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Skyfire Puts BlackBerry Browser on Hold Due to Unfavorable Development Environment

Automatons Now this is some sad news. After showing off their beta browser for BlackBerry Skyfire has decided to put their BlackBerry browser on the back burner. We saw beta’s of the Skyfire browser working nicely on the BlackBerry so its a wonder that they decided to cut their losses. The really scary part are the reasons that Skyfire cites for decided to stop developing for the BlackBerry platform. (for now)

You can read the full text on Skyfire’s Blog (Thx Piotr) but the main gist is:

  • Android is a rising star with a “rich, totally open environment, a healthy app market, and a healthy advertising and search ecosystem.” Flip that around and you understand what Skyfire is saying about the BlackBerry development environment.
  • The second point does not even require me to summarize it: “Blackberry developer environment is not as favorable for cutting-edge application development.  The APIs are fragmented and inconsistent, and the Java virtual machine Blackberry requires is not efficient.”
  • The last point Skyfire makes is that they will consider developing for BlackBerry again when OS 6.0 comes out to fix the above problem

Anybody else sad to see Skyfire go? It always frustrates me that the BlackBerry development environment cannot handle developers and startups that want to push the limits due to the limitations RIM has imposed for “security,” “battery optimization”, & “Network Congestion.”

What do you think?

15 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Bad news indeed..
    So, skyfire leaves Blackberry for the rising star and easy to develop Android
    That’s just great..

  2. The android will never compare

  3. Compromising security and battery life for me is not worth it. I’ll just be patient and wait for rims webkit. And I could careless about network congestion.

  4. RIM’s seems to be investing more into hardware and meeting carrier needs than the software. Carriers don’t care; they carry multiple makes and models. RIM should consider building an OS for the personal users and use the current OS for businesses. Or instead of building a new OS, do a Microsoft and buy a company (hint. Palm is not doing so great but have a nice OS)

  5. I kinda figured this was going to happen… RIM needs to get on the ball with the webkit.

  6. I think its indicative of a problem long developing on the BlackBerry platform. Development support has been AWFUL for a couple years and now as smartphones are ramping up RIM’s OS and devv tools are so far behind it may be too late.

    I will say though I’ve suggested the idea of RIM buying out Palm for quite some time. WebOS is nice and could be the kicker BlackBerry needs to succeed in the consumer market where growth is accelerating.

  7. It’s not like this is news to any BlackBerry developer. The development tools are abysmal, APIs are dated, devices are fragmented, the market is a mess, etc. Developers have been telling this to RIM for years and RIM has simply failed to take meaningful steps to address developer concerns. We’ll see how the latest dev tools perform, but a small evolution isn’t going to be enough to stem the losses; RIM development needs a major overhaul. Come on, Mike, make something happen.

  8. Anyone says… Opera mini 5? They did it.

  9. This same sentiment has been echoed by third-party BlackBerry developers for years!

    @RIM: When is RIM going to wake up and take notice?!?

  10. Skyfire will not be missed at all…

  11. Of course, we can all say “so what?” or “who needs them, we’ve got Bolt, Opera Mini 5 and a RIM webkit browser on the way”.

    That’s not the point and a lot of BlackBerry fanboy’s (I’m a fanboy too!) just keep missing it: This is the growing trend with all major 3rd-party application developers. Either they don’t want to develop for the BlackBerry because of the obstacles mentioned in this article, they will develop for BB but they’ll get to it when they get to it (sometimes a YEAR after the iPhone version!) or they’ll port it to the BB but it’ll be some chopped-up half-a**ed version of the iPhone or Android application.

    The BB platform, in its current state, stinks to develop on. Way to go RIM! But keep those new devices flowing into the Carriers stores. That attitude will be the death of the brand.

  12. You’ve hit the nail on the head there ALB. As little as a year or two ago, dev’s built for BlackBerry (often first)and just dealt with the “pain” because BlackBerry and WinMo were “it”. Now that Android and Apple have grown so much, and development for them is so much easier, devs obviously see plenty of market to either delay or in the end ignore BlackBerry platform. I’m not talking about big devs that can afford thousands to attend RIM developer conferences, I’m talking the indies and the mom and pop shops where a great deal of innovation originates. But as we can see from this situation, that feel is growing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not celebrating that there are 50 fart apps for iPhone and only a half dozen for BlackBerry and implying that is important or has deep meaning. BUT, if its easy for 50 people to build fart apps, its easy for them to then step up to something more interesting or complex in application. But on BlackBerry platform it isn’t, it has never been, and if RIM doesn’t fix this soon they WILL see platform decline like WinMo and Palm are seeing. Not a precipice, but gradual over several years…and inevitable. RIM could afford to sit back and let the tools suck and let it be hard in the “old days” when there was no iPhone or Android and WinMo and Palm were really no threat. They make 85-90% of their revenue from hardware sales so it is obviously hard for them to see that they must invest more and faster in the software side of the platform.

    OS 5 has been FAR too slow to deploy. If what Skyfire is saying is true that OS 6 is another year out (carriers will want at LEAST 3-6 months of testing before deploying, look at OS 5 for Tour), that’s another year of Apple and Android eating away at RIM’s market with not a fighting word from RIM. People are excited about iPhone OS 4 and the major platform changes it brings, the world is not buzzing about ANYTHING RIM is doing or plans to bring. “Buzz” drives stock prices and drives device sales.

    • It is so very upsetting. I loathe all that is Apple. So, I would never even consider buying an iPhone, but there is a very strong possibility I will go the Android route when it is time to upgrade. The biggest thing holding me to BlackBerry right now is their keyboard. It might sound silly to some, but I use my BlackBerry, first and foremost, as a non-verbal communications device. I do not want a touch-screen. I would prefer not to deal with a combo touch-screen/keyboard device. Games don’t matter to me. If I get my hands on an Android based device with a sweet keyboard – I will have a lot of thinking to do.

      You are right on the money with RIM and their OS deployment. I fully understand that they could be on OS 10.0 but it’s up to the carriers to test, verify and publish “official” OS releases. So, we can’t fault RIM completely for the delays in OS releases. What we can hold them accountable for is ho-hum OS improvements. Did OS 5.0 really knock your socks off? It didn’t for me. Users on BES got the most out of OS 5.0. I, being a BIS user, didn’t get a whole lot.

      If RIM spent half of their time, money & effort into back-end R&D – the OS, BIS features – as they do pushing out new devices, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. The fact that they released a device (Tour 9630) and within weeks there was already credible talk of its replacement adding WiFi and a Trackpad is insulting to people who bought the junky 9630. I know Verizon has a lot to do with it, but RIM needs to man-up in these matters and realize that they’re going to lose a lot more customers than they’ll gain if they let the carrier’s dictate their business.

  13. I’ve get from here a nice and very quality info so I’d like to ask about the Blackberry application development so there is any kind of info so tell us.

  14. damn i got the blackberry 9700 for nothin??

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