I love apps, and contrary to popular belief, in BlackBerry World there are a ton of great apps for pretty much everything. Unfortunately, a report published yesterday by BerryReview has shed some light on an ugly truth when it comes to total number of apps in BlackBerry's storefront and where a lot of them are coming from, a company called S4BB.
If you do a search in BlackBerry World of the term "S4BB", you will be given a grand total of 47,014 "apps." Yeah... THAT many (And yes, all of those are for BlackBerry 10. If you do a search of their apps in general, including BBOS, and PlayBook, you'll get over 48,000). Granted, some of these apps have been pretty awesome, like Theme for BlackBerry 10, among others. But unfortunately that's not the case for most of them. Even worse is the fact that the great majority of these "apps" either can't be considered apps, or if they are, are just pretty terrible. Audiobooks, city "guides," and other complete garbage is what rounds out most of S4BB's 47,000+ apps, sadly. Why is this a big deal?
According to Thorsten Heins back in May at BlackBerry Live 2013, BlackBerry World had a total of 120,000 apps available for BlackBerry 10. Obviously, when comparing the two figures (S4BB's app total and BlackBerry World's total number of apps), the ratio is worrisome. Now, it's August, and there's no doubt that BlackBerry World has increased the number of apps available to them. Some speculate BlackBerry 10 has over 150,000 apps available now, but until we get a new official figure from BlackBerry, speculation is all it is.
In a statement about this report, BlackBerry spokesperson Adam Emery said, "Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics. Discoverability in overcrowded stores continues to be an issue affecting all developers. This is why we have worked hand in hand with developers on the Built for BlackBerry program to help showcase apps and games that exemplify the power of BlackBerry 10."
All this is true, but BlackBerry hasn't really tried to put a damper on developers like S4BB from submitting an outrageous number of apps. Microsoft, for example, charges developers $20 after their first 100 submitted apps. This is done in effort to prevent useless apps from just being submitted for the heck of it and it makes the developer have to think twice about what they are putting out there. Implementing a cap of sorts like this may keep the total number of apps from swelling as quickly as BlackBerry would like, but it would have helped to prevent the embarrassment that has followed this report.