Raising the Bar With the Built for BlackBerry Program

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now – you ask, we listen. We’ve heard your concerns over the status of the Built for BlackBerry program and I want to address your questions and tell you what we’re going to do to make sure building for BlackBerry is an amazing experience.

The first thing we did when we set out to rebuild the BlackBerry Developer ecosystem for BlackBerry 10 was to ask our dedicated BlackBerry developers what they needed. First, they asked for actual hardware – and we delivered that with the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha program. Next, they asked for support for promotion, marketing and revenue. That was the spark that led us to create the Built for BlackBerry and $10k Developer Commitment programs.

An app or game certified as Built for BlackBerry means it not just adheres to our BlackBerry 10 UI Guidelines, but it delivers a customer experience that is highly engaging, high caliber and demonstrates the beautiful, social, integrated essence of BlackBerry 10.

I’ve been told that the Built for BlackBerry criteria are pretty strict – and that’s true. They should be. When RIM approves a title as Built for BlackBerry it means we’re putting the full weight of our brand behind that app or game. These are the titles we will be looking at promoting and holding up as examples and we have an expectation about those apps. Apps and games for BlackBerry must:

  • Focus on delivering intended content, keeping the screen as uncluttered of controls as possible.
  • Implement gesture and flow techniques, such as peek gestures, for fluid user interaction.
  • Provide effective processor, memory, and power management.

To be as transparent as possible, there have been many apps submitted that do meet these criteria. We’ve had over 900 Android apps submitted to the Built for BlackBerry program – and Android apps do not qualify for the program in any way. Neither do web launchers, simple apps that mobilize content with RSS feeds, flashlight apps, et cetera. The expectation is that apps certified as Built for BlackBerry have been designed, developed, and polished to provide an amazing experience for our BlackBerry 10 customers. I say “our” because BlackBerry 10 customers are your customers too.

We’ve also heard requests to add more detail to the Built for BlackBerry emails so that you can make changes necessary to achieve the Built for BlackBerry certification. Our team is working now to update what details we provide and you’ll start seeing those changes this week.

You might be wondering in a more literal way what we are looking for in Built for BlackBerry apps. We have now started to notify the first group of approved Built for BlackBerry apps and I can show you what we mean.

FancyTran from FancyApps Limited is a good example. FancyTran brings their highly rated app to a new level with FancyTran on BlackBerry 10. The entire app can be navigated with just your thumb – allowing you to quickly dictate and translate from 14 languages to over 60 languages. FancyTran also leverages our BlackBerry Payment Service to easily allow customers to purchase the full version of the app once it’s downloaded from BlackBerry World.

It is simple, easy to use, high-performing, built in a native BlackBerry environment (no Android folks) and integrated. It leverages BlackBerry platform services and syncs to native voice features seamlessly.

The mark of quality is important to us, as it is to you. We know that quality applications will make the difference in a crowded marketplace and we want you to continue to tweak and build your apps to be part of this program with us. Stay tuned for further evolutions of the Built for BlackBerry program and new incentives.

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