a2dac2c1e967433e823a8d0caf9bde3dCape Town – As part of its programme to drive adoption of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, BlackBerry announced on Sunday that it will allow users to download premium applications for free.

BlackBerry users on the BlackBerry 10 platform will be allowed to download a premium application each day until 25 December, the company announced.

The Canadian-based company has been under pressure to expand the users on its BlackBerry 10 platform and an apps ecosystem has emerged as a vehicle to ensure user loyalty.

BlackBerry 10 launched with over 70 000 applications built mainly on the popularity of Android apps converted for BlackBerry, but the company has been working with developers to ensure a healthy ecosystem of unique apps for the platform.

One key strategy has been the company’s expansion of popular instant messenger BBM to Android and iOS devices.

Results

“We’re excited to offer iOS and Android users the possibility to join the BBM community,” said Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of Software Product Management and Ecosystem at BlackBerry.

More than 10 million people downloaded BBM on the first day that it was made available for non-BlackBerry devices.

But overall results have not looked positive, particularly in key developed markets where BlackBerry’s share has continued to decline.

Research firm Gartner recently reported that smartphones powered by the Windows Phone OS had captured 3.3% of the market, overtaking BlackBerry, which fell from 5.2% to 2.7%. Smartphone market leader Android commands around 80%.

Gartner, though, highlighted the critical importance of the applications ecosystem to ensuring growth.

“While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

To access the free application, users need to tap the 25 Days of Gifts banner in BlackBerry World and select the app offered.

The first premium app offered is Angry Birds Seasons.