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RIM Lays Out BlackBerry Platform Roadmap – BB10 to Add Super App Capabilities

 Platform Roadmap2

During a presentation at MWC Tim Neil, RIMs Director of Application Platform & Tools Product Management (Here at Slide 26), laid out a platform roadmap for BlackBerry ranging from BlackBerry OS 7 through the PlayBook to BlackBerry 10. This is the first time I have seen anything in writing from RIM about this and I found it enlightening. I recommend you check out the slides for yourself but here are some of the highlights I can derive from the slides:

Platform Roadmap

  • BlackBerry 10 is where the Cascades UI framework fits into RIM’s roadmap. Devs are waiting for this to easily create User Interfaces.
  • BlackBerry 10 is shown as where Cascades/TAT meets HTML5 for “SuperApp Integration”
  • RIM will be adding the BBM Social Platform and Push services in BlackBerry 10
  • Cascades will allow both 2D and 3D elements in app UIs
  • Cascades promises built in signature effects

I am hoping RIM details more about the SuperApp API’s they plan on adding in BlackBerry 10 shortly. Hopefully we will see a beta that is available for the PlayBook soon!

15 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. The big problem I can see on those slides is that the PlayBook will not support those new APIs. No BBM and no push is a bit sad.

  2. Cascades has been delayed again?

    I am starting to think that acquiring TAT was a mistake for RIM. These guys have no ability what-so-ever to get anything shipped. Sure, they have cool technology, but who cares if they aren’t going to share it with anybody.

    • They did ship plenty before being acquired, but I’ve always seen them as a lab because of the promotional material they’ve used in the past.

      I do think, though, that TAT is what could bring RIM back into the consumer game if RIM doesn’t release 2011 features next year, as usual. We all know how shiny sells and, by looking at their marketing campaigns, RIM is eager to gain market shares in the consumer segment.

    • Purchasing TAT is quite possibly the biggest and most important acquisition since QNX. Their innovative ideas and incredible designs are what will help RIM woo the masses.

  3. Promising but still empty.

    Will I be able to interact with email, text, contacts, calendar and BBM the same way I can via the extended j2me API today? Currently I can’t.

    Will I have the same extensive API access to notifcations, alerts, and related settings?

    Will I be able to make apps/app stubs that process in the background without a UI?

    Will I be able to access bluetooth (something promised for the NDK but still not delievered) at the minimum of the same level that j2me offers?

    Will there be universal search, and an API exposed that allows what we can do on the smartphone today via Java?

    The problem here is that their silence makes it difficult to plan for future development. There is practically no *specific* information available as to how, when or if BB10 will achieve feature parity.

    A bullet point telling me that “super app” integration is coming without giving any details (and I”ve barely touched on the capabilities of the Java SDK above) isn’t reassuring; as a developer it sends me the message that internally they’re not sure quite how they’re going to get there, and are hesitating to commit to something they may not be able to deliver on.

    This doesn’t get into the thousands of past hours of development work I lose by having to rewrite my java app using native code: I understand sometimes technologies need to change in a drastic way for the good of the platform — I just want to know that those drastic changes aren’t going to cost me (and other makers of integrated apps) functionality as well as development hours.

    Come to think of it, I sense a new berryreview blog post on this very subject in my near future 😉

    • Also interesting is that the above chart only shows super-app integration with cascades and webworks (and not even native)

      • I’m confused with your point.

        The API will definitely work with the Native platform. It will be written in C++ (or C). Cascades is just an API aimed at GUI interaction for those developing in C/C++ (or the Native platform if you will)

        It might even work with Adobe Air because I believe you can reference C libraries through that.

        The article and some of the comments are very confused. Make it easy on yourself, pay attention to the release of the SuperApp API and don’t worry about the platform part. Unless you were thinking about developing under Android, a program that doesn’t run on any Android devices.

    • Yes, those are things that will show up in the Native API. It will launch with a bunch, and add more features over time. Just like all APIs.

      The article is about asking for a SuperApp API for Android rewritten in Java, that only works on BB10/QNX/PB2.0 devices.

  4. I think people should give them time before making up their minds. I beleive they will be able to integrate Blackberry OS and QNX completely. They have plenty of time and Playbook to work this out.

  5. Hi everyone,

    During the presentation we talked about the rich integrated APIs that are currently in BB7 coming to BB10 (which will also find its way to the PlayBook). The presentation was a high level one to an audience relatively new to BlackBerry development.

    We unfortunately didn’t have time to deep dive into details since we only had an hour and a half to cover Alec’s myth busting, technical overview of development options and Peter’s overview of how to be successful on App World.

    Cascades is native C++ development that is a layer above the underlying core QNX C/C++ layer that is typically used for those porting their game titles.

    Cascades has been in a closed beta with select partners since the beginning of January. We’ve been keeping this group small to allow us to be nimble and work closely on feedback cycles.

    • Thanks for the clarification Tim. I have been fielding tons of questions from developers on the subject. Hopefully we can get the deep dive details soon. I am waiting for super apps to take over my PlayBook. :)

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