What non-BlackBerry developers think of BlackBerry 10

Last week I had the opportunity to present on BlackBerry 10 development a local mobile developers group. The members of this group are mainly a mix of iOS and Windows developers, and it was interesting to hear what their thoughts were on BlackBerry 10.

  • The group was genuinely excited about BlackBerry 10. Given that most of the devs in this group focus on other platforms, I was a bit surprised at the optimism that the the group had for this platform. I guess that I am still getting used to how much opinions on BlackBerry have changed over the last six months.
  • Most developers are looking for easy ports. While I personally think that Cascades is the way to go for writing BlackBerry 10 apps, most interest was in writing apps via Android or Phone Gap.
  • The Personal/Work Personas offered by BlackBerry Balance is a big deal. Given that I have personally never connected my phone to a corporate network, I have a tendency to ignore all enterprise news. However, the group had a lot of excitement about this feature.

Update: A week later I remember some more thoughts that people had…

  • Signing up for a dev account is easy. One developer signed up for a developer account while at the meeting, and told me it was easy to do. I knew this had changed since I signed up for an account four years ago, but it is good to see this process become painless.
  • The group was concerned about the approval process. After hearing that apps went through an approval process, most assumed the worse and that apps would be subject to an Apple style process that would reject due to not following UI guidelines. I tried to assure them that the process was rather lenient and that I have never had an app that was rejected.
  • Phone gap devs were already familiar with Ripple. While they said that it was not good enough to replace a true simulator, they liked the tool. BlackBerry should use this opportunity to recruit more HTML5 developers.