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.

 
There are 40 comments

S_C_B says:

Well, I never!

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tdizzel says:

This article should have been titled "17 more people gain access to Android apps"

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Ouch.

paisley99 says:

Lol

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A895 says:

Lol

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mstrblueskys says:

Is this a big deal? because it seems like it'd be a really big deal.

It's a big deal if you own a BlackBerry

mstrblueskys says:

Haha, good point, or if you're on the fence about getting one I guess.

hawklet00 says:

not really that big of a deal...all you had to do was sideload snap and you have access to google play. this just makes it so that people that done like sideloading or are intimidated by it can get access to more android apps

Not everything that gets reported on need to be a "big deal".

mstrblueskys says:

Yeah, though maybe I'm seeing it through the lens of a former WebOS fan - if WebOS would have had access to a catalog of apps that large, maybe things would have been lots different.

I may go back to BlackBerry if they release a note 3 like device

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WolfpacDAR says:

I'm gonna go ahead and call your bluff.

I think it might've been a bigger deal if this happened a few years ago when Blackberry was trying to mount a comeback.

speculatrix says:

Yeah, now Amazon could/should buy blackberry for their patents and just migrate everything to FireOs aka crippled-locked-android

quailallstar says:

I still like Blackberry but I sold my Q10 after a month of ownership. Screen was too small and I missed flashing ROM's and whatnot on Android. I hope they do survive as a company and really pull through this "rough patch."

technoman919 says:

+1

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Good OL MC says:

Wow, that's actually some good news for BlackBerry. Chris Umiastowski wrote a controversial article on CrackBerry a week ago about what it would take for him to get on BB10 again and one of those things was access to the Android app catalog. I wonder if this counts.

He did say the apps were a big deal, but I got the feeling he also meant apps that use Google play services which still won't be there with the Amazon app store. It's definitely a nice step for BB though

wezi427 says:

I think it's a little too late.

I'm the kind of guy who stops a microwave at one second to feel like a bomb defuser.

hmmm says:

I would be very happy if I was required to use a Blackberry. This wouldn't get me to switch voluntarily though.

pgg101 says:

Been using Amazon and Snap (Google Play client) since 10.2. Business as usual.

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toukale says:

This would be good if it had access to the best Appstore, or google play, but amazon! Really. Amazon appstore is way behind in apps and app updates, nevermind services. Since Apple does not like to play with anyone that was not an option, not sure why they did not go to google, if you gonna go android you may as well go with the genuine article instead of someone riding the cocktail of google. I guess for blackberry something is better than nothing.

SBM_from_LA says:

You do know that in order to use Google's Play Store you MUST install ALL of Google's services and apps. I have two Samsung devices and I use Amazon's App store a lot more than the Google Play Store. I also think Amazon's version is a lot more organized... As far as Google having more apps... that would be true... if you count the thousands of clones of the same apps... or apps that are pretty much worthless...

malwayne66 says:

Great news for BlackBerry 10 users. Its no Google Play Store but its basically the next best thing. This should have been done from D Day of BlackBerry 10 for them to appeal to regular users considering they have a great Android Runtime in their devices. Ill probably till get my apps through an actual Android device though.

bbmtna says:

Nothing wrong with this news at all.

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vpblaze says:

Great step in the right direction. Now they just need to allow the Play Store and problem solved. Everyone wins!

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grydlok says:

Amazon app store is terrible, I look at it every day I use my wife's kindle fire HDX. Hell I'm typing this comment on it. If this thing was mine I would root it and install Google's app store.

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patstar5 says:

And blackberry continues to fall. ... At least nokia will live on in microsoft and they are still there own company, just without the phones. Newkia anyone?

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Mac58 says:

How exactly does Amazon have its own app store, if all it carries are apps for android? I dont get it.... Seriously can someone explain to me how they are able to do this?

They are just apk files uploaded to Amazon instead of Google Play

zlos7ar says:

Maybe because apps are owned by developers and not by Google Play ? So basically everyone can make its own app store .

Mac58 says:

But then does Amazon have the right to license those same apps to blackberry? If I was a developer I guess I would have mixed emotions, because I will make some money by them doing this, but basically Amazon is playing middle man and reaping the most benefits/monetary gains.

kinster02 says:

Now that they will be gaining access to Amazon app store and reducing the app gap. I just want to see if this will bring more consumers to BB as they claim it was because of lack of apps or easier access to apps is the reason why no one brought BB!0 phones. Sorry BB if I want Android apps I will buy an Android phone. Not hating on BB as you BB fans claim, I just never wanted a BB.

Xader says:

I don't know about bringing consumers TO BlackBerry, but it may very well bring some BACK.

BB10 really is an amazing OS, and I, for one, only came to Android because of the app gap.

CanAm89 says:

I'm a diehard Blackberry user, so I can give my "biased" opinion on this.

It isn't going to help at all. The problem with the BB10 devices isn't functionality or number of apps- it's that BB is invisible to most consumers. They don't market at all. One shitty little Superbowl commercial and bringing on Alicia Keyes did *nothing* for BB brand awareness because there was no mass appeal and they failed to let people know that BB is still around and their new devices are pretty damn good. Marketing has always been their weak suit and they haven't *once* said, "Hey guys, our new phones are nothing like the old ones, check them out!" Instead we get a BB logo on the Mercedes F1 cars that you can barely see as it zips by, or maybe one or two panels in a couple NHL rinks and on the back of some hockey tickets. Other than that, where have they been visible?

For the most part, the only people that are aware that the BB10 devices are very viable, great phones are the ones that use them. Otherwise, Blackberry has done exactly nothing to fix that. They thought their brand was worth a lot more to consumers than it is, but in the end the BB name just brings up bad memories for your average consumer.

zlos7ar says:

well every phone user needs either Google or Microsoft/Nokia services. If you don't have access to one of those congrats you have an overpriced feature phone

mammlouk says:

This seems like a much needed move for Blackberry. They have been struggling to remain relevant , especially without having a good app selection. This should be a huge boon for anyone considering or already using Blackberry. It will be interesting to see what sort of marketing they put behind this to get things rolling.

GameBoi says:

Good for them. To be honest, I only use a hand full of apps on my Note 2. Mostly social apps, so this is great for BB users. Something tells me that BB are the makers of the Amazon phone or even the next Fire. If they come together, maybe let Amazon fork BB10, who knows, they both could be powerful.

sibeans says:

I hope there will be an effort to curate compatible apps as some run better than others

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