Research In Motion (NAS: RIMM) touted its progress on the app store scene, noting that its BlackBerry App World users now download 140 million applications per month. Here at its BlackBerry developer conference, the company also took the opportunity to detail its new BBX smartphone and tablet platform -- and perhaps more importantly, to counter criticisms of its platform as being not worth the effort for developers to target.
"The opportunity is growing exponentially for BlackBerry developers," proclaimed RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. (Click here for details on RIM's new BBX platform.)
As for RIM's BlackBerry App World, RIM's Dr. Ronjon Nag provided a range of statistics he said showed the success of RIM's app store. Nag, vice president of BlackBerry App World, said BlackBerry users have downloaded 1 billion apps since the storefront's launch, and that now users are downloading between 4 million and 5 million applications per day. He also said RIM's new BlackBerry 7 phones generate 11 times the gross average revenues per user for developers than BlackBerry 6 or BlackBerry 5 devices.
Nag also said BlackBerry App World apps generate 43 percent more daily downloads than the average iOS app and 48 percent more daily downloads than the average Android app.
Perhaps most notably, RIM's Alec Saunders said that BlackBerry App World generates more paid downloads than Android Market, and is the world's second most profitable app store behind Apple's App Store, figures he attributed to research firm Yankee Group. The figures put BlackBerry App World ahead of Google's Android Market in terms of profitability. Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations and ecosystems development, also said BlackBerry App World apps generate 40 percent more revenue than Android Market apps, and that 13 percent of BlackBerry developers have made $100,000 or more from BlackBerry App World sales.
However, Saunders was not immediately available to provide specific details on the figures he cited. A number of developers -- including top-tier developers such as Scvngrv -- have eschewed developing for BlackBerry for a range of reasons including the difficulties encountered in supporting RIM's large range of smartphone models and screen sizes.
Moreover, the number of applications available on BlackBerry App World is still dwarfed by the number of applications available on Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market. And RIM's market share in the United States has been steadily declining, according to comScore. Thus, developers wishing to target the largest number of smartphone users have been focusing their efforts on Android and iOS.
Saunders acknowledged developer concerns about targeting RIM's diverse smartphone lineup, and said RIM hoped to smooth the process for developers in the future via its new BBX platform. Saunders promised that any application developed for BBX would work without significant modification across all of RIM's future BBX smartphones and tablets.
"Those applications are going to work on those products." Saunders said.
Finally, in an effort to generate additional enterprise interest in its app store, RIM said it would offer businesses their own private storefronts inside RIM's BlackBerry App World. Apps sold through the storefronts would only be available to that company's employees. Such an offering is similar to the enterprise app store effort recently announced by Verizon (NYS: VZ) Wireless.
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