fragmentation.” Isn’t that a weak reason?

  2. I agree with the author. At this point BlackBerry doesnt need any more bad news. There are major issues with BlackBerry World and BlackBerry Link, and they wonder why people dont “come back to BlackBerry.” After this whole Maps fiasco, and with the BlackBerry PlayBook lie, the BlackBerry Q10 will probably be my last BlackBerry device.

  3. We’ve had BB according to Heins and Stymiest for 1.5 years. It’s enough. Move over. Maybe it’s time to toss the BB keys to QNX pioneer Dan Dodge. Or for that matter, where would BB be if someone like Elon Musk was at the helm. Now that would be something.

  4. The sad thing is that BlackBerry will make it harder or even impossible to sided apps in the future…

  5. First of all you can extract the code from the apk file for android and what is worse a hacker can alter the code without having to change the signing key for the app. So it would still look like it comes from the original developer

  6. “PS: This plan should be easy to implement for Android apps but BlackBerry would have to find a solution for Cascades apps where you can extract the source code from the BAR files.”

    I certainly do not hope they make it any easier to extract the source code than it already is. A bar file is essentially a zip file, with a different name, if you change the extension from .bar to .zip you can view the assets & QML contents, which with cascades is what many developers rely on. The c++ sections are hidden but, a lot of Cascade dev’s do not use the c++ (or much of it) so essentially with what you can get from the qml section it would make it extremely easy to rip off the code and replicate the app under another developers name. Would BBRY have more apps out of this? Likely, but if they go through another bar leak like the playbook, I don’t think many or any devs will remain on board.

  7. It is sad but true that Apps is what matters currently. I am looking forward to the day we abandon the ridiculous App model and move back to the browser. BlackBerry is simply trying to service their customers the way Apple has trained them to … an App Store.

    App Stores are a step backward in regards to freedom and open standards, it is only a matter of time before the WWW renders them obsolete just like it did with AOL other proprietary services. The problem is though, BlackBerry, Tizen, WebOS, FireFoxOS, Meego, Ubuntu etc all have no time to wait for this revolution to take over (some are already dead).

    You see, what you desire in this article (freedom) is already here, you are just not using it. I suggest you spend more time reviewing and talking about HTML5 apps. Everybody is crying for Instagram and Netflix and there is no reason why these apps cannot be HTML5 and it is only a matter of time before these companies stop playing bullshit games and do the right thing.

    • I agree that html5 seems to be the saving grace but it’s sadly still treated like the bastard stepchild on most platforms. Even BlackBerry brings APIs to webworks developers last. Still they are finally backported to phonegap which will help a lot for cross platform compatibility

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