ORLANDO -- For Research In Motion, this week has been all about BlackBerry 10, the new operating system for its phones that's set to debut to customers in the fall. Until BB10's big debut, though, RIM faces an uphill battle in app support from major brands, say mobile-developer companies.
That's because even though RIM is understandably enthusiastic about BlackBerry 10 -- and it even may have some technical advantages over competitors -- for now the company is still living in a BlackBerry 7 universe. And that universe doesn't see a lot of demand from big names -- reps from software-development companies Appcelerator, bitHeads and Xtreme Labs all say demand for BlackBerry apps from their customers is slim to none.
[More from Mashable: With BlackBerry 10, RIM Is Fighting the Wrong War]
While that might appear to contradict the good-sounding numbers RIM posted about the recent growth in BlackBerry App World, those numbers don't reveal the quality of apps, or who's making them. The BlackBerry platform still doesn't have native apps for Skype, Netflix, Hulu, Readability, CNN (just launchers), Instagram or even Google+.
"When it comes to a platform that may be struggling, the last thing they want to do is blow a whole bunch of money into it," says Xtreme Labs' Mike Stern on developers creating apps for BlackBerry. "They're waiting for demand to make it a necessary expense versus exploratory."
[More from Mashable: Meet the First Round of BlackBerry 10 Apps]
BlackBerry 7 is a dying platform, so it's not surprising big companies aren't bothering to invest the money to create apps. However, it also means those same companies aren't interested in cultivating good will with RIM or its existing base of 77 million customers. On top of that, many apps from major brands, like eBay, only get made because RIM pays for it, says Chris Forrester of bitHeads, which developed the app.
RIM has high hopes that BlackBerry 10 will make such "checkbook evangelism" unnecessary. The new OS has a lot of promise, but Stern suspects it won't be a pancea for RIM's absentee-app issue.
"If you're a brand owner, what are you going to do? It's not even a question of whether RIM will pay you to do it. It's a question of whether you have the resources and fortitude to support another implementation of your brand on a new platform."
That leaves many major brands adopoting a "wait and see" approach to whether or not they'll develop a BlackBerry app. The question then becomes, how much waiting can RIM endure?
What do you think RIM should do to get more app-development interest from major brands? Share your suggestions in the comments.
BONUS: The First Round of BlackBerry 10 Apps
The trailer for Nova 3 just went up, and is getting widespread attention. Gameloft said it was committed to bringing the game to BlackBerry 10, along with Shark Dash.
This story originally published on Mashable here.