Research In Motion on Tuesday rolled out the BlackBerry 10 platform at BlackBerry World in Orlando. Now, RIM is trumpeting success in attracting developers. But is it enough to turn the ailing smartphone maker around?
RIM execs are putting on a good show and have been working hard with app developers to make sure the next generation of BlackBerry devices have plenty of content and apps available at launch. RIM just released a developer toolkit in beta for BlackBerry 10 so developers can build and test their apps before new devices roll out later in 2012.
Martyn Mallick, vice president of global alliances and business development at RIM, said she hears from partners every day who want to start building apps for BlackBerry 10. RIM trotted out a handful of developers to support that point -- and even ventured into China with an app contest.
"RIM has got it right with the BlackBerry 10 platform. They have really streamlined the app-development process," said Adam Linford, Truphone head of labs and mobile applications. "The platform's support for open-source components flattens the learning curve, enabling us to build a new application quickly and cost-effectively and have it ready to go when the first BlackBerry 10 devices debut."
Gameloft is also on board. Ludovic Blondel, vice president of OEM at Gameloft, said the company already has 11 titles, including its popular physics-based puzzle game Shark Dash and more hard-core games such as N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance being optimized for the platform.
"When evaluating the technical viability of a platform, we consider three areas: camera, sensors, and processing and graphics capabilities," said Jeffrey Powers, Occipital co-founder and CEO, makers of 360 Panorama, a panoramic photo app. "BlackBerry 10 met and often exceeded our expectations for each of these areas."
RIM is even working to encourage university students in China to develop more apps and services on the BlackBerry platform. RIM and QNX are working with universities in China to launch an app development competition at the end of May. The winning apps will get a place in the BlackBerry App World.
Righting the RIM Ship
We caught up with Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner , to get his perspective on the rush of developers that appear to be ready to jump aboard the BlackBerry 10 platform. Although he views the developer interest as healthy, he told us it's too early to tell how much the BlackBerry 10 platform will help right the RIM ship.
"RIM showed off some innovative features that definitely differentiate the product. At this point it comes out to what the final devices will look like and what will the final version of the software look like," Gartenberg said.
"This was a milestone RIM had to hit. RIM had to show something impressive. They had to capture some imaginations. I think they did what they needed to do so far. But that's not good enough. It's not just a question of what they do this week. It's a question of what they do going forward."