RIM adds 15,000 new BlackBerry 10 apps in one weekend

Crisp $100 bills waved in devs' faces

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Research in Motion's BlackBerry App World store gained a healthy new crop of apps over the weekend, thanks to the company's "Port-a-thon" promotion, which offered developers $100 apiece to bring their existing apps to the BlackBerry 10 platform.

In a Twitter post late Saturday night, Alec Saunders, RIM's VP of developer relations, announced that the mini-contest had brought in 15,000 new app submissions in just 37.5 hours.

That sudden influx could boost the total number of apps available in the store when RIM launches its first BlackBerry 10 handsets on January 30. Last week, RIM chief marketing officer Frank Boulben promised that at least 70,000 apps would be ready by launch date, although CEO Thorsten Heins had earlier projected as many as 100,000.

Having a well-stocked app store is widely perceived as being essential for the success of any mobile platform. Apple, by far the leader in this category, boasts some 775,000 apps in its iOS App Store, and the Google Play store has nearly as many.

But platforms other than the Big Two have struggled to win much developer support. Microsoft only claims to host 120,000 apps in its Windows Phone store, despite the fact that it has been around since the days of Windows Phone 7. For RIM to have managed to drum up nearly 100,000 apps for what is essentially a brand new platform is a fairly impressive achievement.

Much of the credit for that success goes to Saunders, who since joining RIM in 2011 has pulled out all the stops to get developers involved with BlackBerry 10, even going so far as to record a motivational song and video.

Fun and games aside, Saunders' message to developers boils down to what is arguably the most effective incentive of all: money. If the Port-a-thon promotion – offering developers a measly $100 for each app they port – seems a little tight-fisted, that's only because it's a last-minute incentive.

Earlier, RIM offered developers an unusual guarantee: if a developer manages to break the $1,000 revenue mark in BlackBerry App World, RIM will guarantee that they will earn at least $10,000 – that is, if their sales after one year total less than $10,000, RIM will make up the difference.

Time will tell how often RIM will be forced to make good on that offer. In the meantime, developers who missed out on this weekend's Port-a-thon event have one more chance to port their apps to BlackBerry 10 and pocket $100.

The final "BlackBerry 10 Last Chance Port-A-Thon" will begin on January 18 and will run for 36 hours. It's a virtual event, so anyone can register to enter. Developers earn $100 for each app entered and approved, up to a maximum of 20 apps. Developers who submit five or more apps are automatically entered into a drawing for a new BlackBerry 10 handset. ®

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