RIM has just sent out a media note on their upcoming BlackBerry 10 Jam event in Orlando, and it’s clear from the information contained within that they’re taking the right approach to build developer excitement for the BlackBerry 10 platform. RIM has indicated that not only will they be launching BlackBerry 10 developer tools in beta at the event, but developer attendees will also receive a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device to test their applications. For clarity, I’ve posted RIM’s media note verbatim below so there is no confusion that about the device or its purpose (cut to fanboys in May saying “WTF? BlackBerry 10 smartphones look like mini PlayBooks! Suxx0rs troll troll troll..’).
Although the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, or the modified BlackBerry PlayBook OS it will be running, will likely give little indication as to what the final BlackBerry 10 user experience will be, it’s the smart continuation of RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 developer beta. Prior to the PB 2.0 dev beta, BlackBerry developers often had to wait until a new OS version or handset was publicly available to start building and testing their applications. While key RIM partners have always had early access to devices and OS versions, this is really the first time developers across the board will have access to the tools they need to embrace the platform.
Right now, RIM needs every developer it can get, and making sure that developers can have their BlackBerry apps ready at launch day is a big win for them and consumers nervous about committing to the next-gen BlackBerry ecosystem. While I believe that RIM should go even farther and give away the BlackBerry PlayBook for free (a larger installed base = more incentive for devs to make apps for the platform = more apps ready for BlackBerry 10 at launch), the company is showing that they’re listening to developers. It will be interesting to see how those same developers respond in May.
Disclosure: I worked at RIM on the Social Media team from 2009-2011 (including Developer Relations Social Media). It was fun.
Some exciting news for our developer community. At BlackBerry 10 Jam in Orlando May 1 – 3 2012, we will not only launch the BlackBerry 10 developer tools in beta, but developer attendees will receive a limited edition developer prototype device – the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha. This is not a BlackBerry 10 smartphone – it is a prototype running a modified version of the PlayBook OS which will help developers design their apps for the BlackBerry 10 smartphone form factor. It’s not the final hardware or OS – it’s a device to help developers get started with designing for what’s coming.
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.
We are only offering this device to our BlackBerry 10 Jam developer attendees, as it is a prototype testing device meant specifically for them. This is not a commercial product and will not be seeded to our end users or attendees of BlackBerry World. There is limited capacity for BlackBerry 10 Jam, so developers should register as soon as possible to be part of this amazing opportunity.