RIM Explains Platform Strategy Including Lack of BlackBerry Java on BBX Platform

RIM stated at DevCon last week that the upcoming BlackBerry platform named BBX will not support Java.  Alec Saunders, VP of Dev Relations and Ecosystem Development, released a statement detailing the reasoning behind to lack of Java support on the BBX platform.

All of Alec’s statements can be read in full on the DevBlog; here is the condensed version of what was said:

While we will continue to support our BlackBerry Java developer community as they build for BlackBerry smartphones, after further investigation we decided against supporting BlackBerry Java on BlackBerry BBX. We concluded that the BlackBerry Java experience on the BlackBerry PlayBook platform would ultimately not satisfy us, our development community, or our customers as the platform continues to evolve.

RIM believes that it would be best to use the BBX C/C++ Native SDK or WebWorks apps moving forward

  • The Native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook, supporting apps using C / C++.
  • The WebWorks SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook, supporting apps written in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS. HTML5 apps will work on both the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphone operating systems today.

It was also mentioned that the future BBX devices as well as the PlayBook will support two different dev communities above and beyond the core super apps.  They will be supported thru:

  • The Adobe® AIR® SDK for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, which supports apps built using Adobe AIR, Adobe® Flex®, and Adobe® Flash®.
  • The BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, which supports apps written using Android v2.3.

The most important information for the Devs that are focusing on Java development came at the end of Alec’s statements:

So, the next big question on your mind may be: Is this the end of the BlackBerry Java SDK?

The short answer: Absolutely not.

There are currently over 70 million smartphones in market today running the BlackBerry operating system and this number is growing:

  • The first BlackBerry 7 smartphones were just released, which will sizably increase the addressable market for BlackBerry Java applications.
  • There are more BlackBerry 7 smartphones yet to come and our customer base will not switch overnight to BlackBerry BBX-based smartphones; both platforms will co-exist for quite some time.
  • BlackBerry smartphone users are well known for getting long lives out of their smartphones. Even when upgrading to a newer model, older models are often not taken out of service, but are instead passed along to others.
  • RIM is committed to its BlackBerry development community. BlackBerry Jam is just the start. Developers can expect enhancements to continue on the BlackBerry Java SDK, making it easier and faster to produce money making apps for in-market smartphones running the BlackBerry operating system.

For more information on the various development options for the BlackBerry platform, check out the all-new landing page for developer.blackberry.com, as well as the newly launched microsites for theBlackBerry WebWorks SDK, the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, and the BlackBerry Native SDK.

Once again if you are interested in reading the press release in its entirety it is available on the DevBlog via the link at the top of the post. 

 

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