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Getting Started


The BlackBerry Java SDK lets you create apps for BlackBerry smartphones up to version 7.1. The SDK includes APIs that you can use to create sophisticated UIs, graphics and augmented reality, and help you integrate BlackBerry software and core applications into your app.

Read this page to learn the basics of how to create a successful app and where to find more information.

Creating a successful app

RIM provides a number of solutions, listed below, to help you achieve success with your apps. All of these services are provided free of charge.

BlackBerry World, the Advertising Service, the Payment Service, and the Analytics Service are all described below. All the SDKs are separate downloads so that the service is not tied to any particular version of the BlackBerry Java SDK. These SDKs are designed for easy integration.

Post your app on BlackBerry World

BlackBerry World is a vendor portal provided by RIM for you to sell your apps. There is no cost to you to register with BlackBerry World or to use it to sell your apps. BlackBerry World comes pre-loaded on new BlackBerry smartphones.


Place ads in your app

Your app can include ads that generate revue for you when users click on them.


Collect money in your app

The Payment Service is an SDK that helps you collect money in your apps. For example, if you create a game you can charge customers for proceeding to higher levels, or you can charge a subscription fee. Your customers can pay with any of the payment types associated with their BlackBerry ID. Payment types can include billing to their wireless service provider, credit card, or PayPal. The Payment Service server processes all purchase requests.


Collect data about the usage of your app

The Analytics Service is an SDK and web portal that can help you understand the usage of your apps. For example, you can collect data about your users such as their BlackBerry smartphone model, version, country of origin, and language; the number of unique users, the total number of sessions, and the average length of a session; and data such as screen views, button clicks, and application errors. The Analytics Service collects the data, compiles it, and produces reports and metrics on a web portal.


Designing your app

This section is a brief overview of some of the steps for designing a successful app, with links to more in-depth information.

Research your market

Your first step should be to research your market to determine what your prospective users want. For apps that will be sold on BlackBerry World, you should research market potential and current market penetration: how many people want the service and how well the market is already served. For enterprise apps, determine the needs and skill levels of your target users.

Decide your version support

Each BlackBerry smartphone runs a version of BlackBerry Device Software that corresponds to a version of the BlackBerry Java SDK. Applications are forward compatible but they may not be backward compatible. For example, apps written in the BlackBerry Java SDK 5.0 run on BlackBerry Device Software 6.0, but may not run on BlackBerry Device Software 4.7.

For more information about designing apps for multiple versions, see:

For more information about model characteristics and customer usage of BlackBerry versions, see:

In the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse, you can package your BlackBerry application project (and its dependent projects) for multiple versions of BlackBerry Device Software. When you distribute your app, the plug-in creates one master.alx file in the Standard folder of your BlackBerry application project. When you distribute your app over the Internet, the plug-in creates the .jad and .cod files for each version of the BlackBerry Device Software in the Web folder of your BlackBerry application project.

For more information about packaging application projects for multiple versions, see BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse development guides.

Decide which BlackBerry features to integrate into your app

Successful smartphone apps (especially in the consumer market) take advantage of the technology of the smartphone. For example, they integrate with social networking, calendars, cameras, GPS, or push capability. Some BlackBerry smartphones contain magnetometers (a three-axis compass that detects direction), accelerometers (a sensor that detects movement of the smartphone in 3-D space), NFC sensors, and more.

For information about BlackBerry features and how to make the most of them in your app, see:

For more information about the accelerometer and magnetometer, see Accelerometer and Magnetometer.

For more information about NFC, see Near Field Communication.

For information about new features of BlackBerry Java SDK 7, see:

Review BlackBerry design guidelines

Research In Motion has conducted extensive research to develop best practices and design tips for you to use when designing a user interface. For more information, see:

Check out the sample apps

RIM provides many sample applications to help you get started.

  • You can find sample apps on the Samples page.

  • Sample apps are installed as part of the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse. Some of these installed apps have user guides. You can find the user guides at Java sample apps.