Deal opens up official access to Amazon's app catalog for BlackBerry users

The BlackBerry love affair with Android apps opens a new chapter today with the news of a licensing deal with Amazon for its Appstore. With the launch of BlackBerry 10.3 this fall, BlackBerry 10 device owners will be able to download all the Android apps Amazon has to offer while BlackBerry is left "to focus on enterprise application development."

So far, BlackBerry users have had to hope Android app developers would port and upload their apps to BlackBerry World, or have had to resort to more unofficial methods of obtaining their apps. While the Amazon Appstore isn't Google Play, as we've recently heard it has almost 250,000 apps in its catalog. And importantly – perhaps more so for the more casual BlackBerry 10 user – it will help to close up that ever present app gap.

BlackBerry says it will be working with Amazon to integrate its developer community's apps into the Amazon Appstore before things go live and help them benefit from Amazon's tools, including Amazon Coins. It's important to note also that Amazon does have some strange approval processes, too – not supporting the original Kindle Fire has been an issue we've seen first hand to being able to update apps.

This is probably bigger news for BlackBerry owners than Amazon at this point – especially since Amazon is likely to announce its own smartphone the same day as this announcement – but it's another revenue stream for app developers and should at least put a smile on the faces of some of our BlackBerry owning friends.

The full press release follows.

Waterloo, ON - BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that the Amazon Appstore will be available with the launch of the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system this fall, greatly expanding access to thousands of the most popular apps and games to BlackBerry customers.

With more than 240,000 Android applications in the Amazon Appstore worldwide, BlackBerry 10 device customers will gain access to popular apps such as Groupon, Netflix, Pinterest, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft.

The strategic move also enables BlackBerry to align its developer program with its renewed focus on delivering the most secure, end-to-end mobile enterprise solutions, by placing more emphasis on the development of vital enterprise and productivity applications.

"Making the Amazon Appstore available on BlackBerry 10 devices will help BlackBerry continue to meet two essential needs: greater app availability for our smartphone users and enhanced productivity solutions for enterprises," said BlackBerry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen. "We've listened to our customers and have taken this important step to deliver on their needs, while executing on our strategy."

BlackBerry and Amazon will be working with the BlackBerry application developer community to help them migrate their apps to the Amazon Appstore in preparation for the 10.3 launch, where they will benefit from the store's powerful promotional tools that enable maximum discoverability and profitability. This will include Appstore Developer Select, which provides enhanced merchandising, as well as Amazon Coins incentives, the Developer Promotions Console, which enables real-time pricing adjustments and specials, and the popular Free App of the Day program.

BlackBerry will unveil a new enterprise application partner program for corporate developers, ISVs and systems integrators, designed to expand the number of enterprise applications that leverage BlackBerry 10 to deliver business-class functionality and enhance users' productivity, communication and collaboration.

For more information about BlackBerry 10, visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10OS.