Bacon Bits: dispatches from BlackBerry World

Our very own Jeff Bacon spent the week in sunny Orlando, Florida, for RIM’s BlackBerry World and BlackBerry Jam events. Throughout the week, he’s been sending us brief notes and trenchant thoughts, so we thought it best to compile them here for your enjoyment. Expect a more detailed write up from Jeff next week, but for now, enjoy these Bacon Bits! – Ed.

  • The Wi-Fi here sucked ass. How can it be 2012 and no one can invent Wi-Fi hardware that can handle conference load?
  • The vibe is night and day from DevCon Americas last Fall. I was seriously worried last fall that the low attendance and negative attitudes on BlackBerry’s future by just about everyone was a sign of the end, but BlackBerry World and BlackBerry Jam are hopping and busy. People seem generally upbeat about BlackBerry 10’s potential.
  • I think BlackBerry Jam had a few too many sessions, however, as there were lots with tons of empty seats — just due to splitting the audience too thin I think. I can’t figure out why they spent so much on this event when they are doing a roadshow with BlackBerry Jam in 20 cities around the world. They could have saved travel and hotel costs for people by just doing a smaller Jam here and letting people know the dates for the road show.
  • I’m kinda disappointed that the BlackBerry Dev Alpha device doesn’t have a drop of the OS with the cool Cascades UI stuff on it, but I also understand that RIM wants to make it crystal clear that these are dev devices, not anything like the production hardware or UI. It only has a camera app and browser on it — basically exactly like the PlayBook OS 2.0 beta from DevCon last year. Apparently most of the PlayBook apps run on it fine though (I’ve yet to test that myself).
  • One of the most interesting announcements from BlackBerry World is that, with some conditions, RIM will guarantee apps make $10,000 on the BlackBerry 10 platform in year one or they’ll pay the app developer the difference. All the conditions have not been finalized yet, but from what I hear speaking with RIM folk, the conditions are being set to avoid paying out for free apps and to prevent people from taking advantage of the system. The only real potential barrier for developers is that the apps will have to be certified through a process and set of requirements that are not yet locked down. However, I’m told that the requirements will not be onerous and are mainly geared to making sure fart apps don’t qualify for the offer.
  • I find it amusing that some people have twisted this offer around to say that RIM has to pay developers to bring apps to BlackBerry 10, when in reality it’s RIM looking at the sales numbers and knowing that it is not actually going to have to cut many cheques due to the revenue developers already generate on PlayBook. I think this is an awesome developer outreach program. Isn’t there a stat that says something like 1% of iOS apps make over $1,000 (here’s a detailed survey of iOS app revenue numbers, ed.)? RIM is pretty confident in the BlackBerry 10 potential based on its PlayBook experience. Not all apps make money on every platform, but privately I’ve been told by a number of people from RIM that they’re not worried in the least that this offer will cost them much since they know the sales metrics of the quality apps on the platform.

About the author

Jeff Bacon

Jeff Bacon is the Director of Mobile Strategy at bitHeads Inc. He helps companies understand how to best bring their business to mobile and plan execution strategies to maximise the value mobile can bring to any business. You can read more on the bitHeads’ blog: or follow @bitHeads or @TheSuaveHog on Twitter. Check out bitHeads’ mobile portfolio here:

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