Feature Article

January 14, 2013

BlackBerry 10 Portathons Pay Off Big for BlackBerry

Over the weekend, Research In Motion (RIM) put two events in motion that turned out to mean big things for the company as a whole. The events, called "Portathons”, were designed to encourage developers on other platforms to port their apps to the BlackBerry app store. The end result brought in a wide variety of new apps for BlackBerry in a short amount of time. By current reports, Research In Motion saw fully 15,000 new app submissions land on its doorstep in just 37.5 hours.

One Portathon was geared toward the BlackBerry 10 Community, while a second, running concurrently with the first, focused strictly on Android developers. To provide a little grist for the mill, as it were, RIM offered developers $100 for every approved app, and those who bring in a big number of approved apps will reportedly land not only the cash prize, but also a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device.


Image via Shutterstock

Not only has RIM made it clear in the past that BlackBerry 10 is its future, but it is backing up that statement with events such as the Portathons, geared toward not only getting more apps into the App Store, but also in getting more developers interested in creating new apps for BlackBerry devices in the first place. By all reports, BlackBerry 10--an operating system in development for several years now--is likely to be the best RIM has ever unveiled and its best chance to compete with entrenched rivals iOS and Android.

That's going to be a tall order to say the least. iOS and Android control large portions of the market, and have in recent years taken quite a bit of BlackBerry’s business with them. Worse, both iOS and Android have focused on app store development, with both iOS and Android stores having around 775,000 apps each in the offing. 15,000 apps in two days is a big achievement in every sense of the term, at least until a comparison is taken, showing that BlackBerry has a long way to go before it's as prolific an app target as its competitors. The new arrival of Windows Phone is a further destabilizing element to consider in the mix.

Even if RIM can get the numbers up, this still may not help the company in the long term. If most of the apps coming in are just ports from other app stores, what's to get consumers back into the BlackBerry camp? Additionally, RIM may be trying to solve the wrong problem; if HTML5 ends up going in the direction some think it may, the idea of an independent app store may not be quite so appealing as more apps will come out with a distinctive Web-based focus.

Still, credit is due for the sheer effort that RIM is putting into play, and hopefully it can manage to solve its problems and get back into the major tier it once occupied. More competition is always better for consumers as a whole, and the more competitors total in the field, the better off overall we all are.




Edited by Brooke Neuman


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