On Friday last week I had the pleasure of spending some time on the phone with Frederic Boulanger, CEO of developer studio group Macadamian. Macadamian is a global UI design and software innovation studio providing a complete range of product strategy, user experience design, and software engineering services to clients around the world. They deliver mostly web and mobile applications that deliver compelling software experiences that are easy to use. And yes, they are betting on BlackBerry 10.
As I write this piece, we are now closing in on a mere 36 hours to the global launch of BlackBerry 10. The excitement we, #TeamBlackBerry, are experiencing at this point is totally off the charts, and what I found very interesting was that this excitement was shared by Mr. Boulanger in our conversation.
Macadamian has been working on BlackBerry products since about OS 5 and as Mr. Boulanger put it, BlackBerry was “the first experience to mobile computing that a lot of people had, and as such it has a lot of mindshare still remaining.” The BlackBerry product will also continue to, in his opinion, be the first mobile computing platform used by millions of new customers in emerging markets for the foreseeable future.
A large portion of our conversation revolved around Mr. Boulanger’s and Macadamian’s experience with the BlackBerry 10 platform and how it has been such an amazing experience top to bottom, but, as Mr. Boulanger talked about, it wasn’t always this way.
After the last year RIM has had, there have been no shortage of articles that talked about the downfall of RIM. One of the most common themes revolved around how BlackBerry treated, or rather mistreated, the developer community. As Mr. Boulanger pointed out, back in the OS 5 days, RIM was still the top dog in the industry; however, they weren’t engaged in helping out developers as individuals or helping companies such as Macadamian get their start in the industry. Back in the OS 5 days it was “very complex to develop for BlackBerry.”
Mr. Boulanger says that the RIM today versus RIM of old is like “day and night.” He remarks that RIM today is fully engaged in helping developers. They are “world class with respect to their interaction with the developer community.” He noted that developers can get answers to questions in no time and that even things like the sample code RIM supplies is actually very useful, which allows developers to get a quick start on their applications.
Part of our conversation also led into the topic of the community that BlackBerry is creating around itself. The infectious nature of, #TeamBlackBerry, is “unique to the industry” and the other platforms don’t have the same following.
The combination of positive buzz and support from the community, a full philosophical shift in RIM developer relations and an aggressive campaign to get the public to experience BB10 by way of Dev devices, has turned the tide.
Mr. Boulanger has noted that over the last several months there has been a surge in interest of companies to develop applications for BlackBerry 10. There has been so much interest that Macadamian has allocated a 25% of their 200 person workforce solely to BlackBerry 10 work. Mr. Boulanger notes that many of these companies coming to them have had applications on the legacy BlackBerry OS, but, were not considering supporting BlackBerry 10 right away. The shift in sentiment surrounding BlackBerry in the last several months has changed that. These companies that were previously not considering development for BB10 are now jumping to get on board. Mr. Boulanger believes there is a possibility that as the Launch approaches and the roll-out of devices happens globally, more and more companies will be hopping on board.
From a development side of things, Mr. Boulanger sees no reason not to develop for BB10. The tools are great, you have the broadest range of development options and you get to work with a “very professional and efficient organization that is working hard with developers today.” He notes that here is a huge opportunity for companies, especially in the Enterprise market to capitalize on BlackBerry 10.
All in all it was a fantastic conversation and the excitement of Mr. Boulanger was very encouraging to hear. We have been hearing bits and pieces of things from the developer community that RIM has changed, but, it was nice to hear straight from the CEO of a large Developer Studio, that indeed, this is a new RIM and a new BlackBerry.
As we approach the launch of BlackBerry 10, I hope that RIM continues this trend. I also hope that companies who are still putting off development for BlackBerry 10, think about it again. 80 million users are ready to jump on board and BlackBerry 10 is allowing companies like Macadamian to deliver the software that users of today and tomorrow, want.