NEW YORK – Research in Motion is invested in the BlackBerry 10, and it came to Manhattan’s Millennium Hotel as part of the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour to show off five beta SDKs, and to instruct developers on creating applications for app-starved BlackBerry users. The BlackBerry 10 device will be released later this year, RIM executives told SD Times at the event.
Keynote speaker Martyn Mallick, vice president of global alliances and business development at RIM, spoke first about how the company has built out its developer support via its website, blogs, active forums, tutorials and samples—all designed to make BlackBerry apps easier to build. Gary Klassen, principal architect at RIM, also gave a keynote about the BlackBerry 10’s improved UI and keyboard design, and the better user experience it offers.
Patrick Mollins, developer evangelist at RIM, later discussed the important takeaways from the event. “The major announcement from this tour is that we are fully invested into BlackBerry 10. With the announcement of BlackBerry 10, we have also released five SDKs that are in beta at the moment for developers to use. They can download them for free, easily, from our developer site at developer.blackberry.com. We’d like to see developers get on board and start developing for the new platform,” he said.
Mollins went on to describe the five SDKs. “The first one is WebWorks—our HTML5 SDK—and the second one is our native C/C++ SDK,” he said. “Our third one is a new platform that we’re introducing this year, along with BlackBerry 10, called Cascades. Cascades is an SDK that sits on top of our native SDK that allows developers to create rich, compelling and engaging applications that are targeted for BlackBerry 10.
“The fourth SDK that we’re offering developers is an Android SDK that allows Android developers to take their application, run them through our tooling, and out comes a BlackBerry tablet OS or BlackBerry 10-specific application. This allows Android developers to find a new home for their applications.”
Mollins said the fifth SDK is an Adobe AIR SDK. “Adobe has been a longstanding partner with RIM. We’ve worked well with them over the last few years to bring out what was our initial developer toolkit for the PlayBook and we’re continuing support for that today,” he said. “Our Adobe AIR SDK gives Flash and Flex developers a real solid base for mobile development.”
Mollins also mentioned that any apps that developers make for PlayBook today will be forward-compatible with the toolkits they have for PlayBook 2.0. In other words, when BlackBerry 10 comes out, the work they have put in won’t be a wasted effort.
There were approximately 250 attendees at the event. Some developers in attendance had never developed for BlackBerry before and wanted be among the first to learn to develop for BlackBerry 10. Other developers at the event have developed for BlackBerry before and plan to keep doing so.
“I have developed for the BlackBerry platform before, just having completed an app called the NYC Restaurant Scrutinizer,” said Michael Boski, senior Flash developer at Pictela. “I think the BlackBerry PlayBook, for example, is a great device that, with its much more open system, makes me want to continue to develop for BlackBerry.”
In the afternoon, attendees chose from 12 instructional sessions in three different tracks to learn about how to develop for BlackBerry 10. The three tracks were for native, Web and enterprise development, each consisting of four sessions.
“I attended four of the developer sessions,” said Boski. “One of the things I learned was how easy and flexible it is to use BlackBerry WebWorks to create an app in the BlackBerry app store.”
Just as RIM has and will do at other cities, it gave away a limited number of BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices at New York’s event for developers who qualified. The device is a prototype created for the purpose of testing BlackBerry 10 apps during development. The device is not a BlackBerry 10 smartphone for end users, nor does it run the final BlackBerry 10 software. It has been created just for developers to help them prepare for the launch of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.
New York City was the seventh stop on the 12-week, 23-city BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour. Upcoming cities include (in chronological order) Toronto, Moscow, Berlin, Bangalore, Warsaw, Delhi, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, Dubai, Montreal, Sydney, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo. For more details on tour dates, visit www.blackberryjamworldtour.com.