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More bad news: Developers are giving up on BlackBerry, too [updated]

Zach Epstein
July 13th, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Research In Motion has shown us some pretty awesome things so far with BlackBerry 10. Areas of the mobile OS look fresh and exciting, and for the first time in a long time, RIM looks to be innovating in a few key areas rather than just playing catch-up. The problem, however, is that RIM is trying to rebound by introducing a brand new platform at what is likely the worst time in the smartphone industry’s history to introduce a new platform.

Updated with a statement from RIM after final paragraph.

Android and iOS are absolutely dominating the industry right now, and a promising third player has emerged from Microsoft and Nokia. This doesn’t paint a pretty picture for RIM. According to Nielsen, only 4% of new smartphones purchased in the United States in the second quarter were BlackBerry devices. This is down from an already slumping 15% just two quarters earlier, and the news comes as RIM continues to shed global market share as well.

A recent survey from Baird Equity Research suggests that RIM’s slide isn’t just a trend among consumers and enterprise customers, however — developers are losing faith with as well. The firm surveyed 200 developers and found that, on a scale of 1 to 10, their outlook for the BlackBerry 10 OS fell from 6.1 in the second quarter last year and 4.6 in the first quarter of 2012 to 3.8 in the second quarter. Their outlook on BlackBerry 7 slid as well, from 3.8 to 2.8.

On the same scale, developer interest in Apple’s iOS platform was rated at 9.3 and Google’s Android was scored 8.7.

New platforms will eventually be introduced and find success in the smartphone industry, there is no question. But to push a new mobile OS out to market now — or in the first quarter of 2013, when we also have a new iPhone on the market along with dozens of Jelly Bean devices — is a recipe for disaster… and developers are following the money.

UPDATE: RIM contacted BGR via email with a statement from Alec Saunders, Vice President Developer Relations and Ecosystems, to respond to Baird’s findings:

The developer community for BlackBerry 10 is not only thriving, it is engaged and enthusiastic. Developers have been providing feedback to us very regularly on the tools, the investment and commitment we’ve made in developers and most importantly, the opportunities they see on BlackBerry 10. I have heard time and again that developers are re-discovering our platform and that it is incredibly open and easy to work with. I have also been told consistently that no one in the mobile space is treating developers better than RIM is.

We’ve seen amazing interest in the BlackBerry 10 platform. The BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour we are currently hosting in 23 cities across the globe has seen over capacity registration in almost every city, including New York, Santa Clara, Toronto and Montreal. We have already spoken to almost 5,000 developers and the feedback has been phenomenal (don’t take my word for it, search #bb10jam). In the past year our app vendor base has grown 157 per cent and the compound growth of new apps added year over year to BlackBerry App World is 75%. We are thrilled with the response from the developer community to BlackBerry 10 and cannot wait to see what developers are building.

RIM also pointed out a number of developer success stories, which have been collected and are available on its developer site, and the company responded to Baird in a post on its corporate blog as well.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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