Back when BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY ) 10 launched in January, the company touted a 70,000 headline figure for its app count. I initially criticized BlackBerry for the fact that 40% of these apps were just wrapped Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Android apps, since this would present important strategic challenges farther down the road.
A couple months later, the company said its app figure reached 100,000, adding 30,000 new apps over seven weeks. At the time, BlackBerry didn't give any details on how many were Android ports.
Well, the company has now done just that, and is making progress on the divide between native and ported apps. In a recent interview with AllThingsD, BlackBerry exec Martyn Mallick said that roughly 20% of the 100,000 apps are now emulated Android apps (Mallick is the same exec that confirmed the first 40% figure in January).
If we compare those figures, BlackBerry started with roughly 28,000 ported apps and 42,000 native apps. Now the turnaround candidate has 20,000 ported apps and 80,000 native apps. Even though those figures are approximate, it would appear that developers have made the leap to native with roughly 8,000 apps.
That's an encouraging sign for BlackBerry, since native apps perform significantly better than the wrapped Android ports running in an emulator, and building its native app count will bolster consumer confidence in the platform and give BlackBerry 10 better odds of long-term viability.
Mallick also said that some developers are meeting BlackBerry halfway -- keeping their Android apps but tweaking them to cater to specific features of BlackBerry 10. That includes high-profile titles like Amazon.com and eBay. The smartphone maker is also offering incentives like a $10,000 guarantee that developers can successfully monetize their content on the platform.
BlackBerry isn't in the clear yet, and the distinction between native and ported apps is a subtle one that may potentially be lost on the average consumer, but every little bit helps.
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