BlackBerry maker Research In Motion opened a BlackBerry App World Vendor Portal July 19, enabling developers to begin submitting applications for BlackBerry 10 devices. The goal, for now, is to make the apps available to other developers who are likewise tinkering with Dev Alpha test devices and developing for RIMs upcomingand hopefully business-changingplatform.
During a not-for-the-faint-of-heart earnings call June 28, RIM announced it was delaying the launch of BB10, which will consist of an entirely new operating system and new devices, until the first quarter of 2013a decision that has left RIM executives insisting the company is not in a death spiral and otherwise working overtime to patch up what they insist is not a sinking ship.
Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations, apologized to developers for the delay in a June 30 blog post, writing that RIM understands they have "skin in the game" and "rent to pay."
On the same day as the new Vendor Portal, RIM released a free update to the BlackBerry 10 toolkit it first offered to developers at its BlackBerry World event in Orlando, Fla., in May. Most notably, the new toolkit features two key sets of APIsan application invocation framework that will allow BB10 apps to interact with each other, and Push APIs that enable developers to send notifications and other content to BB10 devices.
So far, developers response to BB10 has been absolutely phenomenal, Martyn Mallick, RIM vice president of global alliances and business development, told eWEEK during a July 19 interview.
Now, midway through its BlackBerry 10 Jam World Toura 23-city event designed to bring a better understanding of RIMs now-twice-delayed new platform to developers around the globethe company has found itself defending not only BB10 but the allegiance of its developers, a group that can make or break the success of an ecosystem. Before Google and Apple held their developer conferences in June, analytics firm Flurry described the very critical need for OS makers to woo this workforce that can largely impact the fate of some of the most prolific, innovative forces in the worlds economy today.
While RIM has, of late, been in damage-repair mode, this particular defense was prompted by a July 13 report from All Things D. Citing a Baird Equity Research survey on developer sentiment, the site wrote that RIM is bleeding developers. According to the survey, devs sentiment toward BB10 fell from 4.6 during the first quarter to 3.8 during the second, while their feelings toward BlackBerry 7 declined to 2.8 from 3.8. Sentiments toward Apples iOS and Googles Android, meanwhile, hovered around the 9.0 mark during both quarters.
The report stood out, and warranted a response post on the BlackBerry blog from Saunders, said Mallick, because it ran contrary to the positive feedback and quite astonishing growth that RIM has been seeing.
Weve seen just really strong growth from a vendor perspective, coming into the platform; weve seen really strong growth from the different applications being submitted on the platform; were seeing strong growth from monetizationjust all of the indicators that we look at to measure the performance of the platform ¦ are really, really strong, said Mallick.
Mallick added, We grew by over 200 percent in the first quarter aloneweve had over 25,000 applications submitted to that platform.
The feedback from the World Tour has likewise been incredibly positive, said Mallick. One of the most satisfying things, he said, was how quickly developers were able to adopt the tools and produce a productwithin days of the event, developers have been emailing the RIM team, asking for ways to share their newly created apps with other devs, for feedback. In one instance, a developer showed off an app hed built that day.
Thats just incredibly exciting for us, because when we looked at BlackBerry 10, we made a very deliberate decision to make it a developer device, one thats extremely friendly for app developers to build amazing applications with, to have phenomenal user experiences with, said Mallick.
A pleased developer community, while essential, is only part of the equation. What message does RIM have for the enterprise customers holding outor debating whether tofor BB10?
The new platform, said Mallick, is going to marry all the core tenants of an enterprise-grade solutionsecurity, the reliability, manageability with multimedia applications and more gaming-type things, to keep users happy in and out of the office.
From an enterprise developer perspective, Mallick added, the message is: Hey, go grab the tools. Theyre in great shape. People are building applications really quickly. Grab those tools, take a look at them, start playing around, and get your enterprise applications up and ready to be prepared for the launch of BlackBerry 10.