Update: The BlackBerry Messenger on Windows was a demonstration of a projection of an application from a BlackBerry 10 device on to Windows. BlackBerry clarified that it does not have solid plans to develop a desktop client for BlackBerry Messenger but was trying to show the concept of projecting an app to a bigger screen from a BlackBerry 10 device.
“Our (Blackberry’s) focus is unchanged,” said Alec Saunders, Vice-President, Developer Relation, at the BlackBerry Jam Asia 2013, held in Hong Kong today. Assuring the developers and attendees alike, Saunders’ announcement comes close after the mobile smartphone pioneer received a buyout offer from major shareholder, Fairfax Financial.
Saunders gave an update for the company’s young mobile computing operating system, BlackBerry 10. In just seven months, BlackBerry 10 has seen 131,708 apps being added onto the BlackBerry World. Thirty seven percent of these apps come from developers in the Asia-Pacific region. Saunders compared this to Apple’s app store in its early days, which saw only 17,500 apps in its first seven months. While not the fairest of comparisons, due to the changes in mobile device and application adoption over the years, it does indicate that the young platform is growing well.
During his opening keynote, Saunders also mentioned that over the past few months, approval ratings for BlackBerry by developers have also increased. Using the Net Promoter Score, BlackBerry saw an increased approval of 89 points, moving from a low of −43 to +46 (+100 and −100 marks the top and bottom limits). The survey also indicated that nine out of 10 developers in Asia-Pacific will recommend developing for the platform.
BlackBerry showcased some interesting applications that are on the platform at the conference. SayIt, the Siri-like application single-handedly developed by Vietnamese programmer Nguyen Long has since hit 100,000 downloads from the BlackBerry World alone. Micro-blogging service, Weibo, with over 500 million registered users with over 70 percent accessing through mobile devices, express their commitment to the platform. WeChat announced that it will be introducing a private photo sharing and communication feature called “Moments” in the coming weeks to its BlackBerry 10 application.
To encourage early move of developers to the BlackBerry 10 platform, BlackBerry introduced the Built for BlackBerry certification. Throughout the past few months, BlackBerry shared that it has listened to developers on how to better set the criteria for apps to achieve the Built for BlackBerry certification. With the refresh, app developers can expect a clearer approval criteria and Built for BlackBerry certified applications can see more visibility in the BlackBerry World with top listing on homes screens, channel screens and filtered results. With a Built for BlackBerry certification, app developers see an average increase of 71 percent in free downloads and 14 percent in paid.
With a third of BlackBerry apps coming from Asia-Pacific developers, Saunders also shared that the majority of them generate revenues from outside of the region. 33 percent of them see revenues coming from North America, 20 percent from Europe and four percent from Middle East and Africa.
At the conference, Saunders and his team also demonstrated the expansion of the popular BlackBerry Messenger. Having released the messaging application for iOS and Android recently, BlackBerry demonstrated BlackBerry Messenger on Windows desktop while hinting of the possibility for a future Mac version. This cross-platform, cross-device capability of BlackBerry Messenger puts it in the similar space as LINE and Kakao and also brings huge sharing potential for BlackBerry apps that leverage on BlackBerry Messenger’s social-ness.