Since DevCon back in October of 2009 I have been waiting for RIM to release four groundbreaking developer tools. These developer tools were announced at DevCon and 3 of them were planned and expected to be released in the first half of 2010. Here we sit on July 6th and only a portion of one of them is close to being released. Hopefully RIM is still on schedule to release them before DevCon 2010 in September. According to RIM’s own words all of these services work with OS 5.0 so we can’t say that it is delayed due to OS 6 devices.
You might be wondering what these tools are and why you should care. I will do my best to list them below and explain why RIM needs to release these services ASAP:
- BlackBerry Advertising Service (Expected release: first half of 2010) – This service will let developers easily integrate advertising in their applications. RIM would provide developers access to ads from many of the top ad networks in MMA compliant guidelines. Such a service would allow developers to easily offer free advertising supported versions of their applications.
- BlackBerry Location Services (Expected release: first half of 2010 for Geolocation and Travel Time) – The location service was one of the coolest things RIM showed off at DevCon. The location services were broken into three parts including:
- Cell Site Geolocation – Letting developers get your location based on cell phone towers. This information is also crowd sourced from all BlackBerry users to get better location data.
- Reverse Geocoding – RIM actually delivered this already by allowing developers to convert location coordinates to a specific address.
- Travel Time – This new travel time service may be the Traffic application we saw earlier. It will give developers access to travel time calculations like arrival time based on distance, speed limits, and traffic conditions.
- BlackBerry Payment Service (Expected release: mid 2010) – This new service is a key feature that BlackBerry developers NEED! It essentially will allows developers to monetize applications by selling content or products inside the app like premium content, subscriptions, upgrades, products, & more.
Of all of these SDK’s and services I think the most important one is the Payment Service. Developers are handicapped because they cannot place orders or charge customers within the app. For example, say you download a limited trial of an application. You cannot just click “Buy Upgrade” and purchase the upgrade. You must go to a website or App World and purchase it elsewhere. Or say you are playing a game and the developer wants to offer more levels or functionality for a fee that is currently not possible…
I am not writing this article to shove the release dates in RIM’s face. Its great for RIM to set goals and expectations and I am not trying to discourage that. Instead this is a plea to RIM to release these services as soon as possible in all their glory. These services are exactly the tools that developers need to create super apps and outdo other platforms.
What do you think?