BlackBerry has devised a new strategy to tempt BlackBerry 7.0 users into upgrading their operating system to version 7.1: free apps. Until June 30, the company is offering 10 paid apps at no cost to the user.

The following apps are included in this promotion, which is only available in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and the UK:

  • EA SPORTS FIFA 13 – Electronic Arts.
  • The Sims 3TM Supernatural – Electronic Arts.
  • BeWeather – Bellshare GmbH.
  • Screen Muncher – Motek Mobile.
  • Color ID FREE – Motek Mobile.
  • InstaPhoto – Smarter Apps.
  • DriveSafely Pro – iSpeech.
  • N.O.V.A for BBM – Gameloft.
  • UNO and Friends – Gameloft.
  • Photo Studio PRO – KVADGroup.

To take advantage, all you have to do is upgrade your BlackBerry Curve 9360/9380, BlackBerry Bold 9790/9900, BlackBerry Torch 9810/9860 or Porsche Design P’9981. You can do so on the Web, using the BlackBerry Desktop Software, or directly from your smartphone (over-the-air).

BlackBerry 7.1 offers features such as Mobile Hotspot, FM radio, BlackBerry Tag, and Wi-Fi calling. Tips on upgrading are available here.

If BlackBerry has learned anything in its struggle against Android and iOS, it’s that apps matter a lot. Mobile users are crazy about them, arguably more so than whatever operating system they have on their device.

As such, this move is a clever one. If the company can get BlackBerry 7.0 users into the habit of upgrading their devices, it should be able to offer new features to many of its users.

What’s not clear is whether BlackBerry is paying the developers of these apps, or if it asked them to participate and simply include this as part of their marketing budget. If the Canadian company paid developers to bolster its mobile platform, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

See also – RIM announces free BlackBerry 10 app submissions, guarantees you’ll earn $10k if you make $1k and RIM doubles developer ‘Port-A-Thon’ rewards to $2 million in final push for BlackBerry 10 apps

Top Image credit: Abdulaziz Almansour