Saturday, 20 October 2012

Blackberry 10 Dev Alpha

I recently began porting my app to Blackberry 10 and had some issues on my computer with the simulator and Ripple Emulator. I have worked out a few more bugs, but really needed an actual working device to test out my app and debug it fully. Thankfully, the amazing people at RIM lent me a Blackberry 10 Dev Alpha device for development purposes.

The Dev Alpha arrived with the older BB10 OS installed which appears very much like the Playbook OS, with only a couple of apps (a browser and camera). I proceeded to update to the latest BB10 developer OS which had many more apps including AppWorld, BBM, Calendar, Contacts, an improved Camera app and more. It was nice to see a bunch of BB10 Apps from various developers already included in AppWorld, some in test mode and some fully-finished for sale. I downloaded a few to check them out, and there are some really cool ones.

Regarding my own app, one of the jumps I have been meaning to take is to convert from using jQuery to bbUI.js. The interface looks very polished on the bbUI.js and is probably optimized to run very well on BB devices. While my app works with jQuery, the look doesn't fit as well and it is a bit slow. Some of the pop-up lists don't fit well and it can be hard to format things on the screen properly. If all of this is "Greek" to you, it basically means that both of these tools let you easily implement nice modern user-interfaces (buttons, dialogs, lists, sliders, etc). However, bbUI.js was designed to match the look and feel of the Blackberry 10 OS and so to make things consistent with other apps and to help users avoid confusion, using a standard user-interface (UI) is beneficial. Companies like Apple have really pushed this idea on iOS, which explains why many of the apps on your iPhone and iPad have the same "look and feel".

I am definitely excited about Blackberry 10, now more than ever. Although I already fell in love with the Playbook, seeing it's evolution in the BB10 OS (which should also make it's way to the Playbook in time) is a real eye-opener. Many people are upset about waiting for BB10 to come out, but I believe we need to give RIM the time to make BB10 a perfect 10. If it means a few more months, it is better to have as flawless and bugless an OS as possible. All of the critics will be watching, and we don't want to give them any fodder for their articles!

I hope now that many people who have phone contracts expiring in the next few months will choose to hang on to their current devices, avoid locking into a new contract and proceed on a monthly basis until BB10 comes out. At least give Blackberry 10 a try, you won't regret it. However, you may regret locking into a new phone and missing out on a wonderful new mobile platform coming in early 2013!

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