RIM Announces New Widget SDK for the BlackBerry

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-10-06

Research In Motion has announced a new BlackBerry Widget Software Development Kit to enable developers to build rich, integrated applications for BlackBerry smartphones using common Web technologies rather than being forced to use Java.

With the new BlackBerry Widget SDK, announced on Oct. 6, developers can build Web-based applications for the BlackBerry and deliver advanced features and functionality without having to use Java -- which up to now was the primary way for developers to create BlackBerry applications.

"BlackBerry Widgets open up a world of opportunities for developers to build and bring to market Web applications for BlackBerry smartphones that offer advanced, integrated functionality and an always-on user experience," said Alan Brenner, senior vice president of BlackBerry platforms at RIM, in a statement. "We are very excited by the prospects of this new widget development platform which combines the ease of development of standard Web languages with the rich functionality of Java development."

A beta release of the BlackBerry Widget SDK is available as of Oct. 6 at www.blackberry.com/developers/widget.

BlackBerry Widgets use the BlackBerry browser engine to render an application's user interface using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Developers are able to use existing Web content to create BlackBerry Widgets and extend the capabilities of their Web applications using BlackBerry Widget APIs, RIM officials said.

Moreover, using the new BlackBerry Widget APIs, developers can do such things as create seamless interaction between a widget and the BlackBerry e-mail and calendar applications, create widgets with the ability to view or edit files and documents stored on the smartphone, access location-based services or the media player and more, the company said. Developers can also take advantage of RIM's push technology, enabling dynamic widgets that can run in the background and provide proactive alerts to users in a timely manner.

In addition, BlackBerry Widgets can be easily distributed via BlackBerry App World at www.blackberry.com/appworld, or through BlackBerry Enterprise Server in corporate environments.

Support for BlackBerry Widgets will be available on BlackBerry smartphones that run BlackBerry OS 5.0, which will include an enhanced BlackBerry Browser with support for Google Gears, SQLite and the new BlackBerry Widget APIs.

Meanwhile, developers interested in learning more about building BlackBerry Widgets are encouraged to attend the 2009 BlackBerry Developer Conference, Nov. 9-12 in San Francisco. More information is also available on BlackBerry Developer Zone at www.blackberry.com/developer. 

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