- Has developed four BlackBerry® smartphone applications, including popular MiniFrames and MiniPaint
- Uses BlackBerry Java® Plug-in for Eclipse® for smartphone development and BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe® AIR® for BlackBerry PlayBook™ tablet development
- Enjoys variety of available APIs and the tight social integration they offer
- Distributes apps on the BlackBerry World™ storefront
- Benefits from support provided in BlackBerry forums and online documentation
BlackBerry Developer Success Story — BB4
Mexico’s BB4 Software is proof that a small company can make a big mark in the competitive world of mobile application development. Working exclusively with BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the company has already developed two photo editing apps that consistently appear as Top 20 most popular photo-related applications in BlackBerry World. With simple tools, a variety of APIs, and a worldwide market to distribute to, BB4 Software is poised to continue its success down the road.
Eduardo Zárate, BB4 Software’s Development Manager, told us why he thinks the decision to work with Research In Motion® (RIM®) has been a good one.
What tools do you use when developing for BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets?
Eduardo: For our BlackBerry smartphone apps, I use the Java Plug-in for Eclipse. It’s a robust, flexible development tool that I’m really comfortable using. I have a background developing with Java, so it was a nice surprise for me when I discovered that I could use a Java-based plug-in. It was very natural to start using the tools and APIs to develop apps.
I feel that any programmer with even basic knowledge of the Java programming language can easily use the tools and learn the APIs to start developing for the platform. The same can be said for Adobe Flex, which I’ve used to develop BlackBerry PlayBook tablet apps.
How do the available APIs allow you to integrate more fully with the native features of the BlackBerry smartphone?
Eduardo: The APIs give developers the power to do more with their apps. They give us [developers] the capability to integrate very tightly with the devices user interface and allow us to really exploit the hardware characteristics.
Two of BB4 Software’s most popular apps deal with photo editing, so for us it was really important to be able to use the native browser to search for photos and also have the ability to launch the application right from the BlackBerry menu. This level of integration makes using the app more natural for the user and it’s a distinctive differentiator. Once the user edits their photo, it’s also very easy to share it through email, a PIN contact, or through social networks. That kind of social integration is a powerful and very attractive functionality.
What benefits have you enjoyed from distributing your apps on BlackBerry World?
Eduardo: I’ve been distributing my applications on BlackBerry World for a little more than a year now and the results have been good. As the main distribution mechanism of BlackBerry apps, the BlackBerry World environment is a safe and comfortable place to be, and we’ve been able to use it as a vehicle to reach a global customer base.
Our top markets are North America, Europe, and Asia, particularly Middle Eastern countries. Moving forward, I feel that having carrier billing available in the Latin American region will be a great catalyst to increase the market opportunity there. Because of its reliability, market exposure, and the fact that BlackBerry users are generally more willing to pay for applications.
How important has RIM’s online support been?
Eduardo: I’ve made extensive use of the online documentation and whenever I’ve been in doubt about anything specific I’ve found the development forums very useful. The BlackBerry user community is very engaged and I’ve been able to tap into their expertise on a number of occasions. This is another reason that I’ve had a very positive experience working with RIM. It’s a platform that is growing, that promises great things moving forward with BlackBerry PlayBook OS2 and BlackBerry 10.
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