To guarantee its survival, BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) has decided to stake everything on the future Blackberry 10 platform. RIM on Tuesday presented initial software tools for developers, BB10 beta development toolkits and the BlackBerry 10 Developer Alpha device, looking to develop applications for its new Blackberry 10 platform. The BlackBerry 10 platform announcement is perhaps the most crucial launch in its mobile ecosystem to date, expected to hit the market later this year.
RIM’s BlackBerry World 2012 event kicked off today in Orlando, Florida is the most important annual event for the BlackBerry ecosystem, and is the place where developers will get to know the prototype for BlackBerry 10.
HTML5 a big focus for RIM
RIM does not want to fall behind in continuously updating its operating system, though its faced severe delays over the past year. Mobile devices that will carry the BlackBerry 10 widely rumored to be available in October 2012.
In this context, RIM will announce its strategic vision for the BlackBerry 10 platform and launched the first developer toolkit for developing native software based on HTML5 technology. RIM wants to give developers as much lead time as possible to develop apps based on Blackberry 10. The prototype of the BlackBerry 10 handset will enable developer to test how their apps perform on the new platform.
“Developers building for BlackBerry 10 will be able to easily create the kind of cutting-edge apps that deliver truly engaging experiences,” said Alec Saunders, RIM’s head of developer relations.
The toolkits include tools for building HTML5 apps, the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK for creating BB10 apps with native-like abilities and Cascades user interface framework for developing graphically rich apps.
“Anyway you want [to develop], we can support that,” said Adam Nanjee, RIM’s head of Social Media Partnerships. “Typically it’s been ‘Hey, come and join BlackBerry.’ Here we’re saying ‘Hey, you may already have an Android app, but it’s very easy to port to our platform’ and if they’re going for an HTML5 cross-platform strategy, we can support that as well.”
The new system includes a redesigned keyboard that will allow users to select entire words with a single keystroke, and a camera that can take several shots which can then be combined into an ideal single picture. It has a 4.2-inch screen with 1,280 x 768-pixel resolution, an HDMI output for mirroring, and an OMAP processor.
BlackBerry 10 is built on QNX – software that drives the tablet and BlackBerry PlayBook, but with optimizations for use with smartphones.
RIM also introduced the BlackBerry Music Gateway this week, a new tool that allows users of BlackBerry smartphones, PlayBook tablets and other Bluetooth-enabled devices to broadcast music on their home music system.
BlackBerry 10 apps to Define Future of RIM’s Ecosystem
At the BlackBerry World keynote, app developers Endomondo, Gameloft, Mippin, Occipital, PixelMags, Poynt, Truphone, and Wikitude showcased their support of BB10 platform.
Fitness app from developer Endomondo would be the first that will support the platform. Jonas Norberg from Pacemaker showcased a new DJ/mixing app for the PlayBook. Candemir Orsan from Occipital presented a demo of a 360 Panorama app that was loaded up on the BlackBerry Dev Alpha device.
Traditional loyal BlackBerry developer, Gameloft, upcoming N.O.V.A. 3, Shark Dash, The Oregon Trail, and Ice Age Village games will be part of RIM’s new OS marketplace. Michael Schade from Fishlabs also had some gaming software to show off — Galaxy On Fire 2 HD.
RIM is already behind Apple and Android in attracting independent developers and mobile app content producers to build apps on their platform. The continuous decline of RIM market share in the US is not helping the company keep interest of mobile developers.
The goal of RIM, in fact, is to rehabilitate their devices, enabling them to better compete with smartphones and tablets running on Android and iOS. BlackBerry relies on a strong comeback in the smartphones world and we’ll have to see if the developers will follow.