RIM really delivered this year with their BlackBerry Developers Conference. Their “Shock & Awe” keynote impressed practically everybody there with how much RIM has done since last year. There was just one announcement after the other from a new Theme Studio to new services like Geolocation and a free Push API’s. I think the best example was when one developer stood up in a “soapbox” session planning on complaining about the Eclipse plugin and realized that RIM had fixed the bugs he was going to mention in their release of 1.1 the day before.
This might be looking at the world through rose colored glasses but practically every developer I met at the conference was impressed that RIM seems to actually be listening AND acting on their recommendations. RIM has made a huge step in turning the tide when it comes to enabling BlackBerry developers to create engaging applications.
I admit to being one of the more vocal complainers who thought that RIM needed to scrap the whole BlackBerry OS to compete with newer more agile smartphone operating systems but with the latest tools and API’s in OS 5.0 that may no longer be necessary. RIM is out to prove that they can not only compete but even lead in this space by extending their services and tools. Its unbelievable to hear that in the next year RIM will be rolling out much needed additions and features like a WebKit browser, Location Service, Widgets, Advertising Service, Academic Program, and more. They are even working on the whole ecosystem by helping draw attention to developer services like device compatibility testing and possible shared libraries in the future. In the previous months before DevCon there was a definite lull in progress from RIM but now it seems like they were just holding back the announcements for DevCon.
What also shocked me was that I did not hear BES or security mentioned once during a presentation the whole time I was there. It looks like RIM is seriously focusing on the consumer market and putting a huge effort in righting many of their wrongs. I am not saying that RIM does not have a way to go but they are finally starting to make huge leaps in the right direction.
What do you think? Did the 2009 DevCon give you reason to hope for better days ahead?