Talking BlackBerry Development with Motek Mobile


Guest post today features Jesse conducting a great developer interview – read on! – Ed.

“RIM loves developers!” That’s the general consensus from the BlackBerry® developer community according to Kitchener, Ontario-based Motek Mobile. I had the opportunity to sit down with a few members of their team to talk about the BlackBerry development advantage, porting an app to BlackBerry 10, and tips for new BlackBerry developers.

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the offices of Motek isn’t the arcade machine, the dart board, or the skateboards on the wall; it’s the 12 employees at their computers, hard at work despite these distractions. Tyler Weichel, Wes Worsfold, Attila Schmidt and Aaron Barnes took some time away from Cascades™ to answer my questions.


From left to right; Tyler, Attila, Aaron, and Wes.

DEV BLOG: Why do you develop for BlackBerry?

Wes: “I think the most important reason is the ability of the platform to do many things that other platforms just aren’t capable of. With BlackBerry 10, we can do so much more by integrating with BlackBerry hardware and software like the camera and calendar.”

Attila: “There are over 70 million BlackBerry users, and that’s a huge market. One of the most compelling reasons to develop for BlackBerry is BBM™ and BBM Social. The ability to have our apps connect to BBM so that people can share with other BlackBerry users is unique and exciting.”

Tyler: “The potential for revenue in BlackBerry App World™ is huge. It’s difficult to make a splash on other storefronts. BlackBerry App World gives us incentive to make something compelling and monetize it.”

DEV BLOG: How is developing for BlackBerry today different than it was five years ago?

Attila: “Five years ago, the idea of “Super Apps” didn’t exist. The API’s that tied in to the operating system just weren’t available. Our more popular apps like Color ID and Screen Muncher wouldn’t have been possible. With the API’s given to us today, we can do things on BlackBerry that we just can’t do on other platforms.”

Wes: “Before BlackBerry App World came along, our ability to distribute apps was limited. Today we know what our sales channel is going to be and we can develop the app around that.”

Attila: “Today we can choose to the best way to develop, whether it’s Native, BlackBerry® WebWorks™ or Adobe® AIR®. There’s a team that’s always standing by, ready to help us via tweet, email or in person. There’s always access to experts that can answer any question.”

DEV BLOG: Tell me about your experience porting your apps to BlackBerry 10.

Aaron: “Porting to BlackBerry 10 went very smoothly. At BlackBerry 10 Jam, we got our BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha prototype devices at 8am. We found out an hour later that we were requested to pitch our app for App Circus. By 10am we had it ported successfully. Things like DPI scaling worked right out of the box, and the performance of the app on the developer device was amazing.”

DEV BLOG: Do you have any tips for developers who are new to BlackBerry?

Wes: “Go to the microsites for the platform you’re developing on; everything you need to know is there, so really make sure that you get to know those sites. Definitely follow @BlackBerryDev on Twitter®, and read the BlackBerry Developer forum and Inside BlackBerry Developer’s Blog. It’s a really rich resource for anyone who’s getting acquainted with the platform.”

Aaron: “Make sure to look at public Github repositories — it’s a really good resource. Look at the example code and see how other people have developed their apps.”

DEV BLOG: You mentioned the benefits of BlackBerry App World. Do you have any numbers you care to share?

Wes: “On a typical day we average between 150,000 and 200,000 downloads. We have nearly seven million daily unique users and even more if we include the themes.”

Tyler: “There’s some really interesting numbers on our website. There were 387 million Screen Munches in the past year.”

DEV BLOG: What’s next for Motek?

Tyler: “Well, without giving too much away, there will be a social component to everything going forward. Everything we build will use the BBM platform. Stay tuned for some great stuff.”

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