After BlackBerry World 2012 – A Developers View

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BlackBerry World 2012 has been and gone and in the aftermath, RIM shares dropped to an 8 year low.Is the shares drop really such a shock, considering that the main word to describe BlackBerry World 2012 is “potential”.

I’m no finance expert but I can understand the financial world’s concern with the fact that BlackBerry 10 is still to come and that no concrete date was set for it.

The fact that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has just been launched and the iPhone 5 is due shortly will not have helped.

At BlackBerry World, we saw a brand new RIM! An enthusiastic, excited, vibrant RIM and that enthusiasm was deadly catching among those who were in attendance and the millions of BlackBerry users watching and reading around the globe.

There’s the first problem though. Not everybody who was in attendance was a BlackBerry user or a BlackBerry lover. The amount of non-BlackBerry devices being used at the event highlighted that.

RIMs CEO, Thorsten Heins was absolutely superb.  Vibrant, energetic, passionate and humorous are just some of the descriptions that I would use. A complete breath of fresh air.  If this is what he can do with no finished physical product in front of him, just think of what he will be able to achieve when BlackBerry 10 devices are here.

Let’s get the non Dev stuff quickly out of the way.

The media is always going to have an anti-blackberry/anti-rim presence.  They create stories to generate readers and create interest.  Some even manage to fit some truth in here and there but in general, the media will never spoil a good story with the truth.

A few of RIMs partners were out on show but to be realistic, they were partners before the event and will be afterwards. However, the fact that some big names are publicly endorsing RIM is great news.

The BlackBerry keyboard and the camera were innovating and carried the “wow” factor but don’t forget that the camera technology is not RIMs and is licensed technology that we will no doubt see in competitors phones.

Developers

Without a shadow of a doubt, this years BlackBerry World was focused on the upcoming BlackBerry 10 and Developers.

Potential, potential, potential. We were shown masses of it.

As a developer of many years, I have never been so excited to be developing for BlackBerry devices.

RIM have been extremely clever by focusing on getting developers on board NOW and not waiting until the first BlackBerry 10 device. The general principal being that when the first BlackBerry 10 device is released there will be a plethora of apps, games and other software for it.  Considering that existing BlackBerry phones will not, understandably, be upgradeable, this is a great strategy.

As a developer of many years, I have never been so excited to be developing for BlackBerry devices. We have a new OS to work with and an abundance of sdks, simulators, other tools, certified programs and a whole lot more being made available every day.

Exciting times but unfortunately, its not all good!

BlackBerry 10 Alpha Device

RIM gave away some BlackBerry 10 Developer Alpha devices at the BlackBerry Jam.

These are to let developers test their software during the development phase, as we have no physical phones to test them on. I wonder how many non-developers have one in their possession now? Quite a few from the people I have spoken to. What a waste!

There are so many developers out there, keen to get their hand on the device for purely development purposes and yet the vast majority of Dev’s don’t have one. Of course, they have the simulator but as any good Dev will tell you, its not quite the same thing.

Using the numerous development channels that RIM has, these development devices should have been given out to as many serious developers as RIM could find. We have a wealth of development talent out there, wondering why RIM chose to hand out his device the way they did.

Instead, we have end-users asking for pretty pictures of the device and gazing in awe at how pretty it looks, how their website looks on it etc.

In the last few days, these are some of the comments that I keep hearing from various non-dev blackberry users:

I can’t wait to get my hand on it.
I can’t wait to see it
Wow, have you seen our web site on it.
I haven’t got one. I’m so jealous.
Doesn’t it look gorgeous, I want one so badly

To every single one I’ve asked the same question.  Why! Why do you want one? Why do you want to see pretty pictures of it? It is not representative of a finished BlackBerry 10 device. RIM have went out of their way to make that totally clear, even if some of the press cant get it. Why no hysteria over the simulator?  They both serve the same purpose!

As a developer I dont care what it looks lik.  I want technical information out of it and I want to be able to test our code on it.  It can come in a cardboard box as long as it does that.

It is clear that end-users desperately want BlackBerry 10.  Any little piece of information, speculation, rumour and it is swallowed up and regurgitated.

End-users need to calm down and be patient. Let RIM get on with it, without the constant pressure of being asked “when, when, when”.

Rushing BlackBerry 10 out the door before it’s ready would probably be the worst mistake RIM could make and it looks like they know it and are being sensible and not rushing it.

RIMs Developer Programs

RIM has numerous Developer Programs, some free and some paid. Serious Dev companies will be looking at both avenues in a bid to learn as much about developing for BlackBerry 10.

Incredibly, when you apply for some of these paid programs, you are met with a wall of silence. These are paid programs and at a time when RIM are on a drive to get Devs on-board, you would think that they would at least be responding to Developer companies applications. Our feedback confirms that this is not the case.

There is no rational explanation for this but ignoring developer companies will only result in them simply going and developing for other platforms.

RIM really need to get more devices out to as many developers as possibe and to get their act together when it comes to their own paid programs.

Its exciting times!

If RIM, developers and users  all work together constructively, what a superb platform will be produced.

 

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