Jack-O-Lantern app updated

The Jack-O-Lantern app has been updated in BlackBerry AppWorld in order to add more face, and support more devices. This app supports all BlackBerrys with a touchscreen.

About the Jack-O-Lantern App

This application is designed to turn your BlackBerry into a virtual Jack-O-Lantern in order to help you celebrate the Halloween season on your phone. You can change the Jack-O-Lantern’s face by swiping in different designs from the left and right for the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also change the back light colour of the design by clicking on the screen.

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Thoughts on last year’s DevCon

It has been a year since the last DevCon so I thought that it would be a good time to look at my thoughts at the time, and how things turned out.

BlackBerry PlayBook

I love my PlayBook, and use it every single day. That said I was right about there being a limited market for Tablets. Once again at this year’s DevCon I expect most of the announcements to center around the PlayBook.

Native Advertising Service

I ended up not using the BlackBerry’s native ad service. However, after they release an Advertising SDK for Adobe AIR at this year’s DevCon I plan on giving it another look for some tablet apps.

In-app payments

This turned out to be the biggest announcement at last year’s DevCon. At the time I wrote about the possibility of being able to make a $1 payment in order to get rid of ads in my Hockey Scores and Twinkle apps. Now today you can in fact do just that in both of those apps, but the real use of this was in the game Xploding Boxes, where you can purchase the full game after trying out the first 25 levels for free.


My expectation of a Spring release was actually a bit off as BBM6 wasn’t out of Beta until summer, but I was right about it being awesome. Thanks to this API you can now use share events in Twinkle via BBM. Furthermore I was invited to the BBM Hackathon in NYC and am working on a game that will be played over BBM.

Hockey Scores updated for 2011-2012 season

The Hockey Scores app has been updated to version 2.7 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This new version adds support for the upcoming 2011-2012 season, as well as the new OS7 devices that RIM has released in the past month.

About Hockey Scores

This application provides the day’s hockey scores is an intuitive and easy to use format. It also includes additional game statistics such as start times, goal scorers, shots on net, hits, faceoff percentage, team Corsi numbers, and the goal scorers. Additionally the app supports keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation, and a number of display options. All BlackBerry devices with OS 4.6.0 and higher are supported.

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PlayBook OS distribution

The PlayBook is seeing very good rates of OS upgrades, with 96% of all users currently running the newest version of the OS. As a developer this is a good trend to see because it implies that less work will need to go towards supporting older versions of the operating system. (For example the 3% of users still running OS 1.0.3 do not have access to in-app purchases).

In the past this has been an issue for RIM. As of just this past month 12.7% of BlackBerry smartphone users were still on OS 4.6 which was released over three years ago now. Historically RIM has had even more trouble getting users to upgrade existing devices. However, by removing the wireless carriers from the process, and including an simpler, and easier way to upgrade on the PlayBook, RIM does not seem to be having these problems anymore.

PlayBook Sales estimate

Last Thursday RIM announced that they have shipped 700,000 PlayBooks as of August 27th. However for developers the more important question is how many of those were actually sold? Based on my calculations the answer is that they have actually sold through most of these with 504,000 PlayBooks sold as of September 16th.

This estimation is based off of the number of downloads of the free game Pixelated. While this calculation does rely on a number of assumptions, given that Pixelated has remained one of the most downloaded apps for the PlayBook, I feel that I have better numbers then most to base this estimate upon.

I have tweaked the formula used to make this estimation, to one that is more conservative then the one I have used in the past. Under the new formula the June 14th estimate would have been revised down to 255,000 tablets sold.

Xploding Boxes version 2.0

Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 2.0 in BlackBerry AppWorld. This new version adds support for the PlayBook, support for Spanish, and 15 new levels.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve. The first 25 levels are free, while the full 215 levels can be accessed by making an in-application payment and requiring no further downloads.

PlayBook Support

New in version 2.0 is support for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. If you have already upgraded to the full version of Xploding Boxes on your phone, you can gain access on the PlayBook as well without having to pay a second time. Instead you can just select “Upgrade” from the swipe down menu, and log in with your BlackBerryID. Unfortunately there is no way to sync your level progress on the phone version of the game, with the tablet version of the game so you will have to replay the levels from the beginning.

New Levels & Español

This new version also adds levels 201-215 to the game, as well as adding support for Spanish. The language can be changed from the option page, and will require the app to be restarted in order to take effect in some places. These additional levels and languages are available on both the phone and tablet versions of the game.

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BlackBerry OS usage (now with 7.0)

This past month included the release of the BlackBerry OS 7.0 (shown on the chart in Yellow). While the 2.41% market share that the new OS showed in August is rather small, as a point of comparison it is more the double the 1.08% market share that OS 6.0 had in August 2010.

OS 6+ meanwhile is now on just over one third of all devices with its marketshare up to 33.4% of in market BlackBerry devices.

This data was taken from downloads of the popular BlackBerry strategy game Pixelated. Data shown on the chart is from the beginning of August 2010 through the end of August 2011.

BlackBerry (finally) with a touchscreen on all US carriers

With yesterday’s release of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 on T-Mobile, RIM is finally offering a touchscreen device on all 4 of the major wireless carriers in the United States. (Actually on all 5 US carriers with the 9850 already released on US Cellular). This is an important move for RIM as their previous touchscreen phones were carrier exclusives (the Torch on AT&T and the Storm on Verizon).

This address a serious problem that RIM was having in the United States. With Verizon (until recently) not getting any new devices in over a year and a half, and the 9800 only being available from AT&T, the market share of BlackBerry has been decreasing. In other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom RIM has had released the touchscreen 9800 on all carriers, and instead saw their marketshare rise. Neither of these countries is all that different from the US culturally or economically, so the difference is most likely due to the availability of touchscreen BlackBerrys.

Now that RIM has their carrier situation figured out in the US, they should see their marketshare increase in the region.