RIM Aims to Delight Developers at BlackBerry 10 Jam

Research In Motion hopes to connect with developers at its upcoming developer event as the company tries to focus on the lifeblood of the operation: its developer base.

Research In Motion has announced that at its BlackBerry 10 Jam for developers the company will be releasing the first beta of the BlackBerry 10 developer tools in addition to a host of other goodies for developers.

BlackBerry 10 Jam, which will be held in conjunction with BlackBerry World in Orlando, Fla., May 1-3, will be the first opportunity for developers to get hands-on time with the tools and have experts there to offer guidance and help. The BlackBerry 10 developer tools include a BlackBerry 10 Native SDK, a BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK, a BlackBerry 10 SDK for Adobe Air and a BlackBerry 10 SDK for Android apps.

In addition, developers will receive a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha. Developers who attend BlackBerry 10 Jam will receive a testing unit to give them a leg up on BlackBerry 10 development. This seeding is only for developers who will be in attendance at the conference.

In addition, RIM is giving its developer community the opportunity to drive session topics for the event€™s Unconference on the last day of the show, May 3. RIM is currently collecting ideas that can be submitted via the company€™s Facebook page or on Twitter @BlackBerryDev or on BlackBerry DevBlog. In the coming weeks, RIM will host a Twtpoll and Facebook poll where everyone can vote on the topics in which they are most interested.

Moreover, the session catalog Phase One is now live, and developers can go here to see the first slate of sessions that have been released. Sessions are available on all the BlackBerry 10 toolsets for every experience level, the company said.

For instance, there is a session titled €œDeveloping NFC Applications for BlackBerry 10.€ This session examines how developers can use near-field communication capabilities in their own BlackBerry 10 applications. The focus will be on working with NFC tags€”NFC Reader/Writer Mode. RIM experts will review the use of the new BlackBerry 10 NFC native APIs and C/C++ coding techniques in the context of a sample NFC application.

Information on the event is available here.

Meanwhile, despite turmoil in the front office, RIM said the BlackBerry experienced some key successes in the fourth quarter of 2011 related to its BlackBerry applications and developer ecosystem.

In fourth quarter, there was a 21 percent increase in BlackBerry smartphone apps, an 89 percent increase in BBM-connected apps and a 240 percent increase in PlayBook apps submitted to App World.

Regarding BlackBerry developer milestones in the fourth quarter, there was a 68 percent increase in vendors registered on App World, a 42 percent increase in apps submitted to App World by developers and a 137 increase in PlayBook apps approved for sale. Also in the fourth quarter, RIM built porting guides to allow WebOS and jQuery apps to be ported to PlayBook. The company also announced the port of Qt to allow Nokia developers to target PlayBook and soon, BlackBerry 10. And it launched a BlackBerry Native SDK 2.0 for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

In addition, prior to the PlayBook OS 2.0 launch, RIM encouraged 10,000 new developers to register as BlackBerry developers, with the offer of a PlayBook in exchange for an app. More than 7,000 new apps were submitted. And since its launch 10 weeks ago, the BlackBerry Developer Success Story page has added more than 20 stories with more to come soon.

RIM also does not want developers to forget that there are more than 70,000 apps in App World, more than 15,000 PlayBook apps, more than 2 billion total apps downloaded and 177 million apps downloaded per month.

€œBlackBerry has made huge strides with the release of PlayBook OS 2,€ said developer Marco van Hylckama Vlieg, in a statement. €œThe fact that BlackBerry 10 will be based on this foundation makes me incredibly excited about what's in store for the rest of 2012. €œI believe BlackBerry has all the crucial ingredients lined up for huge success with BlackBerry 10. All it takes now is to execute with laser precision. I'm excited to see BlackBerry 10 to become the new significant player in the mobile sphere.€

€œWhat excites me most about the BlackBerry platform is the clear pursuit of Web standards and their passion for open source,€ said Andrea Mutz-Mercier, a developer at Verivo, in a statement. €œCombining the tools that developers love most with the security and stability of an enterprise platform is where the magic happens.€

€œOver the past four months, sales and downloads of apps on the PlayBook have really taken off,€ said Eric Harty at Ebscer. €œI am seeing monthly downloads that are five times higher than they were just last fall.€

€œMost of our clients are now asking us about PlayBook, BlackBerry 10 and what opportunities are available there,€ said Jeff Bacon at bitHeads, in a statement. €œThere has been a noticeable uptick in the interest from our partners as the BlackBerry 10 platform comes closer and closer to market.€