Let’s hear it for BlackBerry App World – store hits three billion downloads milestone

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 - App World

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BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has been having such a hard time of it lately that it’s actually rather pleasing to be able to report something a little brighter about the troubled company.

It concerns BlackBerry App World, RIM’s Google Play or iOS app store equivalent. The Ontario-based mobile maker reached something of a milestone this week, announcing that downloads from its app store had hit the three billion mark.

Sure, Android and iOS users may scoff at such figures, with each of those stores having hit the 20-billion-plus download figure some time ago, but for RIM it’s a chance to draw some positive attention to its app offerings, indeed, an opportunity to bust “a myth out there that there aren’t [many] apps for BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet,” as the company put it in a post on its BlackBerry Developer blog on Friday.

The post’s author, Victoria B, said that on average, 2.5 million apps are being downloaded from BlackBerry App World each day. “What’s even more important – and impressive – is that the number of daily downloads continues to increase,” she continued. “It took 786 days to reach the one billion mark, 210 days to reach two billion, and only 176 days to reach the three billion number.”

The figures include only those apps downloaded from BlackBerry App World – in other words, not those downloaded from third party BlackBerry app stores, or those pushed internally at companies. Apps downloaded directly from the web are also not included in the figures.

There are currently 90,000 apps now in its app store, according to RIM’s data. Again, it’s a small number when you consider there are more than half a million available for iOS devices and a similar number for Android devices, so yes, RIM still has some serious catching up to do. If the store can keep app developers on board until RIM releases its next-generation BlackBerry 10 devices next year, then, depending on the popularity of its new offerings, things might pick up even more for BlackBerry App World.

Despite tough times for the mobile maker, CEO Thorsten Heins is focusing on the positive as he attempts to turn the fortunes of the company around. “As some pundits write RIM’s obituary, the company’s global subscriber base continues to grow, to more than 78 million people in 175 countries,” he wrote in a piece for the Globe and Mail last week, adding, “In many of those countries – some of the fastest growing markets in the world – RIM is the top smart-phone; and in some, RIM devices account for the top three spots.” Friday’s news of an app store continuing to grow, albeit at a modest rate, should also please the man at the top.