Lack of BlackBerry migration no bar for RIM PlayBook developers

RIM's murky stance on migrating BlackBerry apps to its new tablet doesn't faze would-be developers seeking a larger screen, more horsepower

Although the full application development story is still being ironed out for Research in Motion's newly announced PlayBook tablet, developers are anxious to get their hands on one and start building anyway.

They also will continue to build for BlackBerry while waiting for more details about developing for the PlayBook, developers tell InfoWorld. "I'd love to have it," says Mehdi Rachdi, a developer at mobile marketing firm Adenyo.

[ InfoWorld's Martin Heller shows how the BlackBerry IDEs are a mixed bag. | RIM's PlayBook is no Apple iPad killer, InfoWorld's Galen Gruman asserts. ]

Multiple development environments available So far, RIM has made it clear developers can use the company's WebWorks platform for development, which leverages their Web development skills. Web developers can also use Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to run their applications and Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) -- both of which are banned on the competing Apple iPad and iPhone.

Developers also can build native applications for PlayBook using C and C++ -- a path that game developers are likely to take, says Mike Kirkup, RIM's director of developer relations.

PlayBook's support of AIR bolsters its application arsenal, says Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst. "That promises to be one of the fastest ways to get a big portfolio of apps to the PlayBook in the short term," with 5,000 to 10,000 AIR applications available, he says, because "in theory, these are really easy to port once Adobe AIR is available on the PlayBook."

RIM is mum on support plan for Java ME apps But questions remain about how developers can bring over Java-based BlackBerry 6 applications and RIM's precise Java plans. "We're still working out how we're going to enable the community to do that," says RIM's Kirkup. But some sort of path-to-app portability or easy migration is the goal, he says: "We want to help developers leverage the investments [in existing applications]."

RIM's approach to splitting the tablet platform from the BlackBerry platform is opposite the "one OS, multiple devices" approach used by Apple for the iPad and iPhone (both use the iOS) and the approach used by Google for Android devices.

The proprietary BlackBerry 6 application stack leverages Java Micro Edition (Java ME) as a base language. But Kirkup would not reveal RIM's Java ME application plans for the PlayBook.

PlayBook will use the Posix-compliant BlackBerry Tablet OS, built on the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture that RIM acquired earlier this year.

Developers eager despite the uncertainties Despite the uncertainties about the PlayBook's application development environment, developers can't wait to get started.

"It's a very interesting gadget because we are [building] enterprise applications. We have several applications that need a bigger screen," says John Bibal, a senior software engineer at Novare.

The company will continue building for BlackBerry while waiting for PlayBook development tools, Bibal says. At this point, Novare is leaning toward using WebWorks for PlayBook but is also looking to port existing Java applications from BlackBerry to PlayBook. "We just have to wait for the SDK," he notes.

Jason Silva, a developer at mobile business application firm JBB Mobile, is also interested in the PlayBook but plans to keep building for BlackBerry, even if the PlayBook is a separate platform. "I look at them as two separate devices," he says.

Silva is attracted to the PlayBook's larger screen as well as to its graphic capabilities, both of which should prove useful in field service applications, he notes. Silva also likes PlayBook's use of the QNX technology. "The QNX operating system is obviously something that a lot of developers are excited about because it's a real-time OS, which means it's going to be really, really quick," he says.

This article, "Lack of BlackBerry migration no bar for RIM PlayBook developers," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in programming and mobile technology at InfoWorld.com.

Read more about developer world in InfoWorld's Developer World Channel.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileBlackberryApplesoftwaremobile applicationsapplicationstelecommunicationapplication developmentprogrammingDeveloper WorldMobilizeDevelopment EnvironmentsRIM PlayBook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?