BlackBerry

theScore update their BlackBerry 10 app by replacing it with an Android port

Earlier this week, theScore updated its sports app for BlackBerry 10. The update comes with a variety of performance improvements and new features that brought parity with its Android and iOS counterparts.

It turns out that the parity is not a coincidence as the new version is actually a port of theScore’s recently updated Android app.

Now before we go any further, theScore’s BlackBerry 10 app used the Adobe Air runtime and BlackBerry are to remove the Adobe AIR runtime from the BlackBerry 10 OS in a future release. It takes about ten minutes to repackage existing BlackBerry 10 Adobe AIR apps as Android apps, and port them to BlackBerry 10 but for a company with an existing Android app that wouldn’t make sense.

When you take that into consideration, theScore had two options here – bring their recent Android version to BlackBerry 10 or develop a native BlackBerry 10 application. Clearly, theScore chose the Android option.

The reality is that the the ‘update’ is in fact a wholly new app rather than a true update. theScore has said in a support article that support for the older BlackBerry 10 version will soon cease.

The older version will soon cease to be supported and you can delete this from your device.

Make no mistake, tbis is not good for native BlackBerry 10 development. theScore is a Canadian company who just recently obtained $17.25M in financing. Despite that, they clearly have no interest in development costs of a native BlackBerry 10 app.

This is the first time (that I’m aware of) that a BlackBerry 10 app has been “updated” and replaced with an Android version. It may not be the last!

Implementing the Android run time on BlackBerry 10 was a dubious strategy from day one. Developers who currently develop Android apps no longer need to consider native BlackBerry. Why should they bother learning a new language, tools etc, not to mention development costs, when they can simply bring their Android apps to BlackBerry 10.

Android on BlackBerry is an inferior experience and isn’t 100% compatible with recent or older Android versions. Getting apps onto the device is convoluted and only used by a minority of BlackBerry users. Importantly, it doesn’t support Google Services or any Android apps that rely on them.

Despite that, even senior BlackBerry execs are beginning to enthuse about Android on their BlackBerry. Only the other day, I was talking to Markus Mueller, BlackBerry‘s managing director for Europe, who was telling me enthusiastically how pleased he is that he can run Spotify on his BlackBerry 10 device.

Implementing Android on BlackBerry 10 was a desperate measure after BlackBerry failed to bring developers to BlackBerry 10 in the numbers they required. Will we reach a stage where Android apps outnumber BlackBerry apps on a BlackBerry? It is a distinct possibility.  If we do, then what is the point of continuing with the BlackBerry 10 OS? BlackBerry may just as well resort to producing Android devices!

The only alternative is to provide realistic inducements to entice developers to develop natively.
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