Your golden passport to BlackBerry 10.3

Android Development

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By now you’ve probably heard quite a bit about one of our upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices, the BlackBerry Passport, and you’re probably wondering how your app can take advantage of its unique features and functionality.

Today we’re happy to share the gold release of the BlackBerry 10.3 Developer Preview OS, simulator, and SDKs! These tools give you everything you’ll need in order to get your app ready for BlackBerry 10.3 and the BlackBerry Passport.

If you attended today’s BlackBerry Jam Direct virtual conference, you already have the inside scoop. But in case you missed it, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect with this gold release.

What’s new in BlackBerry 10.3?

Introducing the new touch-enabled keyboard

In the latest BlackBerry 10.3 simulator, you can test out one of the BlackBerry Passport’s very exciting new features: the touch-enabled keyboard. This touch-enabled keyboard offers an even more productive and precise BlackBerry 10 experience, which opens up new possibilities for your app and your app’s users. To test it out, simply open up the BlackBerry 10.3 simulator controller and select the Touch Area control. We can’t wait to see the different ways you’ll integrate this unique, powerful functionality into your BlackBerry 10 app.

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Support for an amazing new screen resolution

Content is definitely king with the BlackBerry Passport’s jaw-dropping 1440 x 1440 screen resolution. You can test your app with this new resolution by firing up the BlackBerry 10.3 simulator and selecting the “BlackBerry 10 Keyboard [1440x1440]” boot option. This new hardware follows our promise of keeping the square screen (1:1 aspect ratio) while offering plenty of extra screen real estate for creating and viewing content. We encourage you to test your app with this new resolution so that you can ensure it will be ready to go once the BlackBerry Passport is released later this year.

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Deeper, richer APIs

We’ve introduced a bunch of new APIs with the Gold release, which enable you to build a richer, deeper BlackBerry 10 experience. In addition to the APIs that support the new touch-enabled keyboard, we’ve also added APIs for asynchronous Bluetooth, closed captioning, High Dynamic Range cameras, and more. All of these APIs are in addition to the OpenMax and Pro Voice APIs that we introduced in last month’s beta.

Purposeful simplicity: The all-new BlackBerry 10 UI

If you checked out our 10.3 beta last month, you would have seen the UI refresh. Our latest UI refresh offers a more purposeful, refined, and productive BlackBerry 10 experience. Check out our updated UI guidelines to get familiar with these UI changes if you haven’t done so already. Some of these changes are represented as new functionality in the Native SDK while others are simply core control styling changes that should automatically apply to your Cascades application. Details of those additions can be found in the Cascades Release Notes and last month’s BlackBerry 10.3 Native SDK blog post.

Enhanced and optimized tooling

Our latest tooling delivers a bunch of enhancements and refinements that you’ve been asking for. We’re confident that the latest release of our tooling will make it easier and simpler for you to work on your BlackBerry 10 app.

How do I get started?

To take advantage of what BlackBerry 10.3 has to offer, you’ll need to do three things:
1. Download the BlackBerry 10.3 Developer Preview OS for your BlackBerry 10 smartphone
2. Download the BlackBerry 10.3 Simulator
3. Grab the latest version of your favorite BlackBerry 10 SDK:
a. BlackBerry 10 Native SDK
b. BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK
c. BlackBerry Tools for Android Development

What’s beyond BlackBerry 10.3?

We’re already hard at work getting things ready for the BlackBerry 10.3.1 developer beta, which isn’t far around the corner. As we mentioned last month, the 10.3.1 developer beta serves two main purposes:

  • It’s your chance to get your app ready for the BlackBerry Classic device. BlackBerry Classic will launch later this year with BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.3.1. In the 10.3.1 developer beta, we’ll be releasing some new APIs for the BlackBerry Classic’s “Menu”, “Back”, “Send” and “End” buttons and the integrated trackpad.
  • BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.3.1 will also be available to all current BlackBerry 10 smartphones as an OS update later this year. While you can test out the BlackBerry 10.3 Developer Preview OS on your in-market devices right now (and we encourage you to do so), the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3.1 Developer Preview OS will be optimized for all existing in-market hardware. So you’ll have a chance to do further testing before 10.3.1 rolls out to in-market devices later this year.

More resources are on the way!

Stay tuned for a few follow-up blog posts, which will explore some of these topics in more detail. We’ll also have a blog post providing a recap of the BlackBerry Jam Direct event with a link to the recording of the session in case you weren’t able to attend.

Also, please feel free to continue to provide your feedback and questions to our teams through the developer forums, developer issue tracker, tweeting @BlackBerryDev or your favorite Developer Relations and Product Management representative.

About Tim N.

Tim leads Application Platform & Tools Product Management at Research In Motion. This includes APIs, Frameworks and Tools for the BlackBerry Platform. He can be found hanging out in the development forums or Twitter (@brcewane) trying to help out where he can and to bring your feedback into the next releases of BlackBerry tooling. You’ll also see Tim presenting various topics at the BlackBerry Developer Conferences and BlackBerry World so be sure to stop by and say hi. Just don’t start talking about cars or Batman or you won’t be able to get rid of him.

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