The annual event of Research in Motion, BlackBerry World, conducted with the aim of popularising the brand commences today at Orlando. The focus will be restricted the BlackBerry 10 OS, which will power RIM’s devices in the year ahead. The backbone of the OS will be the main point of discussion during the summit, as this could well be RIM’s last chance at reclaiming lost market share. The company isn’t giving up just yet, as HTML5 is expected to play a pivotal role in the company’s strategy to recover. The biggest problem that the company is currently facing is a dying platform. The BB 7 was an utter failure and the company is relying heavily on its transition to BB 10 later this year.
RIM had something to smile about when their Vice President of Developer relations, Alec Saunders, revealed a 21% rise in smartphone apps and a 240% increase in PlayBook apps. This is only with reference to the number submitted as many are still pending approval. The total number of apps stand at 70,000, which is still low compared to that of the iOS or Android for that matter. Saunders however, announced that 2012 was the single best quarter for developer growth in RIM’s history.
So, what can one expect at the conference? In simple terms, RIM is looking at HTML5 as a platform for creating apps, so that they’ll run on any mobile browser. HTML5 gives the developers a chance to create apps without worrying about the device on which it is going to run on. The limitation here is that that the app’s capabilities are restricted by the browser and the benefits of the OS are rendered useless. RIM is looking at reducing those limitations, by creating toolkits which aid the developers in creating an app on HTML5 and essentially “wrapping” the same so that it can run natively as well. The toolkits also have options that allow the developers to make use of RIM’s BBM service.
Although these tools exist on other platforms as well, RIM believes that combining these additions with HTML5 will benefit the company immensely. This is a very sensible move as RIM needs the support of many developers if it intends at getting back into the “smart” business world. However, RIM will have to do this at the expense of sacrificing their apps to other platforms as well, given that HTML5 is being used as a building platform here. Whether RIM’s strategy change once BB10 OS arrives, will be answered in a few months time.