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Blackberry Software Spam

Single Developer Responsible For Over 47k Apps In BlackBerry World 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
hypnosec writes "If you are a BlackBerry owner, navigate to BlackBerry World (or just visit the website) and you will find that developer S4BB has developed over 47k apps for the BB platform. Unsurprisingly, most of them are just spammy apps that don't add any value. Apps like 'Restart Me Free,' 'Daily Quote,' 'Lock for SMS,' 'Search for Amazon,' 'Silent Foto Free' are just a few among the thousands of apps on BlackBerry World that actually have no utility whatsoever. BlackBerry announced back in May that developers were increasingly interested in making apps for the platform, and that BlackBerry World had more than 120,000 apps. This raises questions about the authenticity of the claims, and about the approval process that's been accepting these apps. S4BB may have a few useful apps for the platform, but that doesn't mean all of their apps are of 'A' quality. A statement from BlackBerry said, 'Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics.'"
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Single Developer Responsible For Over 47k Apps In BlackBerry World

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  • heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:37PM (#44634873) Homepage Journal

    We let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics

    The same market forces that cause no one I know to actually own a blackberry?

    • by realmolo (574068)

      Exactly.

      Blackberry is dead in the United States, and it will be dead in the rest of the world within the next 5 years. Probably less. They blew it.

      • Re:heh (Score:5, Funny)

        by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:50PM (#44635081)

        They blew it.

        There's an app for that.

      • by narcc (412956)

        Weren't they supposed to be dead by 2012 then 2013? Now, suddenly, they'll be dead in the next 5 years? I'm starting to see a trend.

        Yes, I've used iOS and Android. No thanks. I'll stick to the uncool platform that actually meets my needs.

        The excellent developer tools are just icing on an already tasty cake.

        • Re:heh (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Russ1642 (1087959) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:58PM (#44635221)

          Companies seem to stick around quite a while after they're dead. Kodak is still around for crying out loud. Doesn't make them any less dead.

          • Kodak consumer cameras are everywhere along with printers, ink, paper, and print kiosks not so sure I would say dead... maybe stagnant. A camera is a single purpose device but everyone has a cell phone with a camera and even cheap ones can have 5 mega-pixels. {better than 3.5x5 photo stock}

            • by Dzimas (547818)
              Kodak exited the consumer digital camera market in 2006 when they handed over the design, manufacturing and distribution of camera equipment to Flextronics.
              • I had to look them up. They are basically a full design, manufacturing, parts supplier, and distribution outsource and they also have Lenova as a client.

              • Not the design, or IP though [flextronics.com].

                Under the agreement, Kodak will divest its entire digital camera manufacturing requirements to Flextronics, including assembly, production, and testing. Flextronics will also manage the operations and logistics services for Kodak's digital still cameras. Kodak will continue to develop the high- level system design, product look and feel and user experience, and will conduct advanced research and development for its digital still cameras. Kodak will also retain its intellectual

        • Just be ause the headless chicken continues to run around the yard does not mean it's alive.

          Blackberry is dead and has been for a while. The body just hasn't realized it yet.

          • Just because the headless chicken continues to run around the yard does not mean it's alive.

            Mike the Headless Chicken lived for two years with no head.

          • by P-niiice (1703362)
            Any company with the ability to produce a product is one new product away from success, so you shouldn't call them dead until they're really, really dead (cannot design and produce new products).
        • by jon3k (691256)
          He said it's dead in the US and will be dead in the rest of the world 5 years. Not literally dead, obviously, as it's a company and doesn't have any corporeal form. The term means loosely that the company is on a massive, steady decline.

          But feel free to ride that dying horse right into the grave, honestly, no sarcasm - you might as well. I'm not even going to argue with you over the merits of the device versus it's competitors because it doesn't matter. The simple fact of the matter is that, in a few
        • Yes, I've used iOS and Android. No thanks. I'll stick to the uncool platform that actually meets my needs.

          The excellent developer tools are just icing on an already tasty cake.

          Ok, I'll bite.

          What are the "meets my needs" that the Blackberry is fulfilling? I'm not satisfied entirely with the iPhone or Android market, but I'm having trouble myself identifying why precisely --- what is your perspective on what both platforms are missing because I'd like another perspective on this .... thanks in advance.

        • by Eivind (15695)

          They are. They had 75% of the smartphone-market. Now they've got like 3% of the smartphone market.

          Since that's a pretty big market, 3% is still plenty of devices sold, but it's hardly possible to have a steeper decline in marketshare than they've had.

          • by hhw (683423)
            They had 75% of the smartphone market at a time when smartphones were a much smaller portion of the overall mobile phone market. Their drop has not been anywhere near as precipitous as the 96% drop you suggest.
            • by Eivind (15695)

              Not in number-of-units-sold, no. But in brainshare ? Seriously -- at this point blackberries are "legacy", a few folks use them because that's what they're used to or that's what their bussiness is adapted to, but pretty much zero -new- users come in.

          • the smartphone market isn't necessarily a great baseline.

            making up numbers completely, It could be argued:

            they had 90% of the corporate_mobile_email_phone device market.
            They now have 60% of the corporate_mobile_email_phone device market.

            the broader smartphone market has exploded, and apart from a few niches where bbm is valued highly, they have almost completely failed to succeed in the new market.

            not that I don't think they're dead - just that I like alternate perspectives!

            • by Eivind (15695)

              That's the thing though, I HIGHLY doubt they've got 60% of the corporate mobile email phone market. Unless you define that market in a so contrived way that most people who have a corporate-bought phone that's primarily used for reading email on the go, are not included.

              Not a single one of the 10 biggest corporations where I'm at even offers blackberry as an option. They've all either standardised on Iphones or some Android-model, or they give employees a choice between 2-3 models, none of which are made by

      • by jon3k (691256)
        Mike Lazaridis will go down as the biggest tech failure in history. He took one of the most massively dominant market positions and lost it in the shortest period I've ever seen. And the only reason was his pure, blind ego.
        • Someone else already said "Nokia" so spiritually I don't have anything useful to add ---- except how Microsoft keeps blowing it in the mobile/tablet market --- I guess I'm saying sure Blackberry isn't doing so "hot" --- but at the same time don't Microsoft and Nokia bear the standard for "epic fail" --- so don't be too mean to Blackberry just yet --- they've had to lay off who knows how many percent of their employees --- and they aren't evil like M$ or a donkey for M$ like Nokia --- I'm saying let the Blac
        • by P-niiice (1703362)
          With windows 8, and RT, Ms could be on that list if Xbox one fails the way they seem to want it to.
    • by WarJolt (990309)

      Assuming it takes a week to write each app, 40 hours a week and $20 an hour. 47000* 40*20 that a $37.6 million worthless investment because no one buys blackberry apps. I say that's a conservative estimate.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        I say that's a conservative estimate.

        I'd say that's a very generous estimate.

        We're likely talking about shovelware, which doesn't really do much. If you just crank out an endless stream of nearly identical apps ... well, you can produce useless garbage much faster than that.

        Do you really think this 47k useful, well thought out apps that have any meaningful functionality? Me, I figure he's made a crap ton on minor variants of a handful of apps and submitted them.

        This sounds more like the PT Barnum school

      • Assuming it takes a week to write each app

        Bad assumption. Once you have a basic "app framework", the apps listed should take about ten minutes each.

      • by mlk (18543)

        How many are the same application with a config value changed?

      • I seriously doubt that the average turnaround time for an app that restarts your phone or turns on the camera flash is a week of full-time labor. It's not like they write the same boilerplate code for each app, they import the framework and then add the app-specific logic.

        BlackBerry World has been live for 52 months. So they have produced an average of 903 apps per month, or ~225 apps per week, or ~29 apps per day. They aren't spending a week on each app, and they have not put in 37 million dollars worth

      • by Exitar (809068)

        At the rate of one app per week, the guy should have been born in 1109.

      • At 47,000 apps, hes got a template churning them out. Plug in a few values and its done.
      • by jandrese (485)
        Look at the app list. He's clearly writing them with a script. One app for every sound in his stock sounds folder. One app for every link in his bookmarks file. That sort of thing. There are a few oddball apps here and there that probably took a couple of hours to crank out, but this guy is not spending real time on the vast majority of his works. He's clearly using a spray and pray approach, hoping that enough random $0.99 downloads of apps that just load the mobile version of the webpage you could h
      • Uh --- then I want to hire this guy. Because if he himself can produce 47000 hours of apps in 6 months --- well --- he can kick your butt back and forth (or even Forth!) across the parking lot 10 times over in productivity. To you get what I'm saying here in terms of human productivity? I don't care if you know how to click Start->Programs->Calculator ---- this guy is rolling out the apps? Can you do that? If not, go have a nice hot cup of STF owned! Seriously --- you do that kind of productivit
    • Re:heh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cybermancer (99420) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:59PM (#44635235) Homepage

      I actually have a Blackberry Playbook (I realize you don't know me, so it doesn't invalidate your claim). It is really nice hardware. The OS is a little weird in places, but it is very fast. The killer is there are so few apps that I want to download. Discovery of useful apps in their store is not very easy either.

      It is sad. Mostly use it for email and web surfing.

      • Re:heh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @04:05PM (#44635303)

        You mean the Blackberry device that didn't come with an email app at launch? And doesn't have it's own cell connection, requiring a Blackberry to piggyback off of? The device reeks of 'design by committee'.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        My wife has one too. And it crashes, hangs, and is generally not very useful.

        It's also had terrible battery life, and BB has stopped issuing updates for it.

        It's a product which was DOA.

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)
          If you aren't just trolling then it may be defective. I haven't had any of the issues you just mentioned. The battery lasts for weeks with light use. If you would like to still use it I would suggest reinstalling the OS clean [blackberry.com] and see if it doesn't clear up.
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            If you aren't just trolling then it may be defective.

            LOL, no, I'm not trolling ... and, yes, we've concluded that it's defective, just maybe not in the way you mean. For the stuff she runs on it, it has been a horrible mess, and I frequently get glared at since I'm the one who bought it for her.

            The battery lasts for weeks with light use.

            She found after one of the last updates they gave her battery life went up by quite a bit. But mostly she finds the hanging and crashing drives her insane.

            If you would li

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)
        You know you can install Android [goodereader.com] apps on it...right?
      • Re:heh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RedHackTea (2779623) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @05:23PM (#44636071)
        Besides the 47k apps, it looks like the guy wrote a script to up-star all of his apps -- which makes searching for useful apps a pain. The majority of them are 4stars+: http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/102/?countrycode=US [blackberry.com]
      • by rsborg (111459)

        I actually have a Blackberry Playbook (I realize you don't know me, so it doesn't invalidate your claim). It is really nice hardware. The OS is a little weird in places, but it is very fast. The killer is there are so few apps that I want to download. Discovery of useful apps in their store is not very easy either.

        It is sad. Mostly use it for email and web surfing.

        Isn't the Amazon Kindle Fire supposed to use the same/similar hardware as the Playbook used? I know I've seen both in person and they looked similar... if that's the case, then the Playbook hardware lives on spiritually in the (original) Kindle Fire, of which there are millions out there.

      • I've used one, I have clients with them, and they're dreadfully slow and bulky by my standards.

    • Re:heh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Skater (41976) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @04:31PM (#44635603) Homepage Journal

      I have one, albeit not my own - it's my employer's. (It's a "Curve" - not the current BB 10 OS.)

      I really don't like it. We're apparently getting iPhones soon to replace them, and I'm ready. I have an S3 now, my previous phone was an iPhone 3GS (which I still use for one app that doesn't have an Android version), so I've used all three OSes, and honestly, BB's is annoying to use. Other than checking my work email, I rarely use the phone. I thought the physical keyboard would be a plus, but it turns out I can type as well on my 3GS or my S3 as I can with the BB, and when I'm not typing on the iOS/Android, I get a bigger useful screen.

      One other annoying quirk that ensures I'll never be tempted to buy a BB: It only charges off its own included charger, and my Samsung S3's charger. No other charger works. We probably have 25 or 30 USB chargers around the house, in the cars, etc., for a bunch of devices - we have several iPods around, an iPad, iPhones, my Samsung phone, my Asus tablet, plus a bunch more chargers of various brands. I tried every last charger; the phone simply refuses to charge from all but the BB and Samsung ones. So, when I need the BB most, when I'm traveling, I have to remember to grab one of those two chargers (one of which I keep at work). (Note, my Asus tablet is the same way - it only works with its own charger - but at least it doesn't have a standard USB port interface, either. And that USB charger WILL charge my Samsung phone, so except for the BB I would only need to carry that charger.) At least with the iPhone 5 I'd only need the Lightning cable, any USB charger will work with it.

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)
        One man's trash I guess. I am in the exact opposite camp. I have a 4S, a Galaxy SII, and a BB Bold 9900. I haven't turned the 4S on in months and I use the SII for games. The email on the iPhone and Android are cumbersome to me compared to BB and having to remember to change the password for email on my phone when I change it on my PC so I don't get locked out is a PITA. My BB is always connected to the company network but if I want to connect on the iPhone I have to launch VPN and if the screen times out w
    • Hey wait a second...I own a blackberry. Two actually. They're sitting in a drawer with a bunch of other old and obsolete phones.

      At one point, I was against touchscreens - that was back when they sucked. These days, just about anything running android and iphones are better than anything Rim ever put out.

      • Between the large scale acceptance of touchscreens and Apple and Google licensing ActiveSync, that is what has made BlackBerry's irrelevant.

    • "The same market forces that cause no one I know to actually own a blackberry?"

      That's a different subject.

      People who expect a "walled garden" like Apple or even Google are surprised. Okay.

      But the old saying, which has been around far longer than smartphones, is "Caveat Emptor". If you don't like a free marketplace then don't buy shit there. If you do like a free marketplace, don't download shit programs. Neither the law or the world are supposed to be designed to protect people from their own stupidity.

      Having said that: yes, Blackberry made some marketing mistakes. But they a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you go to the company website at http://www.s4bb.com/about/, you find its location as :

    S4BB Limited
    1104 Crawford House
    70 Queen’s Road Central
    Central
    Hong Kong

    Interestingly, this address is a virtual office, as shown on

    http://www.jumpstartoffices.com/eng/virtual-office/hong-kong/crawford-house/

    This means that you have no slightest idea of where this company is located...

  • by totalnet (732635) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:47PM (#44635033)
    spam for BlackBerry.
  • FIRST POST! (Score:5, Funny)

    by localman57 (1340533) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:50PM (#44635075)
    FIRST POST! -This automated post is a service of S4BB Slashdot First Post Blackberry App
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by operagost (62405)
      Your automated post was BLOCKED FROM VIEWING by S4BB Slashdot First Post Blocker Blackberry App
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:57PM (#44635213) Journal
    One of the old posts in slashdot suggested people with desirable phones like iPhones and Samsung androids to get fake blackberry like skin to make the phone less attractive to thieves and snatchers. So if Blackberry copyrights the skin design they can actually make some money off their own suckitude.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      get fake blackberry like skin to make the phone less attractive to thieves and snatchers

      Good God... This was Microsoft's secret plan with the Zune all along! They'll make BILLIONS

  • Doesn't Apple and Android also allow selling books as apps? Then you have all the apps that are little more than portals to websites. All of these are legit. Looking at counts is pretty silly.
  • So basically one person wrote half of all of the BB apps?

  • by timmyf2371 (586051) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @04:15PM (#44635425)

    While I'm sure there are plenty of apps on all platforms that have no utility whatsoever, the submitter did a poor job in selecting some of the apps in the BB App World that would be worthy of this description.

    Restart me free: Seems useful enough in that it allows a restart of the device without having pull the battery. Is it really any less useful than creating a shortcut which opens the All Apps menu on the Windows 8 start menu?
    Daily Quote: I would have no use for this app, however this doesn't diminish the value it has to the people who use it.
    Silent Foto Free: as the name suggests, this app lets you take photos without the shutter noise. Could be useful in some situations; taking photos at a chess tournament immediately comes to mind.
    Lock for SMS: lets you PIN protect any app on the device. Surely ideal for parents wanting to stop their youngsters from accessing particular apps?
    Search for Amazon: looks like it simply redisplays the Amazon mobile site in an app and adds a few features e.g. writing a review into the native interface. In the absence of an official Amazon app for the Blackberry, it may well be useful for the avid Amazon shopper.

    • by 6ULDV8 (226100) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @04:25PM (#44635557)

      Search for Amazon: looks like it simply redisplays the Amazon mobile site in an app and adds a few features e.g. writing a review into the native interface. In the absence of an official Amazon app for the Blackberry, it may well be useful for the avid Amazon shopper.

      Especially while shopping for a new phone.

    • It's more like the "Wikipedia books" by Books LLC [wikipedia.org] or VDM Publishing [wikipedia.org], or perhaps the more creative approach of Philip M. Parker [singularityhub.com]. You generate a lot of stuff that nobody's interested in, but every now and then, you create something people actually buy. If the costs are low enough, it's even profitable.
  • ...of the hundreds of silly VB programmes around found on the *free* sites in the late '90's~ that opened the CD Tray on Windows machines.
  • I far and away prefer the Android.
    I had an ancient BB World edition, for the QWERTY keyboard (and that's about all it could do well, text/email)
    A had an Android tablet (tegra quad core something, cost me a pretty penny too) and the Android app store was quite easy to search.
    I now have an iPhone 4 and I *hate* it, typing any text it terrible, not least of which for the constant autocorrect getting in the way, but it's very difficult to find anything useful in the app store (a battery meter that displays a nu

  • Spammy SSD drives (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @06:07PM (#44636489)
    47,000 apps is nothing.

    I was looking to buy an SSD drive, so I tried amazon.co.uk. Entered "SSD" into search, restricted departments to "Computers and accessories".

    There are 96,000 different SSD drives for sale. 95,500 are sold by the same company. Their list of drives are: Assholecompany 64 GB SSD drive for Acer obscure model 1. Assholecompany 64 GB SSD drive for Acer obscure model 2. Assholecompany 64 GB SSD drive for Acer obscure model 3. .... Assholecompany 64 GB SSD drive for Zenith obscure model 497.

    Sorry, the name isn't assholecompany, it is "Arch Memory". They are basically performing a DOS attack against anyone else trying to sell SSD drives on Amazon.co.uk.
    • The easy way out of this is not to shop Amazon. Yep, that's the easy thing to say, but for me, a few pounds more with ebuyer or dabs and I know there's no dicking around like this...
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Years ago a place I worked at tried that with laptop LCD panels on Google. It worked for a while but then Google removed over 100,000 entires for individual models. In reality there were about 15 different model panels covering 99.9% of laptops.

  • Too bad though that because of people like him mine will never be proud of me. :(

    • by tgd (2822)

      Too bad though that because of people like him mine will never be proud of me. :(

      Slashdot is still proud of you!

  • by Bogtha (906264)

    This just reinforces what I said the other day [slashdot.org] about Apple's App Store approval process really making a difference to the quality of the applications available for iOS.

    Apple have a rule in their guidelines:

    2.20 Developers "spamming" the App Store with many versions of similar Apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program

  • I feel fairly sure that the $10,000 app guarantee had something to do with this. With 47K apps the odds that more than a few will cross the $1,000 threshold are pretty good.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17926037

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