1500 developers descended on Amsterdam to get a behind the scenes look at Blackberry 10 at BlackBerry Jam Europe got underway today. As the first address by BlackBerry announcements were expected from serious BlackBerry players – and we were not disappointed.
Stephen Bates, Europe BlackBerry MD and Alec Saunders VP Developer Relations, could hardly contain their excitement as they delivered their keynotes.
“I have never seen as much excitement and enthusiasm for a platform that compares to what we are seeing with BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry Jam Europe is a great time for us to thank the developer community for their continued loyalty, support and amazing enthusiasm,” said Alec Saunders, Vice President of Ecosystem and Developer Relations. “We want to keep that momentum going and are today announcing updates to the toolkit, our reward and incentive programs, and more. We are listening to our community and are evolving our programs to help them achieve success on BlackBerry 10 and be recognized for their efforts and accomplishments.”
Vivek Bhardwaj Head of Software Portfolio for BlackBerry revealed their new feature: Type and Go. I had a private demo of this last night where we typed into the Q10 “Email Jo” and the BlackBerry 10 instantly opened up the Email app and put in Jo’s email address. Same applies for “Tweet This is too cool” and Twitter app open and put in the text. Note: it can not be rolled out to the Z10 as it needs a physical keyboard. Vivek confirms that when the Q10 launches it will be built into it and will include Type and Go for Email, Twitter, BBM as a start. This will also be added into the SDK so developers can incorporate it into their own apps.
The Type and Go was just the first announcement made. The developer community can look forward to the following:
BlackBerry 10.1 SDK
- The updated tools for building or tweaking applications for the BlackBerry 10 smartphone, which features a physical QWERTY keyboard, are now available. The tools will allow developers to optimize their apps to run on the smartphone’s 720 x 720 display. The toolkit also contains a new BlackBerry Q10 simulator. Apps built natively for BlackBerry 10 using the Cascades™ framework have built-in functionality that automatically adjusts to various screen specifications. More information on this update is available here
Built for BlackBerry App Program
- BlackBerry continues to support its developer community and reward the effort and work for building quality applications through the Built for BlackBerry app program. At BlackBerry Jam Europe, BlackBerry announced updates to the Built for BlackBerry program including a top Built for BlackBerry list on BlackBerry World to increase discoverability and marketability of Built for BlackBerry apps. Eventually, the only apps that will be featured on the BlackBerry World carousel will be Built for BlackBerry apps. For more information see here
Limited Edition BlackBerry 10 Smartphones
- BlackBerry also announced that 12,000 Limited Edition smartphones are being built exclusively for developers who created apps in time for launch. Developers who had previously qualified to receive a BlackBerry Dev Alpha A or B testing device, and who have an application submitted on BlackBerry World, may apply to swap the testing device unit for the red, limited edition model of the BlackBerry Z10. Details around the terms and conditions can be found here
BlackBerry World Vendor Portal Open for BlackBerry Q10 App Submissions
- Developers can now add the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone as a targeted device in the BlackBerry World vendor portal. This will allow developers to have their apps published at the outset, when the BlackBerry Q10 is expected to launch in April this year.
Other key Announcements:
Alec Saunders revealed research conducted by Strategy Analytics:
- BlackBerry Developer Support increased by 28% verses other platforms that has an “erosion”
- BlackBerry Developer Program is the highest ranked developer program in the industry receiving an 8 out 10 compared to Apple & Google who got 6.8 out of 10.
So what does this mean ?
It shows that around the world, strong development companies have taken the stance that BlackBerry is part of their future for their business. They need to be where their customers expect their apps to be and this is on the BlackBerry platform. They are currently investing time and resources into building BlackBerry applications which translates into customers having a wide choice of quality apps. Something that BlackBerry fans were lacking in the past.
The 1500 strong developer crowd can attest to the fact that BlackBerry is much more in tune with their needs and has taken their feedback very seriously to provide them with the tools they need to produce their apps.
It is clear to see that there is not just support for Blackberry but rather a Movement For BlackBerry largely driven by the eagerly expecting-apps-hungry customer.