Getting Your App Ready for BlackBerry 7

How-to

BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone

Now that BlackBerry® Java® SDK v7.0 is available in BlackBerry® Developer Zone, it’s time to start getting your apps ready for BlackBerry® 7 in order to ensure that you’re ready to support the new BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9930 smartphones at launch. To help you out, I’ve prepared a little step-by-step guide for getting your app BlackBerry 7 ready.

But before we get into things, it’s important to note the following: If you are currently distributing your apps through the BlackBerry App World™ storefront, you will need to log into the vendor portal and select the apps that you would like to have posted as “For Sale” for those smartphones running BlackBerry 7, because your apps will not automatically be available for these new smartphones. So, now’s the time to start testing, updating, and posting your apps for BlackBerry 7 to be ready for launch.

With all that said, on to the step-by-step guide!

1. Find a common form factor. In the case of the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphones, the common form factor is actually the BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone. In other words, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone, with the keyboard slid out, is actually quite similar to the BlackBerry Bold 9900 series in these respects:

  • Top half of the device is touch screen: Need to make sure that the interface for the app has large touch targets.
  • Middle area features your track pad, phone keys, menu key and escape key: Need to make sure that the app supports UI navigation from both the touch screen and the trackpad.
  • Bottom area features your physical full QWERTY keyboard: Unlike the BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 series of devices will never show a virtual keyboard.

2. Account for the new screen resolution and account for the new color depth. If your app leverages any fixed sized bitmaps, or has images optimized for a particular color depth, you may need to update your graphical assets accordingly:

  • The BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone has 16-bit color display with a screen resolution of 360 x 480 (portrait) when held vertically.
  • The BlackBerry Bold 9900 Series has a 32-bit color display (24 bits for color, 8 bits for transparency) with a screen resolution of 640 x 480 (landscape) when held vertically.

3. Update your application’s icons to match the design specifications of BlackBerry 7:

  • Size: 92 x 92 pixels.
  • Create icons that are consistent with the default icons in size, weight, and centering: See the UI Guidelines documentation for details.

4. Leverage new API features of BlackBerry 7. Highlights:

  • OpenGL ES 2.0 for creating rich, hardware accelerated graphics.
  • Window Manager for overlaying graphics on top of native screens such as camera viewfinder or video playback screens.
  • Compass API, leveraging the new magnetometer sensor.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) APIs, leveraging the new NFC radio.
  • Video capture APIs for HD video recording.
  • Send Menu API, allowing apps to share content with contacts the same way that core apps do, by adding a “Send…” menu to their apps.
  • BlackBerry Maps API updates for creating rich overlays on top of maps.
  • Geofencing API, getting notifications of a user entering or leaving a given area.
  • BlackBerry® Balance™ API for separating business data from personal data.
  • Barcode API updated to ZXing 1.6 and support added for creating custom decoders.
  • A full listing of all new APIs available in the Release Notes.

5. Leverage Super App features of both BlackBerry® 6 and BlackBerry 7:

6. Leverage Platform Services supported in BlackBerry 7:

7. Test your application against the new simulators for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone and BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphone, available at the BlackBerry Simulators page.

8. Submit your application to BlackBerry App World, which is now accepting submissions for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphones.

For more information on what developers need to know about BlackBerry 7 and to download the BlackBerry Java SDK v7.0 beta, check out the BlackBerry 7 landing page on BlackBerry Developer Zone.

About Brian Z.

Brian joined Research In Motion (RIM) in 2005 working with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who specialize in Bluetooth, GPS, multimedia, and gaming. As a senior member of the Developer Relations Team, it's Brian's mandate to not only support the application development efforts for a number of ISVs, but also to act as a voice at RIM for third party application developers. Like RIM, Brian's roots are in the enterprise world, but over the past couple of years he's quickly adapted to the consumer space, and that's where he spends most of his time today.

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