Contrary to the company’s claims, the number of BlackBerry apps (and users) continues to decline in the shadows of the still-dominant iOS and Android.
There was a time, not too long ago, when you couldn’t say “mobile phone” without saying “BlackBerry” in the same sentence. In fact, the BlackBerry was one of the earliest recognizably 'smart'-phones. Just seven years ago, the company claimed 50% of the smartphone market, and in 2008, it was valued at more than $55 billion, according to the Guardian.
Today, the BlackBerry operating system accounts for a meager 1.5% of the smartphone OS market, as comScore reports. Still, the original smartphone manufacturer retains a loyal, if small, customer base, and BlackBerry insists it’s not going anywhere.
A Steep Decline
So how did BlackBerry go from being the smartphone to a non-entity? It has a lot to do with the company’s inability to keep up in the app-dominated market, as Pando emphasizes. There are very few developers building apps for platforms outside iOS and Android, and consumers simply do not purchase devices without readymade apps. Even some of the most popular apps like Instagram are not available for BlackBerry platforms, regardless of the “client” apps that replicate them.
Nonetheless, the company remains optimistic, claiming that more than 18 million apps for BlackBerry 10 (that’s their newest operating system, if you don’t know) have been downloaded. Facebook’s recent withdrawal of its native app for the platform, however, offers plenty of reason to be skeptical of that optimism. Following the announcement, BlackBerry convinced the social media giant to support a web-based version of the app for the ten million BlackBerry users still out there.
The Dominance of iOS and Android
For its part, BlackBerry is well aware that it needs an app-rich OS, which is why their newest phone, the Priv, runs on Android. But that initiative may wind up being too little, too late — as hard as it may be for loyal “CrackBerry” owners, it seems unlikely that the company will ever return to its former glory, as Apple and Android show no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of OS market domination.
The two operating systems account for more than 96% of the global market share, according to IDC and sold more than 4.5 billion mobile phones last year, according to AndroidPit. Each offers more than 800,000 third-party apps for their respective platforms; BlackBerry, meanwhile, offers only 370,000 (including a boost from Amazon, no less).
Although it may spell disaster for BlackBerry, iOS and Android’s vice-like grip on the mobile market has worked out pretty well for the general public. After all, many of those 1.6 million apps have added tremendous value to practically all of our lives. They help us get healthy, make it easier to stay in touch, keep us entertained, and even introduce you to the love of your life. (Thanks, Tinder!)
The ubiquity of the iOS and Android platforms, as well as the general openness of their respective app stores have also made it possible for practically anyone to develop his or her very own app.
It no longer takes an expert to execute the next big thing in the world of mobile computing — and thanks to simple DIY platforms like AppMakr, this has never been more true. Basic drag-and-drop creation requires absolutely no coding experience, and new apps can be launched on both iOS and Android systems immediately after completion. Sorry, BlackBerry.
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