Instagram on a BlackBerry? Pinterest? Candy Crush Saga? And lo, there was much rejoicing among the hardened few.
Addressing the single most frustrating aspect of clinging to the faded mobile star that is BlackBerry, the company on Wednesday confirmed rumours it is opening a catalogue of applications in the Amazon Appstore to BlackBerry 10 users.
That should give CrackBerry addicts 240,000 reasons to celebrate hanging on to a once-great mobile platform hampered of late by dismal sales, supplier defections and an embarrassing lack of native applications to use on what is otherwise a pretty decent - and very secure - smartphone.
The new link to the Amazon Appstore coincides with the launch of BlackBerry 10.3 OS in the autumn and will bring popular applications like Skype, KakaoTalk, Netflix, Pinterest, Minecraft and Groupon to an eager audience.
Many have for months been side-loading kludgey versions of Android apps to get functionality that is routine for iPhone and Android mobile users.
A typical unauthorised port of an Android app to the BlackBerry comes complete with buttons that do nothing, interfaces that don't fit on screen, sync features that don't sync, and constant battery drain. For starters.
In fact, the Amazon deal is a bit of a giant manufacturer-sanctioned side-loading project, according to officials who say the two companies are working with developers to migrate Android apps to the BlackBerry platform before they are made available for download.
"Making the Amazon Appstore available on BlackBerry 10 devices will help BlackBerry meet two essential needs: greater app availability for our smartphone users and enhanced productivity solutions for enterprises," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen. "We've listened to our customers and have taken this important step to deliver on their needs, while executing on our strategy."
One hopes the professionally ported Android apps perform better on the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 than their rough predecessors.
The timing of the app store announcement is interesting, given its proximity to the news this week regarding the Amazon smartphone.
But BlackBerry users, who remain loyal to their devices and platform with a cultish fervour that would make an Apple fanboi blush, won't care much about the competition if the promise of a wave of functional and popular apps comes to fruition.
As part of the effort, BlackBerry and Amazon are offering Appstore Developer Select to help developers with merchandising, as well as Amazon Coins incentives, and a Developer Promotions Console for real-time pricing adjustments and specials.
BlackBerry officials also say they are preparing to unveil a new enterprise application partner programme for corporate developers, ISVs and SIs, in the hopes of expanding the number of native BlackBerry 10 enterprise apps.
Editor's Note: The author carries a BlackBerry. Always has. Always will. Shut up.
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