Thousands of apps from Amazon's Appstore will be available on BlackBerry 10 phones this fall, giving BlackBerry owners access to a selection that's greatly expanded in quality and scope from what they might find in their phone's existing store. BlackBerry's been struggling to find traction with its latest smartphones, and its lack of exciting, quality apps has only hurt it further. By striking a licensing deal with Amazon to bring over more than 200,000 apps, BlackBerry will soon have a bit less to worry about on that front.
A big change for BlackBerry
This is a big change in strategy though. While BlackBerry's own app store is still sticking around, there's a lot less of an incentive for developers to publish apps into it. By developing directly for Amazon, an app will work both on BlackBerry devices and on Amazon's line of Kindle Fire tablets (and soon, likely a smartphone) as well. Should BlackBerry develop a tablet, this would also allow it to debut with a mature lineup of apps.
It sounds as though the entire Amazon Appstore may be made available to BlackBerry users, though BlackBerry hasn't stated so explicitly just yet. Access to Amazon's store will come as part of the update to BlackBerry 10.3, which is planned for launch this fall.
There may still be some negative repercussions of the change. Critically, apps in Amazon's store won't be native to BlackBerry 10 phones — they're written for Android, after all — and that means they won't perform quite as well. Performance of Android apps on BlackBerry 10 has improved quite a bit from when the operating system was first released, but it's still hard to see as an optimal situation. And, not that it would have been a shrewd decision in the first place, there's now even less of a reason for someone to create an app exclusive to BlackBerry's new phones.
BlackBerry is actually offering to help developers move their apps over to Amazon's store if they so choose. Even if it isn't giving up on its own store yet, that's certainly not the brightest sign for it. "Developing for the Amazon Appstore will enable you to quickly and easily reach a larger user base," BlackBerry writes on its developer blog. "It’s important to know that the agreement with Amazon is essential in terms of aligning our developer strategy with our corporate strategy, which is focused on delivering the industry-best enterprise mobility solutions."
Though BlackBerry's app store is sticking around, the store is going to stop selling music, movies, and TV shows on July 21st. BlackBerry users will still be able to download third-party apps that offer these things, however.