Developer Roadmap: BlackBerry BBX and the BlackBerry Java SDK

Java Development

At BlackBerry DevCon Americas, we unveiled BlackBerry® BBX. Since the announcement, we’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback from developers, as well as questions about supporting BlackBerry Java® on BlackBerry BBX and the current BlackBerry PlayBook OS.

While we will continue to support our BlackBerry Java developer community as they build for BlackBerry smartphones, after further investigation we decided against supporting BlackBerry Java on BlackBerry BBX. We concluded that the BlackBerry Java experience on the BlackBerry PlayBook platform would ultimately not satisfy us, our development community, or our customers as the platform continues to evolve.

On the BlackBerry PlayBook platform, developers have two native development options, which is the path forward for Super Apps and the future BlackBerry BBX platform:

  • The Native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook, supporting apps using C / C++.
  • The WebWorks SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook, supporting apps written in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS. HTML5 apps will work on both the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphone operating systems today.

BlackBerry PlayBook (and future BlackBerry BBX devices) also supports two development communities via:

  • The Adobe® AIR® SDK for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet, which supports apps built using Adobe AIR, Adobe® Flex®, and Adobe® Flash®.
  • The BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, which supports apps written using Android v2.3.

On the current BlackBerry smartphone OS, developers have two development options:

  • The BlackBerry® Java® SDK, which supports apps written in J2ME or BlackBerry Java, for in-market BlackBerry smartphones running versions up to and including BlackBerry® 7.
  • The BlackBerry® WebWorks™ SDK, which as mentioned, supports HTML5 apps running on both BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphone operating systems today and will support BlackBerry BBX-based smartphones and tablets in the future.

So, the next big question on your mind may be: Is this the end of the BlackBerry Java SDK?

The short answer: Absolutely not.

There are currently over 70 million smartphones in market today running the BlackBerry operating system and this number is growing:

  • The first BlackBerry 7 smartphones were just released, which will sizably increase the addressable market for BlackBerry Java applications.
  • There are more BlackBerry 7 smartphones yet to come and our customer base will not switch overnight to BlackBerry BBX-based smartphones; both platforms will co-exist for quite some time.
  • BlackBerry smartphone users are well known for getting long lives out of their smartphones. Even when upgrading to a newer model, older models are often not taken out of service, but are instead passed along to others.
  • RIM is committed to its BlackBerry development community. BlackBerry Jam is just the start. Developers can expect enhancements to continue on the BlackBerry Java SDK, making it easier and faster to produce money making apps for in-market smartphones running the BlackBerry operating system.

For more information on the various development options for the BlackBerry platform, check out the all-new landing page for developer.blackberry.com, as well as the newly launched microsites for the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK, the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, and the BlackBerry Native SDK.

– Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development

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