RIM rolled out the BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry World in Orlando on Tuesday. But the big news for devs came on Wednesday - a guaranteed income of $10k for apps developed for the new platform. Is RIM really that desperate or that confident?
Attractive new hardware is going nowhere without apps and RIM is working hard to ensure that it gets its developers motivated to deliver.
Attendees at BlackBerry Jam, the developer conference in Orlando, heard in the keynote address that RIM will be guaranteeing that developers will make at least $10,000 in sales of their BlackBerry 10 apps in the first year.
If there's a shortfall in revenue RIM will make up the difference.
There are terms and conditions, of course. You can't simply cobble together any old app. The deal is part of a new certification program whereby quality apps are approved by a third party. In addition your app has to earn $1,000 in its own right to qualify for the $10,000 guarantee. Even so it should like a worthwhile deal to me and evidence of RIM's commitment to its developers.
RIM also handed out prototypes of the new BlackBerry. These Alpha developer toolkits for BlackBerry 10 are not functioning phones but are intended to let developers build and test their apps in time for the rollout of new devices, expected in October 2012.
It is difficult to know if BlackBerry (RIM) is desperate to keep developers on its side or whether it's a statement of confidence in the success of the, admittedly impressive, BlackBerry 10.
Take a look at the video to see if you think that this is the device that could save BlackBerry and make it worth developing for:
The problem is that, while this latest device looks good, so does the iPhone. There is little doubt that if the BlackBerry 10 had been introduced a few years ago it would have done a lot to keep RIM in the game. The question is can RIM market the new phone as being better than the iPhone because it has RIM's additional messaging services?
From the developer's point of view the BlackBerry 10 has a lot going for it - a native SDK, social gaming SDK, push management, payment API and hardware access. You can also work using Visual Studio 10 with the help of a plugin. And can a promise of at least $10,000 for quality apps swing the decision to develop on this market unproven new phone?