It’s not the fabled BlackPad, nor the mythical BlackPad-ready OS but over at DevCon 2010, BlackBerry app developers are geeking out over a number of upgrades to BlackBerry development tools which RIM has announced today.
The first nifty new trick is to the ability to plug the massively popular BlackBerry Messenger into third party apps. That’s a jargon-tastic way of saying you’ll be able to share app information through BBM just as you can currently share photos and music. We’re still not 100% on how much the Messenger app will be integrated with others – it’d be cool to be able to chat while gaming or something like this so stay tuned to find out more.
On a side note, RIM tells us there are over 28m people using BBM these days, and it’s growing at a rate of 1.5m per month. That’s a lot of BBM-ers – and still there’s no one in my contact list which clearly says more about me than anything else.
The next round of announcements won’t affect BlackBerry users for a while, but will help the people who build applications get more dosh for their developments. We’re going to see advertising creeping into our BlackBerry apps. RIM has developed a system where app developers need to insert just three lines of code in order to start raking in the advertising revenue.
The adverts will be easy for you to use though; if you fancy what they’re peddling you’ll be able to click to call, map, video, email and so on. 60% of the money generated by each ad will go to the app developer, helping them run a business without charging too much for their apps.
Hand-in-hand with this goes the launch of an analytics service for app developers – by tracking how much you use their apps, what you click on, what times of day you use them and so on, they’ll be able to develop more intuitive and hopefully more useful apps. RIM is also bringing in in-app payments, so you can buy things from within applications (think Guitar Hero where you can buy extra songs from within the app).
It’s playing catch up just a little bit – after all, we’ve been able to do these things on other platforms for some time; still, the onus is on bringing BlackBerry users both quality and quantity in terms of apps and that’s not something we’re going to complain about.. Our main issue with BlackBerry apps is that they’re just so expensive; but by making it easier for developers to make money from their apps, hopefully we’ll see the costs coming down.
Call us eternal optimists, but we still have our fingers crossed for something a bit more exciting from this evening’s keynote speech. We’ll keep you well and truly posted.