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Blackberry Cellphones Software

Developers Defecting From BlackBerry 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the developers-in-motion dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Mobile app developers who build for multiple platforms need to figure out how to conserve their resources somehow, and many are choosing to do so by not bothering to build apps for BlackBerry phones. It's a combination of declining market share and the general difficulty of building apps for the BlackBerry platform, one developer told Bloomberg: 'RIM brought in a touchscreen and mixed it with a thumbwheel, a keyboard and shortcut keys, it made it really difficult and expensive to develop across devices.'"
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Developers Defecting From BlackBerry

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  • You mean to tell me that developers have been making apps for BlackBerry all this time? I coulda' swore that every time I saw an app that looked really cool it was only available for Android or iPhone. I can't even get that Angry Ducklings app that everyone is singing about. [youtu.be]
    • Re:Wait a second, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PCM2 (4486) on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:22PM (#36589340) Homepage

      I haven't had a BlackBerry for a while now, but if I remember right, I may have kept an SSH client on there, and I think once I downloaded an Infocom player, just for fun. But overall, I just never considered downloading apps to be part of the BlackBerry experience. Maybe that's why I find the "DOODZ, WHERE DA APPS AT??" attitude of a lot of iPhone/Android users a little baffling. To me, BlackBerry's software was well-designed and reliable, and it allowed me to do pretty much everything I expect a communications device to do, so I couldn't really picture what else I'd need to downlaod. But then again, I guess to me, a mobile phone is something that spends most of its time in your pocket. That doesn't seem to be how a lot of phone users see it.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Because these are not mobile phones, they are mobile computers that just happen to also offer phone service. Mine is used for data far more than voice.

        • This is true of all modern smartphones (I have an Android phone now, and had iPhone before - both were used for data far more than voice).

        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          Because these are not mobile phones, they are mobile computers that just happen to also offer phone service.

          FWIW, I'd say that they're as much the spiritual successor to the PDA as they are a phone. They're not called that because (a) PDAs kind of went of out fashion and declined commercially a while back and (b) they evolved from the direction of the phone market.

          I'm not claiming that they're the same as a ten-year-old Palm. I'm saying that if the PDA market had continued to be successful, they would likely have mutated into something very similar to the iPhone et al anyway.

          The fact that they're seen as "pho

          • FWIW, I'd say that they're as much the spiritual successor to the PDA as they are a phone. They're not called that because (a) PDAs kind of went of out fashion and declined commercially a while back and (b) they evolved from the direction of the phone market.

            I've been waiting to buy a smartphone until I could find one that would replace my old Newtons as personal data managers. Nothing since has truly impressed me until the Android series. With my Dell Streak 5 I can truly carry all my data around in my p

      • To me, BlackBerry's software was well-designed and reliable, and it allowed me to do pretty much everything I expect a communications device to do, so I couldn't really picture what else I'd need to download.,

        That's because like every other Blackberry user I ever knew, you NEVER LEFT THE EMAIL CLIENT.
        Not even to talk...

        There's a whole world of interesting applications for a smart phone if you don't respond to emails the second they arrive.

        • That's because like every other Blackberry user I ever knew, you NEVER LEFT THE EMAIL CLIENT. Not even to talk...

          Most pre-iPhone smart phone users used the BlackBerry as a portable email client (and breakout game for the subway), while they maintained a regular cell-phone for talking. I can probably count the number of times I received a call from a BlackBerry on one hand, and those were only in situations when the regular phone had a problem. BlackBerries used to pick up ridiculous amounts of background noise (and maybe still do).

          TLDR -- you're right: many probably never left the email client to talk... They DID prob

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          That's because like every other Blackberry user I ever knew, you NEVER LEFT THE EMAIL CLIENT.

          It's more than that. On the BlackBerry, the email client is more of a unified inbox. Your text messages arrive in the same inbox, as do voicemail notifications. The whole thing is organized in a way that makes sense to me: chronologically, just like my inbox on Thunderbird. That's one reason why I seem to be one of the few people on Earth who actually likes Motorola's Motoblur skin for Android. It gives me a UI that's pretty much how the BlackBerry does it, but it also throws Facebook messages into the same

          • At my work, our oncall phone (aka Uncle phone, a derivative of Big Brother phone) is Blackberry with unlimited data and SMS and ridiculously low prime talk time like 200 minutes. One time, upper manager wanted to move us to "smartphone" during the iPhone/Android wind blew its direction to our department. If we are going to move to "smartphone", I specifically asked for more than 24 hours of idle standby time even with extended battery. In short, no smartphone we tested ever lasted more than 12 hours in s

            • by PCM2 (4486)

              Mine does 24 hours now, no sweat. 48 hours is pushing it. My BlackBerry definitely outperformed my current phone on battery.

        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          don't need to leave the email client, just answer the call, switch to bluetooth or speakerphone and go back to email.
      • Yeah, that's a valid point. I'm not that big on apps, but there have been a few times when I've been stranded in an airport or some such place and desired some form of mindless entertainment, which the BlackBerry just doesn't really provide much of. BBSSH [bbssh.org] is a great SSH client, and I feel totally safe storing my keys on the BlackBerry.
      • Therein lies the problem. While BBs are good communication devices especially for email and texting, they were never elevated to be a mobile computing platform. Here is where Apple and Android have changed the game. Both allow consumers to extend their smart phones to be more than phones.
        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          and like computers ios and android have security problems. i trust my blackberry with my bank account credentials, something i won't do on my windows PC despite it being more than 5 years since i last picked up a virus. (which was a worm that got past zone alarm due to my lack of a proper firewall when i was on campus)
      • You forgot to end your post correct. Simply add "Now, get off my lawn!" and everything will be set right.
      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Monday June 27, 2011 @07:06PM (#36590698) Journal

        As you point out it isn't the "DOODZ, WHERE DA APPS AT??" that will kill RIM, sadly it is RIM itself. If you look at their competitors all treat their phones as a platform. You get X amount of support, you can update from OS # to OS #1 or whatever, the whole thing is treated as a platform.

        RIM on the other hand goes "Oh look, here is our new phone! It isn't compatible with our old phone OS, and BTW we won't be updating squat on the last model (even if it came out yesterday) because we have a new model! Buy it now!" and frankly folks just ain't gonna go for that anymore. People want their phones to at least be treated as current for the life of their contracts, they don't want to feel abandoned three months after getting the thing yet that is EXACTLY what RIM has been doing.

        So if you want to know who killed RIM, that would be RIM. My prediction? When their share price gets low enough they will be bought by MSFT and be replaced by a WinPhone Corporate Edition. MSFT has experience with businesses, it'll integrate with AD, and RIM still has plenty of patents that would look good in the MSFT war chest. So final total...Google and Apple trading one and two, MSFT/Nokia in third, everyone else toast.

        • by Radres (776901)

          And interestingly enough, on the developer side they still have almost all of the same broken APIs from version 1.0 of the OS. That side doesn't get upgraded.

      • by profplump (309017)

        How did you do email? I like the security features on BB -- real encryption & wipe -- but the lack of a mail client makes it all but useless without third-party apps. And RIM's refusal to allow mail clients to integrate into the built-in messaging system make it even worse -- even once you get a mail app working the base OS still can't do email.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        As another blackberry owner, I would also have to say that I have downloaded all of two apps. One was some expense reporting software from work that allows you to take a picture of your receipt and send it straight to your report in only 10 times the amount of time it would take to scan it in and fill out your report back at the office (but you get to tell all your lunch partners who are impatiently waiting for you to finish about your oh-so-cool expense report application), and the other was a trial vers
        • And that would be because all Blackberry apps suck. On an iPhone (I'll use this as my example because I have one so I have experience with it) you have plenty of quality apps to choose from. And don't let the word apps distract you, because yes I know it has become a word that applies to all those stupid fart apps as well.

          But things like Skype, Netflix, Pandora, Grooveshark, TomTom, Dropbox, facebook, weather channel, google voice, simplenote, WatchESPN, MLB AtBat, etc. etc. etc.

          If you think you have no int

    • by stephanruby (542433) on Monday June 27, 2011 @06:36PM (#36590358)

      FYI. Here is a screenshot [ubergizmo.com] of Angry Birds on Blackberry.

  • by microbee (682094) on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:03PM (#36589074)

    All thirteen of them said so.

  • Does it matter? (Score:3, Informative)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:13PM (#36589218)
    Considering that with the Playbook they added the ability to support apps written for Android, they could essentially decide to do the same for their phones. The experience may be diminished, but they'll still be able to provide access to a large amount of apps.

    This also raises the question of whether or not RIM's decision to allow Android apps to be ported to the Playbook has further influenced developers to abandon creating native applications as they believe that in the future this capability might be extended to BlackBerry's phones.

    This in stark contrast to Apple's decision to limit third party development platforms on iOS to a large extent should make for an interesting comparison several years down the road when we can see how these choices have impacted developers and their choices regarding whether to develop native applications for RIM devices.
    • Yes it matters (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:19PM (#36589286)

      Considering that with the Playbook they added the ability to support apps written for Android

      No, they said they PLAN to add that support. When it will be delivered? Who can say.

      they could essentially decide to do the same for their phones.

      For existing phones? The ones with no Android specific buttons? The ones that were never built intending to run Android?

      No.

      The reason all this matters is that there is no coherent story about BB development anywhere (since the tablets use Air and the phones do not), and what development was going on was with a nightmare API (I looked over it once to evaluate doing a port to BB and ran away).

      Blackberry has the same problem Nokia did, BB is just much more entrenched and harder to shake loose. But they haven't done anything to firm up the grip they had, and when it goes it will go fast.

    • The bigger question is... why aren't we still not all developing for a common denominator, like HTML+javascript?

      The way things are organized now means that we'll end up in a nasty monopolistic situation.

    • by Bogtha (906264)

      This also raises the question of whether or not RIM's decision to allow Android apps to be ported to the Playbook has further influenced developers to abandon creating native applications as they believe that in the future this capability might be extended to BlackBerry's phones.

      Unquestionably, this is the new OS/2. I've already started steering clients away from developing native PlayBook apps. It's a dying platform, the looming prospect of Android compatibility will dampen demand, there's just no w

  • What phone should I move to now?

    I bought a PALM centro because it was easy to sync with Evolution on my Ubuntu Desktop. Palm began to lose market share rapidly. Then palm abandoned local sync with the Pre. Then palm got bought by HP, and has apparently disappeared.

    So instead, I bought a Blackberry Bold, because it was almost as easy to sync with my Ubuntu desktop. Then Blackberry began to lose market share...

    So tell me, slashdot, what phone can I move to now that will allow me to sync easily and locally

    • I place my phone face down on a flatbed scanner, and take an image of the phone with the calendar app open.

      Then I use OCR software to identify the text, and copy/paste the calendar entries into the computer's calendar program.

      The best part? The scanner is WiFi. WiFi!!

      Sync with no cables! I'm living the future.
    • Re:Ask Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:36PM (#36589524)

      stick with blackberry, it's not going anywhere, yes they are loosing market "share" but only because the market is growing, BB total sales have continues to increase, but the smart-phone market has increased at a faster pace, hence the "loss" is no loss at all. It's just this crazy perception where only percentages count, not reality.

    • Go with an iPhone. Your history of killing the leading platforms when you migrate to them would be beneficial to the up-and-comer companies that I have in my stock portfolio.

      TIA!

    • Don't switch to Android please. I don't want my phone's platform killed off just yet.
    • by mr1911 (1942298)
      You should switch to the Nokia phones running Windows Mobile.

      Oh wait, I was thinking you wanted to migrate to the next phone manufacturer rapidly losing market share.
    • Just search for iCal on the Android Market (it seems the app called "iCal Import/Export" should do the trick for you)

      Now, you didn't say whether you wanted online sync or offline sync, so if that app doesn't do the trick for you, note that the calendar data on an Android phone can easily be gotten through its Content Provider or through its underlying SQLite database, so it should be easy enough for a budding programmer on Ubuntu to write a small utility for that.

      Also the last I heard Ubuntu was centralizi

    • Let us know next time you get a new phone. That way we know what to avoid. ;) (j/k)

  • by Qwavel (733416) on Monday June 27, 2011 @05:31PM (#36589458)

    On the plus side, you can't accuse RIM of being ignorant of this problem, or of not taking it seriously.

    RIM's decision to support Android apps on their new QNX-based OS must have been very painful and probably resulted in a backlash from partners who had invested a lot in their existing app platform.

    The upside is that the Playbook and the next gen of BB phones will have access to the vast store of apps that consumers want these days in spite of the lack of developer support described in TFA.

  • A related headline that may help explain the developer story.
  • Blackberry isn't dead yet! Just in the past few weeks, I've seen tons of signs on the highways here in eastern Tennessee advertising Blackberries! They're selling them by the ton! Oh, wait! Those are signs for the fruity variety, not the phones. Sorry, my bad! ;-)
  • by lpp (115405) on Monday June 27, 2011 @06:41PM (#36590444) Homepage Journal

    With less and less attention being given to the RIM platform, it's just going to make it harder and harder to get a RIM job.

  • Seesmic was a crap app on BB. They always treated it as an "oh by the way" platform, and it shows in their product. They face stiff competiton from UberMedia (ubertwitter) and RIM's official twitter client which included in in all new BB devices. When you have a poorly rated app that is among the worst offerings, it's no surprise that downloads decrease. And as far as the multitude of OS versions and devices - if you design your app poorly, it will be difficult to manage that for any platform. And if
  • I am someone who has made several BlackBerry apps, the most recently was last month. To me, this is no surprise. If anyone has actually worked with the BB platform at all lately, they wouldn't be surprised either. The first point that must be addressed is: you have to target BBOS 4.5 or 4.6 to reach the maximum number of devices. Now, you may say "well, I have to target Android 2.0 or 2.1, which is the same.", except, it's not. BBOS 4.5 and 4.6 are awful, and they lack many features. In fact, even BBOS6 sti

    • Just an alternative perspective from a fellow BB dev:

      The first point that must be addressed is: you have to target BBOS 4.5 or 4.6 to reach the maximum number of devices.

      Well, yes and no. Targeting 5.0 gets you something like 85% of all apps (the stats are at the RIM site) - and a higher percentage when you consider consumer-only devices, those who are free to install whatever apps they want.

      That being said, you certainly aren't limited to targeting just 4.5, 4.6. If you build your app well, it's fairly trivial to include platform-specific functionality for 5.0, 6.0; with some minimal effort you can abstract out the s

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