Building with BlackBerry Apps Lab in Cape Town


Guest post from Christa B. – Ed.

This past week has been a busy one for BlackBerry® and BlackBerry developers in South Africa, with our BlackBerry® Jam Super Hackathon and the opening of a brand new BlackBerry Apps Lab taking place.

On November 2nd, we opened our second South African BlackBerry Apps Lab in the innovation hub of Cape Town. This followed the launch of the first BlackBerry Apps Lab at the University of Pretoria (UP) this past May.

RIM® collaborated with Bandwidth Barn, a fully-owned subsidiary of The Cape IT Initiative (CITI), to open the new BlackBerry Apps Lab in Cape Town. The BlackBerry Apps Labs will accelerate mobile application development in South Africa as well as create new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space. The facilities provide local developers – including students, start-ups, entrepreneurs and others – with development, marketing, sales and training resources to help them make their apps commercially successful.

Developers describe the labs as a dream come true. “RIM has eliminated the cost that my startup company would have incurred by providing resources such as the latest BlackBerry devices for testing and high performance development machines,” said Blessing Mahlalela, a student at UP and a developer. Fellow UP student Leon van Dyk added, “My programming abilities for the BlackBerry platform have increased monumentally – and so has my interest in mobile development as a career choice.”

BlackBerry Jam Session

On November 3rd, South Africa’s first ever BlackBerry Jam Session was hosted at the BlackBerry Apps Lab in Cape Town, with a smaller satellite event at the University of Pretoria lab. This Super Hackathon event was one of many hosted around the world ahead of the launch of the next-generation BlackBerry® 10 platform.

The Hackathon was an intense 10-hour programming session where developers could start planning their apps, create the business model and develop their apps. Developers came up with some cool apps that show just how much potential there is in our next-generation operating system and platform. The winners included:

  • Best App – ReserveMe – Flying Solo (Leon Van Dyk)
  • Best E-Commerce – BizFinder – BrightLabs (Kehiloe Sereo, Dintle Sealetsa)
  • Best Design – Snap Menu – Backspace (Ndivhuwo Nthambeleni, Vulthari Rikhotso, Eugene Masinga)

Alexandra Zagury, MD for South Africa and Southern Africa at RIM, said: “These events form part of our strategy to foster mobile innovation and help grow South Africa’s next wave of mobile app developers. We are extremely excited by the talent and enthusiasm we see in the country’s thriving BlackBerry developer community and the apps they are developing for BlackBerry 7 as well as BlackBerry 10.”

Pictures from the BlackBerry Apps Lab in Cape Town opening on November 2nd:

Blessing Mahlalela and Leon van Dyk, students at the University of Pretoria

Alexandra Zagury, Managing Director for South & Southern Africa at RIM

Lanie Visser, Marketing Director for South Africa at RIM acted as MC for the event

Glenn Stein, the lab manager at the new BlackBerry Apps Lab in Cape Town

The event was attended by media, developer partners and customers

Pictures from the Hackathon at the BlackBerry Apps Lab in Cape Town on November 3rd:

Technical Partnership Manager, Michael Weitzel, addressing the ‘hackers’

Luca Sale from the Dev Relations team taking developers through the basics of developing for BlackBerry

Developers busy turning their app ideas into reality

The hackers had lots of fun

Developers at the BlackBerry Apps Lab at the University of Pretoria also took part and shared in the action

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