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RIM Explains Platform Strategy Including Lack of BlackBerry Java on BBX Platform


We told you that RIM officially said at DevCon last week that the upcoming BlackBerry BBX Platform would not support BlackBerry Java. Now Alec Saunders from RIM has detailed a bit more about that strategy on their DevBlog. They more or less explain that BlackBerry Java will not be supported on the BBX platform and what RIM’s future strategy is. Here is exactly what they have to say about BlackBerry Java:

While we will continue to support our BlackBerry Java developer community as they build for BlackBerry smartphones, after further investigation we decided against supporting BlackBerry Java on BlackBerry BBX. We concluded that the BlackBerry Java experience on the BlackBerry PlayBook platform would ultimately not satisfy us, our development community, or our customers as the platform continues to evolve.

The way to go forward on the BBX platform is either using the BBX C/C++ Native SDK or WebWorks apps or in RIM’s words:

  • The Native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook, supporting apps using C / C++.
  • The WebWorks SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook, supporting apps written in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS. HTML5 apps will work on both the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphone operating systems today.

RIM also confirms that the PlayBook and future BBX devices also support two development communities beyond the core super apps through:

  • The Adobe® AIR® SDK for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, which supports apps built using Adobe AIR, Adobe® Flex®, and Adobe® Flash®.
  • The BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, which supports apps written using Android v2.3.

The most important thing for BlackBerry Java Developers to read is the end of Alec’s strategy explanation:

So, the next big question on your mind may be: Is this the end of the BlackBerry Java SDK?

The short answer: Absolutely not.

There are currently over 70 million smartphones in market today running the BlackBerry operating system and this number is growing:

  • The first BlackBerry 7 smartphones were just released, which will sizably increase the addressable market for BlackBerry Java applications.
  • There are more BlackBerry 7 smartphones yet to come and our customer base will not switch overnight to BlackBerry BBX-based smartphones; both platforms will co-exist for quite some time.
  • BlackBerry smartphone users are well known for getting long lives out of their smartphones. Even when upgrading to a newer model, older models are often not taken out of service, but are instead passed along to others.
  • RIM is committed to its BlackBerry development community. BlackBerry Jam is just the start. Developers can expect enhancements to continue on the BlackBerry Java SDK, making it easier and faster to produce money making apps for in-market smartphones running the BlackBerry operating system.

For more information on the various development options for the BlackBerry platform, check out the all-new landing page for, as well as the newly launched microsites for theBlackBerry WebWorks SDK, the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, and the BlackBerry Native SDK.

– Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development

3 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Alec Saunders is a great addition to the Blackberry family. His presentation at Dev Con was dynamic and entertaining. I believe he will help guide RIMM back to the top.

    • I saw the Android app player for the PlayBook and it looks awesome! It’s smooth, fast and fluid like the PlayBook’s OS and its only beta!

  2. “the BlackBerry Java experience on the BlackBerry PlayBook platform would ultimately not satisfy us, our development community, or our customers as the platform continues to evolve.”

    Nicely done – they managed to actually avoid answering anything about the actual decision 😉

    Considering the rather large base of existing Java developers for BB and Android, I find the “not satisfying our development community” argument suspect. Not satisfying customers doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because the customer doesn’t know/care about the underlying platform support.

    Would be nice if we had an actual reason – even if it was “it was too friggin hard to get j2se integrated with QNX”, at least it would be a real reason instead of more marketing fluff.

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