RIM's renewed push for developers is basically an attempt to get them onboard with the upcoming BlackBerry 10.
Motions BlackBerry DevCon Europe conference, which started Feb. 7 in
Amsterdam, placed third-party developers front and center.
what he called RIMs commitment to our development community, RIM CEO
Thorsten Heins told the developer audience gathered for his Feb. 7 keynote
that, without you, the BlackBerry solution wouldnt be complete. (A complete
video of the speech is available at the BlackBerry enthusiast Website CrackBerry.com.)
embarking on an aggressive outreach strategy to third-party developers,
centered on handing out free PlayBook tablets at various events. It is also
promoting the supposed profitability of developing apps for the BlackBerry
behind RIMs push seems pretty clear. The past couple of years have proven that
mobile products live and die on the variety and usefulness of their app
ecosystems. Both Apple and Google have devoted enormous resources to creating
and nurturing their respective app platforms, and prospered; Microsoft is
intent on doing something similar with its apps marketplace for Windows Phone.
(Windows 8, which is expected to debut later this year, will also boast a
storefront for apps.)
In its push
for a diverse apps ecosystem, however, RIM is faced with an additional
complication. The companys hopes for a revival rest on BlackBerry 10, a
next-generation operating system scheduled to debut sometime in the second half
of 2012. Until that platform arrives, it must rely on BlackBerry devices loaded
with BlackBerry 7 OS to hold the market-share line.
But heres the
twist: if RIM wants BlackBerry 10 to have a fighting chance, it needs
developers creating apps for a platform that doesnt yet exist, and whose code base
is different from that underlying previous versions of the BlackBerry OS. Apps
developed using BlackBerry Java will not port onto BlackBerry 10, limiting
developers working with those tools to BlackBerry 7 or older.
PlayBook tablet. In a Jan. 10 interview with eWEEK, Alec Saunders, RIMs vice president of developer relations
and ecosystem development, suggested that those developers working with HTML5
and WebWorks to create apps for the PlayBook will have relatively little
trouble porting those apps to BlackBerry 10, once the latter hits the market.
You may need to make some tweaks, but your code base is preserved.
aggression in pushing the PlayBook to developers is basically an attempt to
kick-start the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem. But given the crowded and competitive
nature of the mobility field, it might take more than that for BlackBerry 10 to
establish itself as a dominant player in the apps market.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.