BlackBerry Announces Amazon Appstore Partnership, Triples Available Apps In An Instant

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BlackBerry CEO John Chen, shown in a file photo, has taken a more aggressive stance against critics and threats to the Canadian handset manufacturer.

BlackBerry’s app store is about to triple in size. On the eve of Amazon’s smartphone announcement, the online retail behemoth announced an app store partnership, Wednesday, with Ontario, Canada-based BlackBerry Limited.

The current BlackBerry app store has about 130,000 apps available for download. Amazon’s app store has over 240,000, bringing the total number of apps available to BlackBerry users to 370,000. The app store deal may still be too little too late, however. While this partnership effectively opens a floodgate to users, the number still pales in comparison to Google’s Play store and Apple’s App Store, which both have over one million apps each.

BlackBerry said that the Amazon App Store will be preloaded on all new devices and BlackBerry 10, the next version of BlackBerry’s operating system, both of which ship in the fall.

The announcement comes just a day before BlackBerry is scheduled to release its fiscal first quarter earnings, which are expected to be a loss. BlackBerry CEO John Chen is currently in the process of rebuilding the once great company, and the apps store deal seems to be a pressure release for him.

"I do not have to spend time, energy and money" developing apps that Amazon currently offers, Mr. Chen told the Wall Street Journal. "Given [that] I want to financially turn around the company and focus on the enterprise space, this is perfect for us."

BlackBerry was once synonymous with mobile email and business, but was, like most smartphones, dethroned by Apple’s iPhone. Chen still sees his company as a business-oriented, while the rest of the market is saturated with consumer-focused smartphones.

"Our focuses are different," Chen said. "My devices are focused on the enterprise, highly secure."

Amazon’s smartphone will probably not compete with BlackBerry either, according to Chen, as it is said to be more consumer driven. While, it is unclear whether Amazon’s new smartphone will take advantage of the 130,000 apps currently offered by BlackBerry, Amazon is clearly the winner in this partnership as customers will likely rush to download long-waited apps like Netflix and Candy Crush. 

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