Research In Motion received a sharp tongue-lashing from a developer who tried to write an application for the phone maker's forthcoming tablet computer. The criticism comes as Apple's iPad and Google Android tablets remain hot gadgets.
Research In Motion will soon launch its PlayBook tablet, a device it expects
to compete with Motorola's Xoom
Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablet and
But RIM's developer ecosystem got a jolt of harsh reality by a programmer
who tried to write an application for the tablet. In a long, detailed and often
sarcastic blog post
, developer Jamie Murai railed against the BlackBerry
App World development process, from registration to loading the app into the
Several top blogs linked to Murai's piece, and the damage was done. RIM
responded to the caustic constructive criticism in a blog post.
The rant was a jolt for RIM, which is struggling to remain relevant in a mobile
market where smartphones and tablets based on Apple iOS and Google Android have
withered its BlackBerry OS market share in the United
Core among Murai's litany of complaints regarding RIM's development process
is that RIM requires developers to download the Adobe AIR
SDK, the Playbook SDK and the Playbook simulator in three separate downloads.
By comparison, Murai said the iPad requires users to download a single
installer that contains the IDE, the SDK and
the simulator. "It's not optimal, but I'm sure you have your reasons,
When it came to compiling and sending an app to the simulator, RIM required
an application archive, which it did not explain how to do. Then Murai had to
return to the command line and type in two long commands to send the app to the
simulator. Conversely, he said, iOS and Android developers can simply press the
button that says Build and Run.
Later, RIM required Murai to print a notarized statement of identification,
take it to a notary with a government-issue ID and return it to RIM. Neither
Apple nor Google requires this measure, he said.
In another gripe, although it is currently free to register with App World,
RIM will in the future charge developers $200 to build 10 apps. That compares with
the $99 Apple charges and the $25 Google charges for unlimited app development.
"You have succeeded in your quest of driving away a perfectly willing
developer from your platform. On a more serious note, being the underdog, you
need to make your process AT LEAST as simple as Apple's or Google's, if not
more so. You need to make your tools AT LEAST as good as Apple's or Google's,
if not more so. You have failed at both."
Murai later backtracked
on giving up on RIM for the PlayBook, but the damage was done, prompting BlackBerry
developer relations head Tyler Lessard to softly defend the company. Lessard
acknowledged Murai's claims about the platform and development process as fair
"Our development teams here at RIM have been working hard to get our
tools ready for PlayBook launch," Lessard wrote. "While we've come a
long way for a pre-release product, we know that we have a lot of work left to
do to ensure that our developers can build and distribute apps without any
hindering costs or painful download processes."
Lessard promised RIM would improve its processes and communications with
Murai's rant wasn't the only negative press leasing up to the PlayBook's
launch. Business Insider was underwhelmed
by the PlayBook in limited testing during Mobile World Congress last month.
Meanwhile, experts expect Apple to lap all comers in the tablet marathon
March 2 when it introduces
its iPad 2, the successor to the smash-hit slate
that sold 15 million-plus units to date.