Category Archives: Events

Presenting today at BlackBerry Live

ShapeItLevel2 - CopyI am presenting session JAM42 today with Brian Scheirer today at 1pm. The topic of our talk is on creating games in Cascades, where we will shows off some of the details (and code!) for a game we have created especially for this event, as well as talk about our experiences creating games like Pixelated, Visual Connection, and Starbeams.

The source code for the sample app can be found at github. An early version of the slides can be found at on my site.

Expectations for BlackBerry Live

IMG-20120501-00063I have written once or twice before about my expectations for upcoming BlackBerry events. My track record is actually fairly poor, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying again.

So here are my expectations for BlackBerry Live.

Headless apps

Probably coming as part of OS 10.2 (in late August?) this is pretty much confirmed to be a topic this week. For developers this will be by far the most important announcement. Along with the invocation framework this will give BlackBerry the best multi-tasking of any OS.

The PlayBook will be ignored

While BlackBerry has yet to say that they won’t be delivering on the previous promise of offering OS 10 on the PlayBook, don’t expect to hear too much about tablets in the coming week. In fact, I think that it will be possible to watch the entirety of the two hour keynote without realizing that BlackBerry has ever sold a tablet.

Much of the keynote will be about future fluff

2018For years now BlackBerry has shown off a car that users their technology without giving consumers a way to buy it, or developers a way to offer apps for it. I expect more of the same this year. Lately BlackBerry has been indicating that they will be talking a bit about their plans for 2018. Given that five years ago I didn’t even own a smartphone, this is mostly just irrelevant fluff.

The on-stage partners will be boring

Every keynote, BlackBerry is always quick to bring on some trivial partners who fail to do (or say) anything interesting at all. There is no reason to expect that to change any this year. I have never been interested in what any of these other companies have had to say.

No new phones

While there are the beginnings of rumors of a (curve-like) R10 and a (galaxy note-like) A10, I don’t actually expect to see either of these phones until October or November, and therefore have no reason to expect BlackBerry to acknowledge them next week.

The best session will be Wednesday at 1 PM

The word is that there is going to be a very interesting session on Wednesday about Game Development in Cascades. I will certainly be there, and hope to see you there as well.

Last year’s BlackBerry World Conference

This has been reposted from Gadget Masters

A year ago this week, BlackBerry (then still Research in Motion) was presenting at BlackBerry World showing off their plans for the launch of BlackBerry 10. Now that it has been a year later and BlackBerry 10 is actually on store shelves, I thought that it would be interesting to see how the announcements at last year’s BlackBerry 10 have played out.

Time-shift Camera

IMG-20120501-00068-CropNot only has the time shift camera been working wonderfully on all BlackBerry 10 phones since the launch of the Dev Alpha B, all of the critics who assume that Apple and others would copied the feature before BlackBerry 10 launched proved to be wrong. A year later this remains one of the highlight features of the new BlackBerry phones.

BlackBerry Balance

This has been a well accepted feature, but due to the fact that BES 10 hasn’t yet been launched, it isn’t actually available to anyone yet. To be fair, BES 10 is widely expected to formally launch next week at BlackBerry Live, but it would have been nicer if this feature had been available on BlackBerry 10 from day one.

App Demos

During the keynote BlackBerry showed off a number of app demos including apps like Pacemaker, Galaxy on Fire, Citrix, Occipital. These apps have all since been released on BlackBerry 10. However, a year later this seems like a very odd list of apps for BlackBerry to have shown off. With the exception of the Pacemaker DJ app, none of the rest of these are exclusive to BlackBerry. Furthermore a quick visit to the websites for Galaxy on Fire and Occipital reveal that they have actually excluded the BlackBerry World store from their list of places to download their apps.

QNX in Cars

For a few years now BlackBerry takes a moment in their keynotes to put forth the possibility of having their QNX platform running apps in cars. Despite re-announcing this idea every few months BlackBerry still appears to be no closer to offering an API or app store for cars, and as such it all seems a bit irrelevant. Expect the pattern to repeat again next week at BlackBerry Live.

Alec Saunders’ First Music Video

Last year at BlackBerry World Alec Saunders preformed a (modified) rendition of Tom Petty’s “The Waiting”. Unlike the next two music video, this one never made it to YouTube and most people still don’t know about it. A year later the joke has been played out, and Saunders’ has announced that the band is done with.

Dev Alpha Program

BlackBerry World was also the start of the widely successful Dev Alpha program that gave developers actual hardware to test their apps on many months prior to the release of BlackBerry 10. This is a big part of the reason why BlackBerry 10 was able to launch with so many apps already available on day one. While (post-launch) the program is now wrapping up, BlackBerry recently offered Developers the DevAlpha C to test out apps prior to the launch of the Q10.

Trade-in program

As an add on to the Dev Alpha program, BlackBerry offered the option to turn in the developer units for actual hardware once BlackBerry 10 launched. Despite being well intentioned, this program has pretty much been a disaster. Developers were first told that instead of being able to get devices right away that they would have to wait 6-8 weeks instead. And now 14 weeks later many developers (including myself) are still waiting for BlackBerry to make good on their offer. The delay has gotten so bad that many developers would have been better off if BlackBerry had never promised anything to begin with.

$10,000 Guarantee

While at first glance this guarantee seemed as if it would benefit developers, once the program actually went into practice it seems unlikely that this offer has actually been made to more than 20 devs. Through a combination of terms and conditions, and tying the offer to the very broken Built for BlackBerry program, the number of developers to actually be helped by this guarantee is extremely minimal. Unfortunately despite the actual conditions, the stigma that BlackBerry has to pay out cash in order to get any developers still endures.

BlackBerry Keyboard

BlackBerry also used their event last year to offer a preview of the new flick typing that is possible on the BlackBerry 10 keyboard. Now that the keyboard has actually been released, it has received very positive reviews and is generally considered to be one of the better virtual keyboards available. At the time however, many noted that the keynote included no mention of a physical keyboard and felt as if a device like the Q10 would never be released. Of course that phone has now been released in almost every country (except for the one it was announced in).

BarCamp Rochester tomorrow

barcamp_rochester_nlogo_width500_greyTomorrow is BarCamp Rochester on the RIT campus. Last year I gave a talk on the internationalization of the business of selling apps. This year, I will be giving a (non-technical) talk titled Daryl Dixon or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zombie Apocalypse. If you see me there, please stop to chat. I would be more than happy to take some time to talk about BlackBerry, mobile, zombies, or really anything…

Update: The slides for my presentation are now posted online.

BarCamp Rochester is tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be at BarCamp Rochester on the RIT campus. I am not yet sure if I will have time to put together a presentation before then, but I may cheat and give a short five minute talk during the post lunch lightning sessions.

Either way if you see me there I would be more than happy to take some time to talk about BlackBerry, mobile, or really any topic of interest.

BlackBerry Jam Americas 2012

I am now officially registered for the BlackBerry Jam conference this September in San Jose. This will be my third time at a major BlackBerry conference, and even though I am not scheduled to speak this time, it will still be a great event. As always at these events, if you see me around, I would love to have the opportunity to chat.

For more about the 2012 BlackBerry Jam Americas conference see