Regardless of what you might be hearing about Research In Motion’s market share declines and the cloud of doom and gloom that surrounds the company, I am here to tell you just the opposite. I had the pleasure of spending 2 days with a portion of RIM’s Developer Team in the Inaguaral Future Developer Day at Pace University in NYC. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a free PlayBook and an itinerary for the two day hackathon.
I asked a RIM PR representative why they were giving away these devices at this event and she quickly pointed me to the faces of the kids who opened their PlayBook for the first time. The joy in their faces was priceless, but was that enough to warrant over 40 free devices? Patrick Mollins, who is a RIM Evangelist, was quick to point out to me how much more excited and eager the attendees were to open their laptops and begin developing for the platform having a test device in their hands. I quickly understood that the RIM of old is no longer here, this is a new beginning and the new strategy is a SOLID one. Embrace these developers with open arms and do whatever you must to bring future applications to the ever growing QNX based BB10 platform. You will hear more of that strategy on our interview with Adam Stanley, who is the Senior Application Development Consultant for Research In Motion.
We began with a presentation on how developing for BlackBerry could be extremely lucrative and the numbers RIM posted were stagering. One (1) percent of Android developers earn over 1 thousand USD a year where as for Blackberry over 13 percent of developers earn over 100k a year! After an exciting presentation Adam, Patrick and Erik loaded all of RIM’s Developers Tools onto all the attendees laptops. Suddenly all heads were lowered and the keyboard typing became a constant sound. A few minutes later a hand was raised. I waited for a question but it never came, instead Adam walked over sat with a student and the typing began again. I asked Patrick “what is going on?” and he replied “This is what we want to do at these events sit down with the developers and help them hands on”. The day progressed and more and more hands raised and more of RIM’s trio sitting down and helping these kids achieve their development goals.
The day was moving smoothly and after 4 – 5 hours of hardcore coding, the session was put on a brake so the attendees could enjoy a very well catered lunch. After that we all sat down for a ‘Latest Trends In Mobile App development: The Present and Future Of HTML5 Based Mobile Apps Development” panel discussion. The Panel Included Adam, Patrick, Erik from RIM, Ron Halevy from BerryReview, Jared Dipaine from Mobile Nations and Jerome, who is the developer behind the awesome Blaq twitter client for the PlayBook.
A lot of questions and great answers to help all the attendees put things in prospective. The entire event was a huge success. We saw developers with finished products and others with a solid foundation for the app they wish to develop. I wanted to add something that I personally found to be an indication of how the new RIM operates. RIM’s PR team saw the interest these kids showed towards the platform and they immediately rewarded them with a free pass to the developers only “BlackBerry10 Jam” event in Orlando. Also, the event was supposed to finish at 5pm but the PR team not only informed the students that they will stay until whatever time it takes, but that they would also order pizza’s for anyone who would need to stay longer . They really put a great effort to attract all future developers and after speaking with a few of the students, I can absolutely see how excited they were to be part of the event. This is the way the company should approach the developer community and I believe that this was a fantastic first step. Soon all their hard work will be one click away inside your App World!
PS. I want to send a personal Thank You to Vic and Ema for inviting me to this event and giving me the opportunity to sit down and talk with RIM personnel and enjoy a one on one interview with Adam Stanley that will be up on N4BB.com soon.