BlackBerry 10: It’s Becoming a Developer’s Paradise

BlackBerryJam.logoYep, that’s a bold statement (no pun intended) but after attending yesterday’s BB10 Jam World Tour session in RIM’s home town (technically in Kitchener but Kitchener-Waterloo are adjoined twin cities), there certainly were lots of developer resources on display that were acclaimed for making it easy not only to develop but also to port applications using a combination of RIM-specific tool sets and Open Source tools.

First some updated statistics about BlackBerry; during his introductory keynote Alec Saunders, RIM’s Vice President, Developer Relations, did his usual dispatching of some myths. He provided the following information:

  • approaching 80 million BlackBerry users (78 million last officially reported)
  • over 55 million active BlackBerry Messenger users
  • in 165 country markets
  • supporting 27 languages

and specific to developers:

  • over 40,000 registered developers (up 137% in the past year)
  • over 100,000 applications on BlackBerry App World, including 25,000 for PlayBook (up 130%)
  • over 3 billion downloads from BlackBerry App World
  • expansion of RIM’s Developer Relations team from 37 a year ago to 100 today with 40 more openings
  • bringing back a Certified Application program that guarantees at least $10,000 in the first year upon making the initial $1,000.00

And RIM offers five key platforms for developers to choose from:

BlackBerry10.DeveloperPlatforms

They also laid out a road map for the evolution of various new features of these platforms.

One of the developer presentations was given by Ritesh Patel, CEO of taab. Over the past five months they have developed infrastructure, using NFC, for placing orders and making payments via BlackBerry and Android phones, including the BlackBerry 10. In How We’re Building taab for BlackBerry10, Ritesh has written one of the best articulations of the value of QNX to both RIM and their developers. In the demo video they basically showed how we might, without lining up, be ordering drinks from the bar at Third Tuesday meetups in a year’s time.

I interviewed Wes Worsfold, CEO of Motek Mobile, a developer of over 40 BlackBerry applications and themes since 2002 and spent some time with an iOS game publisher who was investigating why he should choose BlackBerry as his next platform. My discussion with Wes will be the subject of another post; the game publisher came away realizing not only why he should choose this path but also how easy it was going to be to port his current application.

GreatWork.BB10Jam.Waterloo.23Aug12Suffice it to say that, combining my discussions with developers and the content of the presentations, RIM is offering a buffet of tools and incentives to make it easy to develop apps and generate revenues. The last thing needed is to get the BlackBerry 10 out so that we all can experience what this unique mobile computing platform can deliver. While we need to wait until early next year for that to happen, the tweet on the right sums up yesterday’s event succinctly.

And did I mention that over 300 developers lined up at the end of the day to pick up their BlackBerry Dev Alpha device (not an emulator) for testing their own applications on the actual hardware platform . (These are not full smartphones but are the devices also being used internally at RIM for testing the BlackBerry 10 firmware and software.)

Bottom Line: one critical component of a successful BlackBerry 10 launch is developer support along with a significant set of third party applications. RIM has put together a program and activities that certainly are on track to achieve this goal. They still need to bring onside some critical applications such as Netflix and Kindle. Carrier adoption, as discussed in a post linked below, is another critical component; RIM does have over 500 carrier relationships worldwide to approach about BlackBerry 10.

It’s going to be an interesting ride (and challenge) over the next six or seven months but some of the components critical to success are falling into place.

Other posts:

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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