February 3, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
To our readers who happen to be Android developers, I hope you know that RIM wants to give you a free BlackBerry Playbook. VP of Developer Relations Alec Saunders has said that Android developers who repackage their apps and submit it to BB AppWorld will get a free Playbook. Sounds like a great deal, but with several hundred thousand apps in the Android Market, a huge number of developers might take RIM up on that offer.
Clearly RIM has to do something to attract attention away from Android and iOS, but especially Android. Much of Android’s growth over the past two years has come at the expense of RIM’s BlackBerry OS. The former leading smartphone operating system has fallen consistently while Android has risen to take the top spot and iOS has held relatively steady. RIM and its recently appointed new CEO need to do something to reverse BlackBerry’s fortunes.
Take a look at the comScore data that was released yesterday. In the three-month average ending December 2011, Android grew to a 47.3 percent share of smartphone subscribers. That’s up from the 44.8 percent in September. Comparatively, Apple went up from 27.4 to 29.6 percent, and RIM went down from 18.9 to 16.0 percent. The smartphone war continues to be a battle between Google and Apple, with RIM and Microsoft left to fend for scraps. Microsoft has made its aggressive push with Nokia, and RIM has yet to find a plan to attract customers.
So now we return to the tablets-for-apps trade-off. RIM probably believes that attracting a higher number of Android developers will increase the quality of its BlackBerry AppWorld. These developers helped improve Android’s overall quality, so maybe they can work some of that magic for BlackBerry, too? Even if this doesn’t attract new users, at least having better apps might stop the bleeding and encourage current fans to stick around longer until a new crop of devices emerge at the end of the year. It’s probably a cheap solution when you consider that there’s a probably huge inventory of unsold Playbooks sitting in a warehouse in Waterloo.
Android still holds the dominant position in comScore’s MobiLens report, a survey of 30,000 smartphone subscribers in the United States. That was thanks in part to the combined popularity of Samsung, LG, and Motorola, who ranked as the top three phone producers (when including non-smartphones as well).