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Summary:

The first folks who will get a chance to see if Research in Motion will be able to arrest its steep decline in the smartphone market will be software developers who attend its BlackBerry Jam conference in May. But what are they getting?

BlackBerry 10 QNX

The first folks who will get a chance to see if Research in Motion will be able to arrest its steep decline in the smartphone market will be software developers who attend its BlackBerry Jam conference in May. But it’s a little unclear what they’ll be getting when they receive those BlackBerry 10 handsets.

The company will give away around 2,000 handsets in May, it told Bloomberg Friday. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the BlackBerry 10 handsets coBlackBerry 10 QNXuld be RIM’s most important product generation ever–as its U.S. market share crumbles under the weight of unsold stodgy BlackBerry 7 devices–and seeding developers is an important step in building momentum.

However, I’m not sure what RIM expects to accomplish, based on its statements. RIM told Bloomberg that the devices it plans to give away in May are “not in any way indicative of what the final experience on BlackBerry 10 will be like.” In fact, RIM said features as basic as the screen appearance and navigation could change substantially between May and “later this year,” when the new devices are supposed to launch.

So why would anyone spend time building an application around a user interface and navigation design that may never see the light of day? Sure, there are some general things to be learned from developing for the QNX operating system (now known as BlackBerry 10), and judging by the lack of activity the average mobile developer hasn’t spent a lot of time with RIM’s Playbook. And it’s also probably a wise investment in goodwill: people like free stuff.

But mobile software developers who are quite busy with iOS and Android apps are going to need more than a free phone that won’t bear any resemblance to the phone that potential consumers will buy if they’re going to consider doing business with RIM. Even if what they see in May blows their minds, they’ll know that it’s going to change.

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  1. Meh, you say all this as if it’s a BAD thing. RIM is doing essentially what Microsoft did a few months back at their Build conference, in giving out a tablet that might have VERY little resemblance to any shipping product.

    I’m not very optimistic for RIM’s ability to get a viable product into the marketplace, but this is actually a breath of fresh air in the generally gloomy environment.

    1. Going to have to disagree: Windows 8 may arrive on different hardware than provided at Build, but the “navigation” system (for example) on Windows 8 devices isn’t going to change between then and when it launches. People have been building test apps for Windows 8 ever since Build with the presumption that the fundamentals aren’t going to change. RIM can’t even promise its developers that much, it’s actually saying the consumer experience will be totally different than the phones it distributes. So what’s the point?

    2. You are much smarter than Tom. Just another article against Rimm…

  2. ok lego Kravitz you know everything going on with RIM

  3. Microsoft Windows, COM, DCOM, .NET, are all built on component interface, which to the programmers means the application programming interface is ironclad. Rim’s application interface is the absolute opposite to Microsoft’s component interface philosophy and product design foundation. Rim’s roots never enforced API integrity, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Unix, Linux, in fact, all the well designed operating systems enforce a stable ironclad API. Rim’s operating and API is the butt end joke joke of the entire industry. The reason why Rim bought QNX is because QNX is a microkernel allowing Rim to remain vogue on a flux API which Rim likes to be on a separate OS layer per device, a engineer’s bane forced upon a software discipline, in effect handcuffing software developers to remain a slave to the hardware enginerrs’s wims to fudge whatever hardware attributes they want regardless of the software disasters imposed on the developers. This Rim fatal flaw stubbornly remains as Nokia has finally ditched by Steven Elop now able to produce superb marvels such as the winsome Lumia series which already pronounce death to anything BB10 can promise. I foresaw the death of QNX and BB10 foresaken by all developers who also saw this monolithic fatal design flaw of Rim and said hala la vista to anything Rim forever for very good reasons. No thank you Rim, I have no need for another Rim doorstopper.

    1. Hey, Thanks for the awesome comment. I came to write something similar to this, but wouldn’t have spent this much time writing it all out. Kudos.

    2. Agenda. What is yours? From Fired RIMM empty employee as with the other RIMM bashes. Your analysis is totally off base. APP, APP,APP, that all you unemployed guys talk about.
      You compare Rimm with Apple. To Rimm’s addressable market, to use the dismissive words of the IT chief Apple is a gimmick to the corporate communities. On a cost basis he liens to windows8. Unlike what you and others are writing, his difficulty is NOT executive wanting to switch to Apple but not changing out of BB hence the gimmick comment. His group writes the BB apps they need and want that you never see.
      To run BB he has to run separate servers and pay license fees which he may be able to save money with win8 with its total integration. He can’t be sure at this time a key for RIMM is future TCO of BBfusion or BES relative to future win8. Apple licensed MS Exchange which was there ONLY way they can get into corporations. Whether the license extends to Exchange8 I don’t know, do you or anyone? If it doesn’t you can kiss Apples corporate inroads goodbye. So while you guys get wonky and trivial I’m interested in making money and longer term that’s not apple. Get a Job.

      IT

  4. Jeysen Walsh Friday, March 23, 2012

    Apple’s recent RIM outselling in Canada is a real magnificent milestone for Apple. I liked Berrys like many people did, but rivalry rules mean the survival of the best of the best. RIM should make stronger OEM and genuine parts manufacturers relationships to build cutting edge hardware as well as stronger app ecosystem to entice developers bring thir apps to their platform. It’s unknown how these new smartphones will sell. Nevertheless, we’ll bring our World Live Cams app with 4000 webcams worldwide to BlackBerry PlayBook 2 with BlackBerry OS 10: htt p://livecams.vinternete.co m

  5. Consumer and organizational sentiments never lie, they are always influenced by realistic qualitative and quantifiable values. Apple is the undisputed leader in providing realistic qualitative and quantifiable values by leaps and bounds that none of its competition can even dream of competing against. Be real, Rim’s chance of even surviving against Apple’s burgeoning and lasting dominance is abysmal, Rim should wake up and close shop, or go into a different business.

  6. Of course, the consumers will never see this because this is a DEVELOPER PROTOTYPE, please make your article clear, your article is misleading.

    So according to RIM:

    “The purpose of this seeding is to give BlackBerry 10 Jam developer attendees a testing device to create excitement as they start to develop BlackBerry 10 applications alongside us.

    To be clear, this is not a BlackBerry 10 device. It’s the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha. It includes a modified version of the BlackBerry PlayBook OS which shows the path to the BlackBerry 10 OS, which has been customized to a phone. This device will allow developers to test the applications they are building with our BlackBerry 10 toolsets.”

  7. Guy who wrote this just seems to be bashing rim. I personally like blackberry’s and think the 9810 and 9900 are good, solid phones

  8. I believe there has been enough bberry bashing already. This is how developers get things going. Also anyone who knows handset development knows nothing earthshaking can change in 3-4 months when carrier certification happens. So give the nice guys in Canada a chance. They may surprise us all.

  9. If this article is stating that they gave their phones to app programmers to look at. Then all they would have needed was the source code, no matter how dramatic the actual UI changes?

  10. Pretty pointless article. UIs will be created with “Cascades”,
    any refinements made until release will not affect app development negatively. Giving out handsets to work out bugs is obviously a good idea.

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