Developers see bleak BlackBerry future, use Android as a backup

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A survey of mobile application developers shows falling confidence in the future of BlackBerry devices. Baird Equity Research supplied the survey, which focused on all mobile platforms, with AllThingsD sharing some of the data. The results don’t bode well for Research In Motion as its future platform is delayed at a time the company is already far behind its peers.

In the second quarter of 2012, Baird asked developers to rate the following on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest: How do you view the long-term outlook for the following platforms? This same question was asked in the first quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year, with the most recent scores also included. Here’s what the scores look like:

Even with my bad eyesight, it’s clear that developer interest in both BlackBerry and BlackBerry 10 — in addition to Windows Phone — is waning significantly. And without developers to make apps for a platform these days, it’s practically a given that the platform won’t see major success with consumers; no matter how good the platform may be. These days, people are investing in platforms, not products, so without a full-featured app ecosystem, demand will suffer.

Which platform are these BlackBerry developers turning to? Android appears to be the big “winner” here, likely due to RIM’s support for Android apps in BlackBerry 10.

The survey data shows that 31 percent of BlackBerry developers have shifted some or all of their efforts toward Android; a smart move because the apps they develop will potentially work on both platforms. But what does that say when nearly a third of BlackBerry developers have abandoned native apps for RIM’s platform?

It tells me that these programmers are turning an Android backup plan into their future primary strategy: If the Android apps run on BlackBerry devices and RIM somehow manages a turnaround, great, but if not, there are a few hundred million Android devices to make money on.

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