An interesting press release was sent out by RIM earlier today that stated the fact that they have updated some of their Plug-ins and SDKs.  In layman’s terms, they have made it much easier for developers to build BlackBerry apps.  Hopefully, this is being done in preparation for the release of the WebKit browser and OS 6.0 so that we can have a much wider selection of good BlackBerry applications.  Are we about to witness the moment where BlackBerry applications take their rightful place alongside those of the iPhone and Android series?  Share your thoughts…

Also, make sure you check out the Full Press Release after the jump.

April 6, 2010
RIM Releases Enhanced Java and Web Development Tools

Updated Plug-ins and SDKs Make It Even Easier to Create Feature-Rich Applications on the BlackBerry Platform
Waterloo, ON
– Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today released
updated Java and Web-based development tools for the BlackBerry®
platform. The BlackBerry® Java Plug-In for Eclipse v1.1 and the
BlackBerry® Web Plug-in v2.0 offer new capabilities that make it even
easier to create feature-rich applications. The BlackBerry® Widget SDK
(Software Development Kit) v1.0 and the BlackBerry® Java SDK v5.0,
which includes more than 20,000 APIs, provide unparalleled access to
BlackBerry® smartphone hardware features, native BlackBerry software
applications and other unique system capabilities of the BlackBerry
Application Platform.

Using the new tools developers can quickly and easily build
web-based BlackBerry Widgets or Java applications that leverage the
unique benefits of the BlackBerry Application Platform to seamlessly
share information across and interact with core BlackBerry applications
or other third party applications.  These are personalized and
contextualized applications that can integrate with a BlackBerry
smartphone’s inbox, calendar, address book and other native BlackBerry
applications to deliver a highly engaging user experience.

“The BlackBerry Application Platform continues to evolve
tremendously and the new tool enhancements make developing applications
for BlackBerry smartphones easier and faster than ever,” said Alan
Brenner, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Platform at Research In
Motion. “We believe these enhanced tools will spur a new level of
creativity and innovation as developers find new ways to leverage the
unique power and integrated nature of the BlackBerry platform in order
to bring useful, intelligent applications to the millions of BlackBerry
smartphone users around the world.”


BlackBerry Java Plug-In for Eclipse v1.1

  • Enables Java developers to leverage a familiar open source
    development environment (Eclipse 3.5) to create, debug, profile and
    simulate their applications using a wide selection of BlackBerry
    smartphone simulators, actual devices and multiple versions of the
    BlackBerry® OS
  • Improved productivity features include the
    ability to instantly load and immediately run a modified application
    being debugged without having to reset the simulator or device,
    providing tremendous time savings 

For more information on the Java Plug-in v1.1, visit www.blackberry.com/developers/java11 

BlackBerry Web Plug-In v2.0

  • BlackBerry Web Plug-ins are now available for both Eclipse and Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Enables
    developers to easily create web applications (includes BlackBerry
    Widgets) and web content using standard web technology and programming
    languages (e.g., HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and AJAX)
  • Enables JavaScript access to core BlackBerry Java API’s.
  • New
    features in the latest 2.0 release include BlackBerry Widget debugging
    and profiling, support for Eclipse 3.5, and simulator “hot swap” to
    greatly reduce the time required to test and debug between iterations 

For more information on the BlackBerry Web Plug-In v 2.0, visit www.blackberry.com/developers/web20

BlackBerry Java SDK v5.0

  • OpenGL ES support for 3D graphics, touch-screen, and accelerometer enables visually stunning interactive 3D games*
  • Rich
    multimedia audio and video support, Media Play features, camera zoom
    and focus, and embedded video capture and audio/video streaming support
  • New
    pre-built UI components (e.g., spin-box fields, file pickers, and
    screen transitions) enable advanced graphics and built-in animation and
    increased developer productivity. 
  • SQLite support for data sharing across different applications, as well as Gears JavaScript® API for persistent database storage.
  • Location
    Based Services APIs enable cell-site geolocation, GPS, geocoding and
    reverse geocoding to obtain address and location information 

For more information on the Java SDK v5.0, visit www.blackberry.com/developers/java50

BlackBerry Widget SDK v1.0

  • Allows third-party applications to access the calendar,
    contacts, camera, maps, messaging, browser, files, location via
    cell-tower or GPS, and receive BlackBerry push content via BlackBerry
    Widget APIs
  • Includes navigation support for touch-screen
    handsets and screen transition and image transition support for
    BlackBerry Widgets startup and shutdown
  • Location-Based Services and SQLite / Google Gears enabled persistent data storage is also available for BlackBerry Widgets.
  • The
    widget architecture allows for extensibility by letting a third party
    developer develop their own JavaScript extensions, for use and
    distribution within a BlackBerry Widget.

For more information about the BlackBerry Widget SDK, visit www.blackberry.com/developers/widgets

To learn more about the range of products and services available to the BlackBerry developer community, please visit www.blackberry.com/developers.