Guest post by Ryan McDonald
Henrik Pfluger, CEO and founder of Bellshare GmbH, an application software development company based in Hamburg, Germany, focuses on building applications that help simplify lives.
“We deliver premium apps that are fun to interact with. We bring apps to the customer that they want to use every day, and BlackBerry 10 allows us to deliver ‘premium better’ – better look, better functionality, better experience.”
Voted BlackBerry App Developer of the Year 2010 by CrackBerry.com, Bellshare is the creator behind popular apps BeBuzz Pro, BeMaps 10 Pro, and BeWeather 10 that target the typical BlackBerry user – people who use their devices as productivity tools to get things done.
Bellshare started developing on the BlackBerry platform when working on a mobile instant messaging app for a major German mobile carrier. One of the carrier’s requirements was BlackBerry support. Despite never having developed for BlackBerry before, they rose to the challenge and were instantly hooked.
Developing for BlackBerry 10
Since that time, Bellshare has evolved with BlackBerry, and Henrik notes that BlackBerry 10 compares very favorably to other platforms, including previous BlackBerry operating systems. “BlackBerry 10 saves us time previously spent on putting together basic boilerplate controls and layouts. QML allows the creation of more compelling and interactive user interfaces in a fraction of the time.”
Henrick sees planning as a key to project success when considering BlackBerry 10 as a development platform. “BlackBerry 10 Native and Cascades have positive effects on project budget and requirements. It might be more time-consuming upfront, but you get that time back and are rewarded with a much better experience. We have grown pretty confident with our development process on BlackBerry 10 during the last year. There is not really anything that we would like to change.”
Bellshare’s patience and persistence have paid off. In 2013, their apps were downloaded over five million times on BlackBerry World – a significant number for a company whose revenue model is single upfront payment by the customer. “BlackBerry users are willing to spend the money for apps, especially compared to other platforms. Our BlackBerry 10 apps surpassed previous platforms within a year, and now make up the majority of our revenue.”
Distributing through BlackBerry World
Bellshare used to distribute apps using alternative app stores as well as its own web-based store in the past, but have now moved to offer the apps exclusively on BlackBerry World. “On another platform, we have suffered a tremendous amount of piracy of our BeWeather application. This is a problem we never see on BlackBerry. It’s so secure that we never had to think about piracy!”
Customers have also been pleased with Bellshare’s evolution with BlackBerry. “We have had great feedback, especially since the release of 10.2.1. We surpassed feature parity with BlackBerry 7, which is amazing to achieve in less than a year! Rapid prototyping and access to a huge library of source code has lowered costs, and sped our time to market.”
BlackBerry’s collaborative approach to working with developers has also played a role in Bellshare’s success in terms of monetization, discoverability, recognition, and support. “The support has been tremendous – especially on the BlackBerry forum, where we find real-time solutions to real problems. It has helped the whole BlackBerry 10 learning process, especially with headless apps.”
Built for BlackBerry-certified
Prominence in searches and feature lists on BlackBerry World are not the only benefits Bellshare has received from their participation in the Built for BlackBerry program. “The Built for BlackBerry designation shows our customers that our apps deliver the signature BlackBerry 10 experience and help our apps stand out in BlackBerry World. It results in more downloads, more revenue, and it shows your customer that you have met a certain quality standard on the platform.”
When asked why Bellshare continues to develop for BlackBerry, Henrik noted, “This is actually not a technical thing, it’s more about love. Love for the BlackBerry product, and BlackBerry customers who are very loyal. Compared to other platforms, BlackBerry users download more and interact with us more. We love BlackBerry customers, they are the reason we keep doing this!”
Check out Bellshare’s apps on BlackBerry World.