Amazon Appstore heads to BlackBerry 10 phones

The app marketplace will be available on BlackBerry 10 phones when version 10.3 of the mobile OS launches this fall.

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BlackBerry Z10 Josh Miller/CNET

BlackBerry and Amazon have formed a strategic partnership that will see the Seattle e-commerce giant's app marketplace make its way to BlackBerry devices.

When the BlackBerry 10.3 mobile operating system launches this fall, users will have access to the Amazon Appstore, BlackBerry announced Wednesday. The move is meant to make BlackBerry devices more appealing to consumers by offering more game, music, video, and other mobile apps, while also letting the struggling handset maker focus on developing apps aimed at enterprise customers.

Amazon's app marketplace offers over 240,000 Android apps, including popular apps like Netflix, Candy Crush Saga, and Minecraft. BlackBerry 10 supports apps designed for Google's Android mobile operating system, letting users install them on their BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry and Amazon have also begun working with developers to move their apps from the BlackBerry World app store to Amazon's Appstore. BlackBerry 10.3 users will still have access to BlackBerry World, which offers approximately 130,000 apps.

The companies didn't say how many apps will be available to BlackBerry users once the Appstore makes its way to BlackBerry 10.3. Neither BlackBerry nor Amazon announced the terms of their agreement.

CNET has contacted both Amazon and BlackBerry for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

The move makes sense for BlackBerry. The Canadian handset maker has consistently said it plans to focus its software application development on enterprise-focused programs. By offloading the management of on-device application marketplaces to Amazon, the company gets to do just that.

"Making the Amazon Appstore available on BlackBerry 10 devices will help BlackBerry continue to meet two essential needs: greater app availability for our smartphone users and enhanced productivity solutions for enterprises," said John Chen, BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We've listened to our customers and have taken this important step to deliver on their needs, while executing on our strategy."

BlackBerry has had difficulty getting leading apps for its marketplace, due in large part to its smartphones' lack of popularity. Its selection of apps is limited compared to Google's Play store and Apple's App Store, which both offer more than 1 million apps. By adding Amazon's Appstore to its devices, BlackBerry can easily offer users Android versions of apps that aren't available in BlackBerry World. However, even combined with apps from Amazon's Appstore, BlackBerry's app offering falls short next to Apple and Google.

BlackBerry is scheduled to announce its fiscal first-quarter earnings on Thursday and will likely provide more details on the financial side of the Amazon transaction. News of the partnership also comes on the same day as an Amazon event where the company is widely expected to unveil its first smartphone. CNET will be bringing you all the details, photos, and commentary from the event, which kicks off today at 10:30 a.m. PT/ 1:30 p.m. ET.

 

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