BlackBerry Chief Promises 100,000 Apps at U.S. Z10 Debut

BlackBerry expects to have 100,000 native apps for the U.S. launch of its Z10 mobile device, slated for March 22.

DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

March 20, 2013

5 Min Read
BlackBerry Chief Promises 100,000 Apps at U.S. Z10 Debut

The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone platform will have 100,000 native apps by its U.S. launch later this week, according to company CEO Thorsten Heins in an interview with the Australian Financial Review (AFR) prior to the March 18 launch of the smartphone there.

AT&T, which began taking orders for the Z10 last week, has confirmed that it will begin selling the unit in the United States Friday, March 22, in its retail outlets, online and through partners to businesses. The $199 price tag for the Z10 is contingent on a two-year contract.

According to Heins, the BlackBerry 10 OS at its launch in January commanded a portfolio of some 70,000 apps, slightly more than the current amount credited to Windows Phone 8 at the Microsoft app store, but about 10 percent of the number of apps at Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store and the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play Android app outlet.

In the AFR report, Heins projected some 100,000 apps will be available when the Z10 kicks off in the United States, although popular apps such as Instagram and Netflix thus far remain on the sidelines.

“We are working constantly on getting these important apps on board,” Heins said. “I think we are seeing the dynamic changing over time as they want to watch and see how BlackBerry 10 is making it in the market. They want ROI on their development dollars as well. I think this is a very respectful way of looking at your business, and it is our job to convince them that BB10 is a successful platform.”

It’s not only around apps that Heins’ confidence appears to be growing—he went so far as to contend that Apple’s iPhone user interface is behind the times, suggesting that the “rate of innovation” in the industry” requires more frequent release cycles than Apple executes.

“History repeats itself again, I guess … the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about is now five years old…The point is that you can never stand still. It is true for us as well. Launching BB10 just put us on the starting grid of the wider mobile computing grand prix, and now we need to win it,” he said.

And, Heins brushed off any suggestion that the Z10’s reception alone will determine BlackBerry’s fate, suggesting that the company is paying attention to the wider view of the BB10 OS as a mobile platform, perhaps licensed to third parties to broaden its appeal.

“In the context of the financial viability of the company that is where I shake my head sometimes and wonder what everyone is talking about. The company has no debt, I will report pretty good cash position by the end of March in my earnings call, so I think we did a really diligent job in, not just keeping the company afloat, but also bringing it back to health,” he said.

In the AFR interview, Heins also touched on BlackBerry’s possible re-entry into the tablet market after its failed foray with PlayBook, saying a successor isn’t on the drawing board right now.

“I wouldn’t want to do it the same way again, if I do something around tablets, I want it to be really substantial and meaningful, and quite frankly it would need to be profitable as well,” he said. “I think the profit pool is very, very thin. Kudos to Apple, I think they really managed to own that space, so it doesn’t make sense for me to just take this head on. I need to figure out, for my enterprise customers, for my consumers, for my BB10 audience, what can I do that provides them a mobile computing experience in the form factor of a tablet, which goes beyond just the puristic tablet experience.”

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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