BlackBerry development just became a lot more interesting…

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by Mike
Posted November 9th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

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The BlackBerry Developer Conference kicked off today and RIM personnel didn’t waste any time getting to the goods. For starters, OpenGL ES support is finally coming to the BlackBerry platform (OS 5.0+). If you didn’t know, OpenGL is what gives modern smartphones such as the iPhone it’s amazing graphics in such small packages. But what good is powerful hardware without software? Again RIM answers, though this answer is somewhat a surprise.

Since the beginning of BlackBerry theme development started a few short years ago, the Plazmic Developers Kit was the one and only way to skin and theme your Berry. A couple months back RIM bought Plazmic which led many to believe that a more tightly integrated Theme Developer Kit was coming. I as well as many others I’m sure assumed that RIM would through in some a few more goodies and maybe a new name and call it a day. That isn’t the case however as RIM also announced today the BlackBerry Theme Studios 5.0. As you can see, RIM is really pushing customization and the whole consumer thing really hard. One interesting part about the new Theme Studio is the ability to add .PSD (Photoshop) directly cutting down on needlessly having to save those .PSD files as some other format such as .png before being used. Also, screen transitions such as zooming, sliding, wiping and fading can now be added much more easier than before. What this simply means is that instead of a few high-end theme makers having the power and know-how on how to make truly impressive themes, more hobby based and beginner theme builders will also be able to compete with the big boys. Nice job RIM!

The Developer Conference has just started however and there is plenty more to find out. Stay tuned.

Press release inside…

RIM Announces BlackBerry Application Platform Enhancements to Foster Rich Content Development

Open GL ES Support, Java GUI Builder and Theme Studio to Help Developers Generate Dynamic User Experiences

2009 BlackBerry Developer Conference – San Francisco – Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced enhancements to the BlackBerry® Application Platform that will further enable developers to rapidly develop rich content and applications. The enhancements include support for OpenGL® ES for the development of 3D games and graphics; an upcoming Java® GUI builder for the rapid development of user interfaces for BlackBerry applications; and BlackBerry® Theme Studio for the creation of themes for BlackBerry® smartphones.

“We are making it easier than ever for developers, hobbyists and content providers to build graphic-rich experiences for BlackBerry smartphones,” said Alan Brenner, Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Platform at Research In Motion. “These new features will help drive a multitude of engaging themes, games and applications for BlackBerry smartphone users.”

OpenGL ES Support Enables 3D Games and Graphics for BlackBerry Smartphones

With OpenGL ES support, Java developers will have the ability to build 3D games and graphics for BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry OS 5.0 and higher. The OpenGL ES support is available through an update of the BlackBerry® Java® Software Development Kit (BlackBerry Java SDK). A beta version of the BlackBerry Java SDK 5.0 including OpenGL ES support is available at http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/devbetasoftware/javasdk5.jsp

GUI Builder for BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse to Simplify User Interface Design

An upcoming GUI builder integrated into the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse will make it faster and easier for Java developers to build user interfaces for BlackBerry applications. Developers will be able to rapidly create and localize complex user interfaces with a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) view and drag and drop capabilities. The Java GUI builder will also allow developers to easily preview their user interface design on different BlackBerry smartphones.

The GUI builder for the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse will be previewed this week at the 2009 BlackBerry Developer Conference (www.blackberrydeveloperconference.com). It is expected to be available in mid 2010.

New BlackBerry Theme Studio Enables Easy Theme Design, Illustration and Animation

RIM is also announcing the availability of BlackBerry Theme Studio – a free suite of theme design, illustration and animation tools that make it easier to create custom interfaces (themes) for BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry OS 4.2.2 and higher, including the new BlackBerry® Storm2™ and BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700 smartphones.

BlackBerry Theme Studio includes:

  • BlackBerry Theme Builder – a design tool for customizing a smartphone’s user interface, including the home screen layout, fonts, icons, message list colors, cursors, dialog boxes and home screen application icons.
  • BlackBerry Composer – an illustration and animation tool for creating animated SVG graphics that can be used to add animation to theme buttons and backgrounds as well as animate web sites and applications for BlackBerry smartphones.

BlackBerry Theme Studio 5.0, which replaces the previously available Plazmic Content Developer’s Kit™, features the ability to import Adobe Photoshop files to BlackBerry Theme Builder, add ringtones and build screen transitions such as zooming, sliding, wiping and fading within themes. Ringtones and screen transitions are supported for BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry OS 5.0 and higher.

RIM also announced today that themes for BlackBerry smartphones can now be submitted to BlackBerry App World™.

BlackBerry Theme Studio is available for free and can be downloaded at www.blackberry.com/themestudio.

For more information about the BlackBerry Application Platform, visit www.blackberry.com/developer.

About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld™ product line, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. RIM is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.

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