200 developers to gather to celebrate BlackBerry Tech Centre opening in Vancouver today
Today’s BlackBerry 10 launch will be cause for celebration in Vancouver, where Research in Motion is opening a developers’ centre — one of only three in North America.
The new centre is located at Wavefront, the Vancouver-headquartered Canadian Centre of Excellence for Wireless Commercialisation and Research where start-ups and more senior companies test and develop apps for all wireless mobile platforms — from Apple’s iOS to Android, Windows, BlackBerry and others — and connect to wireless carriers around the globe.
Later today, some 200 developers will gather at Wavefront to celebrate the opening of the BlackBerry Tech Centre there, an event that Wavefront president and CEO James Maynard describes as an acknowledgment of Vancouver’s significance as a centre of wireless innovation.
“We have a very strong technology community here that thinks mobile,” he said. “In terms of the mindset and the talent, we rank really highly in the world, so I’m glad that BlackBerry has recognized that in terms of putting the centre here.”
Its Vancouver centre will be Research in Motion’s hub for the entire Pacific Northwest, not just Vancouver.
“This is a Pacific Northwest footprint so that means invitations are from Oregon north to come to this event, it’s not just a Vancouver thing,” Maynard said.
“I think that is significant — why did they come to Vancouver as opposed to dropping into Seattle or Portland?”
The other two BlackBerry centres are in Kitchener, Waterloo and Santa Clara, California. Maynard said with Wavefront also having a presence in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, it can offer RIM a link to developers right across the country.
“They can roll one program through us and we can reach the developer communities across the country as well, so it gives RIM great leverage,” he said.
The BlackBerry centre is actually a room filled with computers. But within those walls will be the test devices developers need, plus computers and the software for developing apps and porting applications over from other mobile platforms.
“There will be RIM people here, not full-time, but there are RIM-dedicated developer resources that will be here in addition to the hardware and software systems that they provide,” Maynard said.
That ability to port applications — meaning a developer who has an iOS app can relatively easily create a BlackBerry 10 version — is a key point in the new BlackBerry 10 platform, said Maynard. With earlier BlackBerry operating systems, the process was long, complicated and costly.
Another strength Maynard suggested that will serve RIM well in the rollout of BlackBerry 10 is its long-standing relationship with both enterprise customers and with wireless carriers.
“They have unbelievably strong relationships with hundreds of carriers around the world, which means their distribution — I mean assuming the product holds up as billed and we’re hearing it’s pretty good — it means that they’re going to be able to,” said Maynard, pausing a second before he continued: “hopefully they’ll survive.”