Netflix Inc. (NFLX) Illustrates Research In Motion Ltd (BBRY)’s App Weakness

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Back when Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) launched its new BlackBerry 10 platform, the company made headlines by touting that it had 70,000 apps at launch — the most for any first-generation smartphone platform. However, if you looked beyond the headlines, you’d find out that an incredible 40% of these apps were little more than Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android apps that were “wrapped” for BlackBerry 10.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)Excessive reliance on wrapped apps is a major weakness for the platform and represents strategic challenges for when BlackBerry inevitably tries to transition toward native apps. By trying to piggyback on Android’s success, Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) is putting itself at risk of turning its entire platform into a wrapper, unless it can persuade developers to invest the extra time and money into developing native apps instead of porting existing Android apps.

Count me out
One important developer is decidedly not on board. AllThingsD reports that Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has “no current plans for a BlackBerry app.” This comes after Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY) said it was “in talks” with the online video streamer, among several other high-profile names. Netflix supposedly sees little incentive to develop for BlackBerry 10, since it likely wouldn’t translate into additional subscribers.

Additionally, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)’s subscriber base is still mostly in the U.S. The company had 27.1 million domestic streaming subscribers at year’s end, compared to 6.1 million internationally. The U.S. is a weak geographical segment for Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY), with its share falling to 0.9% recently. Little incentive, indeed.

That certainly doesn’t bar the possibility, but BlackBerry 10 will need to prove itself before Netflix has any reason to embrace the platform.

How to turn your new Z10 into a 2-year-old Android
On the other hand, it’s not as if determined BlackBerry loyalists can’t get a Netflix app at all. The enthusiasts over at CrackBerry got Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) running on the new Z10 shortly after launch, but it’s worth noting that the process itself requires manually sideloading an older version of the Android app on to the device, and there are obvious performance issues.

The Android emulator found within BlackBerry 10 runs version 2.3 Gingerbread, which was originally released just over two years ago, although the company has announced that it is working on updating this to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at some unspecified point in the future. As it stands, it seems like a lot of work to get a fancy new Z10 to function like a 2-year-old Android device.

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