- Voted BlackBerry® App Developer of the Year 2010 by CrackBerry.com
- Combined downloads of Bellshare's BlackBerry applications have totaled more than 25 million
- Has successfully leveraged the BlackBerry® Runtime for Android™ to port their apps to the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet
- Developing apps for BlackBerry® 7 smartphones
BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Bellshare
Bellshare GmbH (Bellshare), a German app development company, has shown a knack for identifying useful applications that help simplify the lives of its users. For example, in 2009, Henrik Pfluger, the CEO and founder of Bellshare, looked at his BlackBerry smartphone and asked two simple questions: why does the LED alert only flash red and how can I improve it? Not long after Bellshare released BeBuzz™, an app that allowed the user to customize their LED display light to identify certain contacts when a message was delivered.
By using their Java® knowledge and the easy-to-use BlackBerry development tools, Henrik and team have created over a half dozen apps and have recently begun to port their Android apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet via the BlackBerry Runtime for Android. We spoke with Henrik to find out more about his time developing for BlackBerry.
View details in BlackBerry World
Q: Why did you start developing for BlackBerry devices?
Henrik: We've been Java developers for a long time, so it was second nature for us to use the BlackBerry Java development tools provided by Research In Motion® (RIM®) to create our BlackBerry apps. Once we had familiarized ourselves with the tools, which took very little time, our main goal was to prove that it was possible to build quality apps that were far more powerful than the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) apps being created for other OS's. In particular, OEM's with similar interfaces to that of a BlackBerry. To accomplish this, we identified the holes that needed to be filled for the BlackBerry app market and started building them.
Q: What are some of the advantages of working with the new BlackBerry 7 smartphones?
Henrik: There are so many new features that are very straightforward. Take our BeWeather™ app as an example. We can instantly notify users about weather alerts by using native BlackBerry features like Push technology. Also the app's ‘Send To’ functionality allows the user to send the weather alerts to their contact list via Facebook®, Twitter®, BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), or email.
Being able to attain this level of integration with just a couple lines of code rather than having to implement the full functionality every time has been extremely useful. Also, the secure app integration provided by the BlackBerry smartphone's native functionality is something we can't get on some platforms.
Q: How easy was it for you to use BlackBerry Runtime for Android apps to repackage your Android apps to the PlayBook tablet?
Henrik: We assumed that certain features on the Android app wouldn't work after porting it to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but after the repackaging, the results have been impressive. For one, the entire process took only a couple hours and it was really easy to tweak the user interface to match the tablet's native app user interface.
Also, we took full advantage of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's processing power. It's astonishing, but we find that our Android apps actually run better on the BlackBerry PlayBook than the large majority of dual-core Android tablets that we port them from.
Q: What benefits does BlackBerry World&trade: storefront provide to Bellshare?
Henrik: There are lots of benefits to BlackBerry World. Definitely one of them is the fantastic support we get from the BlackBerry World and Developer Relations teams at RIM. Besides being able to contact them any time, they have actually contacted us to let us know there were minor issues with our app. It's a relationship that has really evolved and improved over the past year and something we haven't seen with other OS's when we've had questions or issues with our apps.
Another thing to mention is the great download numbers for our paid BlackBerry apps. It seems that BlackBerry users are willing to pay for them. And as long as you've developed an app that addresses a need, you'll likely get the attention from the customers you're looking for.
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