Research in Motion released information on the new BlackBerry Playbook today at the RIM DevCon developers conference in San Francisco. The Playbook is 9.7mm thick, with an “always on.” 7-inch display, supports 1080p HD video with HDMI, has both rear and front facing cameras, and is Enterprise ready since it integrates with the Blackberry Enterprise server. The keynote address by President and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis talked about the new app-building platform that is used on the device called BlackBerry WebWorks. The development environment is said to be web based, requires no Java skills, and allows for anyone to create fully featured apps in a few days not hours.
As a developer, I find this statement to be pretty intriguing since I’ve heard similar claims before, only to be met with extreme disappointment. However what I’ve learned is that these statements are usually made based on a loose definition of “Fully Featured” and with no sense of reality around the building of the support necessary to run and maintain an application exposed to the public at large. That being said however, I’m interested in checking out the SDK of Webworks and have already downloaded the source from GitHub here. Documentation and support for the use and development on the platform can be found at the Blackberry website.
Tomorrow I will take a quick look at the platform to see just how easy it is to build an application. Is anyone else going to give it a try?
Let me warn you though, unless the package comes with a large amount of stock graphics, a pre-built database and custom pre-built widgets/components, don’t expect to build the next great app in a few days as Blackberry claims. Plan for a few weeks at least. There will be a SuperApp developer challenge coming so better download the SDK today!