Introducing BlackBerry Push Services to Developers


There’s a lot of talk amongst developers about “Push” – what it is and why it’s relevant. Today, Research In Motion has made our new BlackBerry® Push Service available to developers and I want to use this as an opportunity to really walk through what BlackBerry push is, and how it can add value that you simply cannot get from any other platform.

What is BlackBerry Push Service?

The BlackBerry Push Service enables developers to easily develop Java® applications or  BlackBerry Widgets that leverage RIM’s push technology either through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (for enterprises) or BlackBerry Internet Service infrastructure (for consumers), so that content providers can reliably push images, text, or audio content to millions of BlackBerry devices at once. Unlike alternative push solutions that can only notify users that new content is available for download because of push message size limitations, with the BlackBerry Push Service, full content (up to an industry-leading 8KB in size) is pushed to the device and made immediately available for use.

What’s different (and better!) about BlackBerry Push Service versus the other push notification features?

Alternative notification solutions may use polling mechanisms to check at fixed and sometimes lengthy time intervals whether new information is available. The BlackBerry Push Service enables development of push applications that continuously listen in the background for incoming new content, allowing your application to act on them nearly immediately.

BlackBerry Push Service does not send notifications that tell you to go get information, it brings you the information. Other platforms flip the flag up on the mailbox, letting you know it’s time to go to the end of the driveway and get your mail. BlackBerry Push delivers the mail to your kitchen table, open and ready to be read.

Why do I want to build BlackBerry Push Service into my apps?

Smartphone users are typically task-oriented, using their smartphone in small bursts.  The immediacy provided by the BlackBerry Push Service enables your application to quickly deliver compelling content right into the hands of the user.  With BlackBerry Push Service, the complexities of managing networking on wireless networks (multiple protocols, multiple operator networks, out of coverage challenges, etc) are designed to be handled automatically so that developers can focus on the key areas where they can add value to the user.

What is being made available today?

There are two service tiers offered with BlackBerry Push Service: Essentials and Plus.  Both services allow you to instill within your applications the same compelling user experience that makes BlackBerry smartphone applications so successful.  BlackBerry Push Essentials offers all the basic capabilities needed to develop a push enabled application and send out relevant content to users quickly and efficiently.

BlackBerry Push Plus contains all features that are offered by BlackBerry Push Essentials, but enables a higher level of visibility and reliability by providing developers with the ability to check the status and receive notifications of delivered pushes (including time and specific device information), as well as the ability to change the delivery time or cancel push requests that are queued to be delivered to various BlackBerry smartphones.  BlackBerry Push Essentials is a free service while BlackBerry Push Plus has a free tier and paid tiers.

How do I get started?

Developers can visit for additional information, resources and tools. There is no cost to register and evaluate the BlackBerry Push Service for both Essentials and Plus tiers.

Developers can use the BlackBerry Push Service SDK to quickly create a push based application solution. The BlackBerry Push Service SDK provides libraries for both server-side and client- side applications, including fully functional server and client applications.  These libraries are designed to handle complex use cases and implement best practices, thereby removing the need for you to write boilerplate code and providing a consistent programming model that you can follow to develop server-side push applications.  A client-side library for the BlackBerry Push Service SDK is also available for use to develop client-side push applications. It provides similar functionalities for client-side push applications as the server-side library provides for server-side push applications.

I am excited about the new opportunities for developers to leverage Push as part of their applications.  What ideas do you have on how best to leverage Push within your application?

BlackBerry Push Service BlackBerry Developer Zone page

BlackBerry Push Service SDK Development Guide

About Mike Kirkup

Mike Kirkup is the Director for the Developer Relations program at Research In Motion (RIM), which is responsible for managing the technical relationships and programs for RIM’s developer community worldwide. Mike and his team work with RIM’s developer community to provide support and guidance as developers work to integrate their applications to the BlackBerry platform. Mike joined RIM in 2001 as a Security Software Developer in RIM’s Wireless Security Group. As part of the Wireless Securty group, Mike contributed to the development of the BlackBerry Cryptography API, S/MIME and PGP implementations. Mike holds a Masters of Management Science and a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.

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  • Rcmaniac25

    Yay, I kinda want to say about time but that would be hypocritical because I had no real need for it at first.

    Recently, though, I had some ideas that would fit Push perfectly so I am looking forward to developing with it.

  • fr4gus

    This will open a lot of opportunities for Blackberry developers. This may not concern all developers, but there are special cases where Push services add a lot to the application UX.

  • Jason Schroeder

    Please consider updating the Service Agreement for evaluation. Definitions of “Annual Fee”, “Excess Data Fee”, “Taxes”, and “Registration Fees” don't align with the “free to evaluate” message from Mike.

    Conditions such as “Termination for Convenience by RIM” don't make this a great platform to build a business around. Especially when you build a competing product, like a Twitter app.

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  • ianbowles

    This is great but I notice the client package only works on OS 5.0. Not everyone has 5.0, by a long way. What do we need for other OS's?

  • msohm

    While there were new push APIs released in BlackBerry device software version 5.0 that make it easier for a developer to create a push application, it is possible to receive pushed data in all versions of BlackBerry device software.

    You can refer to the httppushdemo included with the BlackBerry Java SDK and BlackBerry JDE as an example on how an application can receive pushed content.

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  • CanElmas

    it's about time!

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  • Free Movies

    Opportunities come with everyone announcement like this, I really love the Blackberry and everything that it and it's developers bring with it to the table.

  • dan

    noiw we know how bb work….

  • John

    I read this introduction as well as several PDFs from the Push SDK and I still cannot understand the most basic thing about the push: it is broadcast or does it target a single device? I googled for “push to single PIN” and found in Google cache “# Different submission modes: * Point-to-Point (submit push to single PIN) * Multicast (submit push to list of PINs) * Broadcast (submit to all PINs for a registered application)”.
    But this text was later deleted from the BB site! So, either RIM dropped this functionality or just cannot figure out how exactly it works! Could someone clarify? Personally, I need to push a message to a single device. Is it possible? Thank you

  • Kapil Jain

    Hi John,

    I am also trying to build app for using push service. As far my understanding you need to register for push service if you are going to distribute your app to public not in your organization(for BES there is no regsitration required).

    I was able to set up server-side but I am still waiting for BB support to send me appid for my app. There is also sample source for client side which have the push service available for OS 4.2 or later.

    I ll update you once I am able to run PUSH on BB.


  • eclipsefullmovie

    I've been searching for this EVERYWHERE… but the links under “How do I get started” are not working… can you please update them? Maybe the sites just down right now.

  • pkay

    Is it possible to set up the push server for MAC OS, if so can someone provide me with a link to more information about this.


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  • Shyam

    i am not able to install BB Push Service SDK (bpss- in console mode…

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    Preparing to install…
    Extracting the installation resources from the installer archive…
    Configuring the installer for this system's environment…

    Launching installer…

    Preparing CONSOLE Mode Installation…


    Installer User Interface Mode Not Supported

    The installer cannot run in this UI mode. To specify the interface mode, use the -i command-line option, followed by the UI mode identifier. The valid UI modes identifiers are GUI, Console, and Silent.



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