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BlackBerry Now Promoting Android Apps to Close the Gap

Blade is a new app that allows you to reserve a seat on a helicopter to fly from the 34th Street helipad to the Hamptons. Reserving a seat costs $575, but interestingly, the application isn't even offered for the BlackBerry OS. Luckily, BB10 also runs Android apps, and BlackBerry is taking to the road to build developer interest.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) has been a laggard in applications behind Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) Android for years, but the company is making a push to extend its platform. Currently, BlackBerry has 240,000 applications, a tiny number compared to Google Play's 1 million applications and Apple's 70 million apps. However, Android apps run on BlackBerry 10, and the company is hoping that a marketing campaign can help get developers on board and register their apps in BlackBerry World.

Free BlackBerry Z30
BlackBerry is sponsoring AngelHack and AnDevCon, two of the largest hack-a-thons in the world, to help connect developers and the app-hungry BlackBerry user base. Besides sponsoring the events, BlackBerry is offering a free device to developers who go through the process of registering their apps on the platform.

Installing Android apps isn't new, making it easy is
Running Android apps was not always an easy feat. In late January, BlackBerry streamlined the process with version 10.2.1, but prior to this release, to install an Android app, a person had to go through an obscure three-step process that involved converting the app to a BlackBerry 10-compatible file format, then installing it through the command line, which was a difficult feat for all but the heartiest of Crackberry loyalists.

Small steps in the turnaround
BlackBerry is not at a point where we can claim that a turnaround is taking hold, but the company is finally doing what it can to make the platform more appealing to developers, and users are seeing some traction. The Jakarta release in Indonesia went very well, driving long lines of people in a region that has traditionally been a BlackBerry stronghold. According to BlackBerry's Eric Lai, "Indonesian consumers lined up at stores around Jakarta on Friday to buy our new Z3 smartphone, which sold out on its first day of availability in the Indonesian capital."

A small, but notable win
The Indonesian market is a small win, too small to be compared with any of the major markets of the developed world. But, selling high-quality, low-cost handsets may be the way for BlackBerry to regain a foothold in the industry it created over 20 years ago.

The BYOD trend won't be undone
Apple made technology into fashion accessories with the iPod and, later, the iPhone. This led people to demand the ability to bring their own devices to new and existing employers, leaving IT personnel to sort out the details. When the iPhone became a personal tool for both communication and entertainment, it changed the field of battle.

Apple has a flair for being able to produce cool hardware devices that are difficult for competitors to outshine. Google, perhaps recognizing this, decided to build the software and let others to fight over the hardware. Each of these vendors has much greater share in parts of the market they view as strategic. Google in software, and Apple with the overall device, leaving BlackBerry fighting to either regain a small niche, where security may be worth a premium, or needing to reinvent itself. 

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Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 9:22 AM, devvvv wrote:

    Well a coffee buddy of mine has a Z10 and he says most android apps don't work properly. He is waiting till his contract is up and dropping BlackBerry.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 10:53 AM, eidsonb wrote:

    I run everything from Netflix to Instagram flawlessly on my Z10, Z30 and Q10. Easy to install and find.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 11:29 AM, hawt2trot wrote:

    Oh no, your buddy is dropping BlackBerry! Lol if your buddy has updated his Z10 to the latest software, he would find that Android apps work as well on a BB10 phone as they do on an Android phone, remembering of course that some Android apps don't even work well on Android phones. I've had my Z10 since day 1 in Canada and was sideloading the day it was available, I has an SIII and an IPhone 4 prior. Now to load an Android app all you need is the 1Mobile or Amazon apps which can be downloaded and installed right on your phone from the Internet. There is also a third party Google Play Store app called SNAP.

    A note to the author. Sideloading in the past never involved "command line" . BB10 ran Android apps simply by connecting your phone to PC and using a program to load the app.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 3:22 PM, k1moops wrote:

    Chinese and Indian made Android phones like ZTE and MicroMax run Google apps directly downloaded from Google Play and any Android app stores with absolute transparency and maximum performance and features. These Android phones cost less than $45 US offering superior quality and value. It is too bad these Android phones are not allowed to sell in North America. But in Indonesia these Chinese and India below-$45 Android phones already have 82% of the market soon to be 100%. Z3 running Android apps is a real oxymoron, I've always been confounded by the BlackBerry business approaches and decisions, what is BlackBerry trying to prove?

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 3:49 PM, devvvv wrote:

    Hi k1 and you are right we have people living next door and all their relations have Android phones and do not plan on switching due to high priced Blackberry Z3

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 5:09 PM, k1moops wrote:

    Thank you devvvv. One more thing about the Z3 is BlackBerry's continuous preach on its virtue on 'foolproof' security. Since when do people buy things, houses and cars for example, because of how secure their securities are? Would you pay more for a car because it has a foolproof lock? Alarm system? What a shmuck the BlackBerry management is.

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 5:20 PM, k1moops wrote:

    In countries which are not democratic, personal secrecy and encryption are greatly frowned upon because their governments cannot allow ANY individual to have capabilities to keep information about them away from government snooping. China, Indonesia are some of these countries. It is possible for BlackBerry to sell its 'secure' smartphones or services to non government organizations and individuals. The Z3 running any Android app defeats the purpose of buying a personally 'secure' Z3, buying and using the Z3's 'secure encryption' would only invite government interferences and possible punitive measures even if you are the Indonesian president. If you want to use Android apps then why are you buying a Z3?

  • Report this Comment On May 23, 2014, at 8:12 PM, xxBURK wrote:

    I have a Z30 with 10.2.1 installed. I only needed two apps from Android App store to fill the gap. (I have 106 BlackBerry World Apps)

    Anyways, Netflix and Parrot Audio Suite work perfectly on my BB10 device. It's also reported that many find Android apps actually work better on a BB10 device than on an android device.

    BlackBerry will include 4.3 Android run support as soon as they release the 10.3 operating system update. It won't really matter though. Android developers are now discovering that it takes five minutes to port directly to BlackBerry World now.

  • Report this Comment On May 24, 2014, at 3:27 AM, k1moops wrote:

    Check out the Samsung, ZTE, MicroMax, and other sub-$45 USD native Android phones, and put to bed any doubts why they are capturing 100% of the Indonesian market in a hurry.

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David Eller

I started contributing to the Motley Fool in 2013. I have held research positions at two investment banks and two hedge funds before trying more entrepreneurial ventures. I'm passionate about helping people find freedom in financial independence. Feel free to add comments and start a discussion. I hope to use these articles as forums to learn from you as well as share my opinion.

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