The Battle for BlackBerry 10
During Thursdays disastrous Q1 results, the news that BlackBerry 10 is not going to be released this side of the year didn’t really surprise me.
In fact, I’d have been totally surprised if RIM had announced that it would be ready.
I based that view on the fact that we still don’t have a BB10 OS (even an alpha) to test our code with and none of the sdk’s have reached the stage where we could actually call them bb10 sdk’s. The majority are working with the simulator and some are testing using the BlackBerry Alpha device, which currently runs a modified PlayBook OS.
This position led me (and many other developers) to the conclusion that BlackBerry 10 wasn’t imminent.
In my opinion, the backlash over the delay is completely over the top and you certainly can’t blame the developers that are working flat out on BB10. To even hint that they are not working hard enough, or doing enough is ludicrous.
A lot of developers will be feeling let down and disappointed and that is completely understandable but think about this for a moment.
Do developers really want to produce apps for a hurriedly, rushed out the door OS that people will will not be happy with, complain about and don’t stick with? An app is only as good as the underlying OS that it is written for and a buggy OS will not bring out the best in any app, regardless of how well it is coded.
In contrast, a first class, stable OS, gives developers the best platform to work with, a whole lot of happy users to promote and sell your app to, which results in better apps and more sales.
BlackBerry 10 Developer Enthusiasm
Since taking over last year as VP of Developer Relations, Alec Saunders has been relentless in getting developers on-board to write for BlackBerry 10. That hard work and commitment has been paying off as more and more developers have been encouraged to code for what is sure to be a superb OS and a super development platform.
We’ve also seen a vast amount of tools, sdk’s and simulators being made available to developers. These are not just one-offs but periodically updated, with more to come.
One thing has stood out for me though and that is the direct access that any developer has. If you have a query about development, you can ask them directly and they will get back to you. That is support at the highest level.
I’ve written for iOS, Android and a plethora of older platforms. In that time, I have never came across the support levels that are currently in place for Developers coding towards the upcoming BlackBerry 10.
I’m not a kiss-ass kind of guy. I’m direct and blunt and when something is failing I’m not slow in pointing it out. On the other hand, you have to give credit where it is due and Alec Saunders and his whole team deserve a whole lot of credit not only for what they have done but for what they are continuing to do.
Speak to any developer who has attended any of the cities in the BlackBerry Jam World Tour and the same words crop up every time – invigorating, exciting, enthusiastic, energetic, etc. Most developers come away from the event totally energized and totally committed to writing for BB10.
The excitement around developers looking to code for BlackBerry 10 has been contagious and nothing’s changed. That air of excitement, that buzz should still be there.
I’ve worked on projects where the date has been brought forward 3 months and caused havoc as developers were pushed to the max to get projects meeting delivery schedules. I’ve also worked on projects where the completion date has been pushed back by a year, for varying reasons. This is part and parcel of a developers life and they should be used to it.
BlackBerry 10 has been pushed back a bit. It’s not the best news but from a developers view, its not disastrous.
The battle to get BlackBerry 10 to the masses goes on and make no mistake, it is a battle. I’m not referring to the pretty pics of the alpha device, the fake leaked images, the incessant pressure by consumers and the media in telling RIM where they have went wrong and how to fix it. This is a developer based article.
The biggest battle that faces Alec Saunders and his team is from Research In Motion. Now that is a statement that needs explaining.
I meet and chat to developers on a daily basis. I’m constantly pushing, nudging and showing them the benefits of developing for BB10. I’m infectious (so I’m told) and many of them take a look, listen to my ramblings, watch my tutorials and get interested. I’ll keep in touch with each developer and company I’ve promoted BB10 to and it’s amazing the change in them as they have spent the time investigating it for themselves and reaching the same conclusion, BlackBerry 10 looks a superb platform to develop for. I take a personal pride in every developer that I’ve converted to BlackBerry and it’s difficult to avoid using the words “I told you so” when any developer tells me “this is fantastic”.
That’s the good side of it. The bad side is when you get a developer on-board, they get interested and then you receive a phone call or email saying
“I thought you said the support for BlackBerry devs was exceptional. Are you kidding?’
When that happens, I cringe because I’ve got used to what they’re going to say. They’ve been involved in other “areas” of RIM and got slapped in the face. With many of them I’ve tried explaining but with many it’s a losing battle. If RIM don’t want them as developers, they are happy to develop elsewhere. A lot of these are not just individual developers, they are major UK companies and that equals a lot of developers.
What I do is a tiny fraction of what the Developer Relations team are doing. If that is affecting the amount of developers I’m getting on-board, how many are being affected on a larger scale.
This is an important issue. Every single lost developer is the loss of a potential great app, game, service or whatever. It’s the gain of another OS and it shouldn’t be happening.
This is happening often and is not a rare event. It has personally happened to our company as well but we’re in a better position to deal with it.
I’m not going to name and shame the RIM services involved here as that’s not what we do at Rapid Berry. I will take it up privately though.
Alec Saunders and his team need the rest of RIM (developer related) on-board with them and they need them on-board now. They can’t do it all on their own. Every developer matters and every developer that wants to code for BlackBerry, whether it be BB10 or any other area, should be getting encouragement and support from every single area of Research In Motion.
Its still exciting times to be a BlackBerry developer and a BlackBerry user.
Sure, there’s a lot needs to be done but if RIM, developers and users all get on-board and stick together, what a platform will be produced.
BlackBerry 10 could change the face of the mobile industry. Be a part of that and get on-board now.