One of BlackBerrys long time quality theme and app developer Hedone Hawker let us know about a BlackBerry 10 Mini Jam they organized together with Branko Nikolić in Maribor, Slovenia on November 24th. RIM has been pushing events like these around the world and EMEA is a key focus point for them. This Mini Jam was attended by over 200 developers from all the Balkan countries which is impressive and they have more planned for Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. I was not there myself but I thought it would be worth sharing Hedone’s recap below. Let us know if you were there!
BLACKBERRY 10 MINI JAM – 24. NOVEMBER – MARIBOR / FERI
Developers show great interest and expectation of BB 10 evolution
The BlackBerry 10 Mini Jam developer conference held by BlackBerry Developer Group Balkan at the Maribor Faculty Of Electrical Engineering And Computer Science was attended by more than 200 developers who only wanted to know one thing – how to develop excellent applications for the great new BlackBerry 10 platform as easy as possible and as soon as possible, and how to market them to the users.
The excellently organised event was first of its kind in the region and the organiser Branko Nikolić promised it was not the last. Until the end of the year the organisation will be active in Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia as well. The participants were shown all the mysteries of the new BB OS 10 by four specialists/evangelist of Research in Motion.
QNX: great fundament
Aaron Ardiri, Principal Developer Evangelist, first introduced the BlackBerry 10 Experience. He emphasized that BB always satisfied the needs of users who strive for top productivity, have great connections and love their networks, who are multitaskers – but most of all they always seek new ways to connect with others. For them the user experience trumps hardware specifications. These are the people that will love the new platform by RIM.
Luca Filigheddu, highly experienced BlackBerry Developer Evangelist EMEA, Dennis Reumer, external developer and manager of developer group of Netherlands, and Lukasz Dzierzak, a student, blogger and BlackBerry WebWorks developer, BlackBerry Developer Evangelist, have explained extensively the approaches to develop applications and implement various concepts.
BlackBerry 10 will make use of the numerous newly acquired technologies (the most prominent is for sure QNX, the maker of the fundament for the new OS). The new BB OS 10 will offer an exceptionally HD-cinematic touch user experience where everything is smoothly animated. Great attention has been given to the power of content – RIM emphasizes that content is king at all times. It is because of the various content types and the connectivity that much effort has been put into the smooth operation of the system and applications, which are masterfully crafted with visual details. And the QNX is super by itself – that is why it is used in space missions also, where reliability and security are required without compromise.
The user interface is elegant and functional – in the applications the status and navigation bar have been removed, because all functionality and information is accessible through cascades, with gestures, at the command of users. A new peek gesture enables them to have a quick look into the communication centre where all messages are accessible so there is no need to check routinely various messaging and social applications.
Integrated, social, beautiful applications
Of course these charming details mean a lot to the daily user – the revolutionary simple alarm clock, calendar and other details will spoil even the most spoiled users. After all – the whole user interface for running applications and navigating the device is designed highly attractively. And there is the fresh breeze from the new virtual keyboard which enables the user to type whole words with a simple move of a finger. A small revolution is on its way from the photography department as well – users can choose the nicest smiles for all the faces in the photos, which are then smoothly merged into the photo.
Aaron Ardiri went on to outline the anatomy of a typical BB 10 application. The apps should conform to the standards set as universal proportions for various devices, avoiding hardware specific code, and relative user interface setup and welcome/splash screens. RIM points out the quality of user experience which is sometimes even more important than the app functionality itself.
Aaron Ardiri paid special attention to the lifecycle of applications and pointed out basic app marketing principles. The advertisers who support the application expect greater ROI – therefore RIM includes a highly integrated advertising in the BB 10 platform for anybody who chooses to use it. He outlined what cannot be sold through applications (virtual moneys, physical goods and services) and has shown some real numbers. BB is active in 160 markets, supports 26 currencies, 90 % of 80 millions of users access app stores, monthly download 200 million copies of apps, which amounts to more than 2 billion up to date. There are almost 100.000 apps in the store at the moment.
Application and game development bonanza
Aaron Ardiri was thorough in presenting the new platform architecture. Applications and games can be developed in any of the following frameworks and SDKs – C++/Qt Cascades, HTML5 BlackBerry WebWorks, C/C++ native SDK, Adobe AIR ActionScript and Java Android Runtime. He outlined tools such as Cascades Builder, Ripple HTML5 Emulator and the Microsoft Visual Studio Plugin. The SDKs are accompanied by the web portal developer.blackberry.com where developers find all the necessary documentation, and the BlackBerry 10 Foundations framework enables development of integrated, social and beautiful apps for BB OS 10. The APIs and core functionalities make development a breeze. Much interest was given to the Android Runtime which enables the use of applications prepared for the Google Android OS.
Web technologies have a special place in the new BB 10 – the HTML5 compatibility testers gave the new browser 484 out of 500 available points, which makes it better even compared to the desktop browsers, and other mobile platforms got a score 280 and 360. jQuery mobile will help in providing excellent mobile web experience. The HTML5 browsing capability is important for providing a uniform mobile web application platforms to enable fast, cheaper and universal app development approach.
Two faces of one device
New BB 10 devices will enable the users to switch between their corporate and personal/consumer profiles. This will not only bring benefits to them by changing the working environment, but also to the managers of ICT solutions in organisations – this way they will have better control of the working environment and management possibilities.
VIP BlackBerry Party – the new approach
After the conference the BlackBerry VIP party was held at the renowned club PlusMinus. Fans and users of “blackberries” partied all night long to the music of the musical virtuoso DJ T-Jay, who used his PlayBook tablet and the Pacemaker app to run music into the system. The organisers of the event with Branko Nikolić at the forefront, took special care of rebranding the club and there were 20 tablets and 10 alpha BB 10 development devices given to the developers to make use of the new technologies that are yet to come on 30 January 2013. The next VIP BlackBerry party will be held in Belgrade, Serbia.