One of the things I have really liked in BlackBerry native apps starting with BlackBerry OS 5 has been the tight integration between them. With BlackBerry 6 and the Twitter, Facebook, BBM, and other add-on apps RIM really perfected the ability to share between the services. In BlackBerry 7 they are finally opening up this API to third party developers. This API has been slightly shadowed by the sexier NFC, OpenGL, and Compass features of BlackBerry 7 but in my opinion it is one of the most useful API additions. I was really surprised when Apple mentioned this as a flagship “magical” feature of iOS 5 when it is something RIM has done for awhile with their built in apps and is on track to open up to 3rd party devs with BlackBerry 7.
In case you don’t know what I mean by this feature here is a brief explanation. Say you are in the Facebook BlackBerry app and want to share a wall post on Twitter. You simply hit the menu button and select “Share” and it will let you share it on many of the communication platforms on your BlackBerry including: email, SMS, BBM, BBM groups, PIM, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Say you get a funny email and want to share it on Twitter. You just go to the email hit the menu button and select “Forward as” and choose one of the networks mentioned above. Same for the camera, memopad, tasks, and many other apps. RIM has been a bit inconsistent about the wording but I love the functionality. The thing is until now those cross communication features were only available to RIM developed apps. That is thankfully changing in BlackBerry 7.
In BlackBerry 7 RIM is exposing a new “Send Menu API” that will allow any signed app to take advantage of this channel. That means apps like BerryReader, Games, screenshot apps, and more will all be able to tap into your Facebook, Twitter, and other networks without having to setup their own solution. It will simply be able to use that built in menu to send a tweet or wall post.
I am really hoping that RIM finds a way to bring this API to BlackBerry 6 devices but I know they usually do not bring features into older OS’s. Still I think it will make a big difference in how social BlackBerry apps can be!
If you want to read more about the API just check out the BlackBerry 7 API docs and search for net.rim.blackberry.api.sendmenu