Developers to RIM: “We’ve got your back”
RIM has been in the news a whole lot in the past couple of days. Some of them good, some of them bad, and others a bit meh. CEO Thorsten Heins has even been quoted on a recent interview he did for the Telegraph that “Most of the media is very black and white – they look at every little thing that could be bad and put it on to RIM’s shoulders, and let’s be honest we don’t like it. This is something we have to get through and convince the critics and the market that BB10 is going to cut it. And BB7 is still a competitive product; we are not in a trough.”
Developers are clearly convinced. There has been a gargantuan at RIM to not only create a new OS, but as Heins added in his interview, “to build a platform around it”. Unlike other companies who have reportedly paid developers to try their platform only to tell them that the very next version won’t support their current handsets, RIM is genuinely talking to, listening, supporting and creating a community around developing for the next generation of BlackBerry software. For one, the team is steadily growing and RIM is adding developer evangelists to their ranks from all over the world. Not only that, but they have eliminated all costs to become a developer and submit apps. They have also revamped and completely reorganized their developer site, made it easier to download their SDK’s and other developer tools, and are even offering rewards for active developers on their forums.
Shortly after their big announcement of new features for BB10 at this year’s BBWorld conference in Orlando, RIM announced their mission of making BB10 successful by bringing their hugely popular parallel mini-developer conference BlackBerry 10 Jam to 23 cities around the world, also completely free. With this, they also brought the opportunity for developers to get their hands on one of a limited supply of Developer Alpha devices (free for qualified developers) for them to test their apps on. With the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour nearing its end, and BlackBerry 10 Jam Americas hurdling towards us later in September, RIM is not ending support for developers and is holding various hackathons in South America for the rest of the summer. RIM quietly introduced http://blackberryjamsessions.com a few weeks ago, and has been updating the site with upcoming hackathons and other developer events happening in South America, and Mexico. All in all, wether RIM fails or succeeds should not measured by what the media says, but rather by the fruits of their efforts in attracting and keeping developers on the BlackBerry 10 platform. So far, the response has been more than good. Clearly the message from developers to RIM is “we’ve got your back,” myself included.