Research In Motion (RIM) has launched the “gold” version of its developer toolkit for the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system today, as it begins one last push to try and persuade potential developers to build new apps for its upcoming platform.
The new build includes all of the final tools, components and application programming interfaces (API) that developers will need to create apps for BlackBerry 10, which is due to be launched on January 30. So far, the company is right on track with the schedule released last month.
The “gold” version of the toolkit will allow native C/C++ and Qt developers to build new apps with the BlackBerry Cascades SDK. This is a full set of native UI elements that can be added to applications to ensure they fit in with the rest of the BlackBerry 10 aesthetics. These elements, which include buttons, fields and text areas, are also completely customizable and can be used to link through to the new BlackBerry Hub.
Meanwhile, HTML5 developers can use BlackBerry WebWorks to create web applications that deliver native-esque performance, while still tapping into the core functionality of BlackBerry 10.
The announcement, made in a press release issued today, confirms that many of these tools are also available for anyone building apps through Adobe Air, or looking to port an app across from the Android platform.
Martyn Mallick, Vice President, Global Alliances and Business Development at RIM said: “Developers see that BlackBerry 10 is designed to make it very easy to create compelling customer experiences that can lead to high adoption and engagement.”
The launch event for BlackBerry 10 is less than two months away now. One of the biggest question marks surrounding the new mobile operating system is the long-term support it will receive from app developers. Due to their respective market shares, the iOS and Android platforms already have a diverse portfolio of high-quality apps. Just like with the launch of Windows Phone 8, RIM is basically starting from scratch, and will suffer if it has a lacklustre app selection in the first few months.
According to RIM, this won’t be a problem. the company is quick to point to the BlackBerry Jam Asia conference in Bangkok, where it showed off 70 new app partners including Fox Sports, MYV India and Picstory. There, the company also detailed the Built for BlackBery program, as well as the rebranded BlackBerry App World.
“As we near the final weeks toward the launch of BlackBerry 10, the growing dedication and commitment we see from our developer community is truly outstanding,” said Alec Saunders, Vice President, Developer Relations and Ecosystems at RIM. “The focus we have had on building a true developer ecosystem and community is clearly working.”
BlackBerry 10 will be a huge turning point for the company. The decision to delay its release until the new year surprised some, although given the amount of hype surrounding other devices at the moment, it was perhaps wise to find a launch window where they could guarantee maximum exposure.
Here’s hoping their potential users still have some money left over after Christmas.
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