I was reading an article by my buddy Stuart Weinberg over at the WSJ and ran across an interesting fact. Urbanspoon told the WSJ that it took two programmers a month to create their iPhone app. On the other hand it took their software development house Wanderspot three months to develop a similar app for BlackBerry. The most painful part is that the same app is just not taking off on the BlackBerry but that could be because Poynt is a more feature filled alternative.
This is a tale that we have heard from many BlackBerry developers and I am truly hoping that RIM is finally going to address the issue. With the numerous types of BlackBerry models out there it is difficult for developers to make an app that works well on all the devices. Even Pandora pointed out to GigaOm that when they originally launched for BlackBerry they did not develop an app for the Storm due to complexities. They noticed that a developer created a 3rd party app for Pandora that took off on the Storm and created one themselves. Now the Storm accounts for 60% of installs of Pandora on BlackBerrys.
The tools that RIM gives developers are weak to say the least and they force developers to create apps in the annoying constraints of the Java runtime environment that RIM refuses to give up on. According to the WSJ they were told that RIM is working on a new Drag and Drop software development toolkit that is coming out in the next few months. That might be all nice and good but RIM really needs to get on top of this problem. They have DevCon coming up in the next few months and they continue to evolve the BlackBerry development environment on a foundation that is NOT developer friendly. For example, RIM requires all applications be signed which is an onerous process that confuses the hell out of new developers.
RIM keeps on pushing the idea of Super Apps but unless they find a way to make it easier for developers to roll out such apps they are fighting uphill. I was truly hoping that OS 6 would solve this but all signs point to the fact that OS 6 will continue to be hobbled by the same tools, J2ME virtual environment, & lack of prebuilt functions that plagues current developers.
What do you think? Are you hopeful that RIM will address these issues with BlackBerry 6 and with releases before DevCon? I am counting on them to turn this around!