It's tough to find even 50 good BB10 apps in BlackBerry World

I appreciate Alec Saunders' energy and the efforts made by BlackBerry, however the current state of BB World for BB10 in the US is not very good. The number of apps doesn't mean much when key popular apps are missing. It always takes time to build up app stores, but can BlackBerry afford to take a long time?

(Credit: BlackBerry)

I was at the BlackBerry 10 launch event in New York yesterday and left with a Z10 to test out . I've spent about eight hours with it so far, and while I find the hardware and UI to be quite nice (video walkthrough under development), the available applications leave a lot to be desired. And BlackBerry has serious work ahead to compete with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Given that they announced that they were launching with 70,000 apps, I was expecting to see more big-name apps.

I used to think that the number of apps in a software store meant something, but after browsing through BlackBerry World, the App Store, Windows Phone Store, and Google Play Store, I don't think the quantity means much of anything. I generally load up about 50 keys apps on my devices, and use about five to 10 on a daily basis. I picked up my iPhone 5, Galaxy Note II, and Nokia Lumia 920 to see what apps I use on a daily basis and have established as my primary apps. I was extremely disappointed to find these apps missing from App World:

  • Music services: Spotify, Slacker, Pandora, Rdio

  • Travel services: TripIt, Kayak, Delta, Alaska

  • Banking: Bank of America, USAA, American Express

  • Video services: Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube

  • Popular games: Words with Friends, Temple Run, any Angry Birds other than Star Wars

  • Google Voice

  • Instagram

There are a few good apps that I did find in BB World:

  • Angry Birds Star Wars

  • Google Talk

  • Flixster

  • Untappd

  • TuneIn Radio

  • Wunderlist 2

  • New York Times

  • Truphone

  • ESPN ScoreCenter and Score Mobile

  • Apollo (3rd party Pandora app)

App discovery is as bad on BB10 as the PlayBook, with no easy way to browse all free apps and very limited featured sections. I found the best way to discover apps is to search for ones you use on other platforms.

I think Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations, worked extremely hard to bring in developers for BB10 and CNET has a great article on his efforts. Thus, I was really expecting more in BlackBerry 10, and so far, I am just not finding it. Now BB10 isn't launching here in the US until sometime in March, according to vague statements by BlackBerry representatives, but the Z10 is available in the UK starting today. You can browse BlackBerry World yourself online and search for your favorite apps. I hope BlackBerry gets some of these popular apps on their platform soon, as the device and UI are great and deserve solid apps.

UPDATE: After further discussion with folks around the world, I understand that application availability is region specific and given the couple month rollout of BB10 devices, including a March launch in the US, application availability in the BB World store may change daily for quite a while.  I acknowledge that I may have jumped the gun a bit on holding BlackBerry's feet to the fire, but they are the ones that advertised 70,000 apps at launch and I expected higher quality ones rather than higher quantity. As I wrote in my follow-up article , the hardware and UI is fantastic and unlike MeeGo there is a real chance that high quality applications will come to BlackBerry 10 in short order.