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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