RIM was a little more quiet about the Native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook but we got some sweet hands on time with Karl Berggren from TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) and Chris Smith (RIM). We showed you the power of the native SDK earlier today and how it allowed a RIM employee to port the Linux version of Quake III to the PlayBook in 4 days. While that will allow for some awesome games and gaming engines RIM has some sweet surprises in store for app developers in the Native SDK.
The TAT XML based Cascades User Interface Engine is baked right into the PlayBook and can do some pretty impressive stuff. For example, Karl was showing off a sample contacts application that would rise into 3D when you tilted the device. The astonishing part was that the whole app was written in about 4 screens of code. According to RIM this will allow developers to add visually appealing interfaces to BlackBerry PlayBook apps with ease. Developers will be able to use the UI elements or create their own using OpenGL if they have the experience.
Its nice to see that this is all baked into the PlayBook OS and will not require developers to repackage a library with every app. RIM is working on this to allow developers to create BlackBerry UI experiences that can be used consistently by developers if they so choose so users know how to interact with them. They are still deciding on which extensions they are going to support or develop but this shows some serious promise for BlackBerry apps. From what Chris and Ian explained the POSIX compatibility of the PlayBook OS will allow developers to easily reuse assets they have from other systems like Linux and bring them to the PlayBook. I have a dream of seeing VLC Player on my PlayBook…
I am writing this on the plane so I cannot go into too much detail (need to sleep!) but I highly recommend checking out the whole video and I will follow up with some more comments hopefully tomorrow. Let us know if you have any questions!