BlackBerry couldn’t have picked a better day for its latest news: It has entered a licensing agreement with Amazon to get Amazon Appstore apps on BlackBerry handsets. Once the BlackBerry 10.3 software update arrives this fall, BlackBerry handset owners will gain more than 200,000 apps that can be installed on their phones, the company said on Wednesday.
The timing is pretty good because Amazon is holding a press event later today where it is widely expected to introduce its first smartphone. We’ll be there on the scene and live-blogging the news here starting around 10am PT. It’s possible that Amazon gives BlackBerry a mention here, which would remind many that the company is still around.
BlackBerry devices were previously capable of running some Android apps, which is how the company tried to expand the software its phones could run. Amazon’s apps are basically Android apps at their heart, given that Amazon’s Fire OS software is built upon the free, open source version of Android. So technically, this isn’t much a stretch although there will surely be some app limitations due to different hardware APIs and such.
BlackBerry is also going to shut down its own music and video services, according to the announcement. Instead, BlackBerry device owners can “access video and music services through a number of popular third-party services available through the Amazon Appstore and BlackBerry World.”
What will this do for BlackBerry itself? Not much: People who aren’t buying BlackBerry devices today won’t suddenly change their mind this fall as a result of this particular development. But its a win for current BlackBerry 10 device owners, not to mention Amazon, which is surely getting something out of this deal whether it is user data, money, or both.