It emerged that a single developer is responsible for more than 47,000 titles available in BlackBerry World, taking the shine off the 120,000 apps touted by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins in May.
Developer S4BB is responsible for more than a third of apps in BlackBerry World, which not only skews the total number of apps but also calls into question the quality of content in the app store.
According to Berry Review, between 20 and 30 of the S4BB apps “seem like good to decent quality legitimate apps”. However, the vast majority “are really stretching the definition of an ‘app'” as they are an assortment of city guides, audio books and phrasebooks that “offer different content in a similar wrapper so they show up in BlackBerry World’s search”.
BlackBerry will not be keen for its app store to be flooded with titles that are barely apps which, as a result, may rarely be purchased or downloaded — otherwise known as ‘zombie’ apps.
Apple’s App Store and Google Play also have thousands of zombie apps, with mobile analytics firm Adeven stating that the proportion in the App Store hit 64 per cent in December 2012.
But such is their scale and market dominance that neither Apple or Google are likely to be harmed by having such a large proportion of apps that are never downloaded.
BlackBerry on the other hand is trying to build momentum for its BlackBerry 10 operating system (launched in January), while also catering for customers of its older BlackBerry OS.
With the number of apps available regarded as a significant indicator of a mobile platform’s uptake, news that so many come from a single developer and could be of questionable quality will not be welcomed.
Analyst group Canalys recently said one of the biggest limiting factors for BlackBerry World (and Windows Phone Store) is a lack of big-name apps already present in the App Store and Google Play.