- Uses Adobe® AIR® to develop for the BlackBerry® PlayBook® tablet
- Less crowded market
- Enjoys hardware features of BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, including screen pixel density and rubberized back
- Engages BlackBerry PlayBook community for feedback and application ideas
BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Daniel Bigham
Before the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook last April, Research In Motion® (RIM®) offered a free BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to any developer interested in creating an application for the new platform. Daniel Bigham, an independent developer, took up that challenge and submitted his first BlackBerry PlayBook tablet application called “Baby Names”.
For Daniel, the process was so fun and easy he continued making BlackBerry PlayBook apps, and soon discovered that his efforts were becoming very profitable as well. A recent app, that wirelessly sync's music from iTunes to the BlackBerry PlayBook, reached the #3 spot in the Top Purchased section on BlackBerry World™ storefront, bringing Daniel approximately $20,000 of revenue in just 31 days.
Now with over a dozen apps on BlackBerry World, Daniel shared his experiences developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the tools he uses and how the overall development process differs from other platforms.View details in BlackBerry World
Q: What do you think about the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet itself, in terms of the hardware?
Daniel: From its seven-inch form factor to the rubberized back, the overall feel of the BlackBerry PlayBook is great. When you're working on something that's already attractive, it encourages you to use it more and find ways to enhance it. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's screen is vibrant, bright, and has great pixel density. I would even say it's a better screen than its competitors. I would encourage people to check out the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's demo video which demonstrates its visual richness very well.
Q: What tools do you use to develop BlackBerry PlayBook tablet apps?
Daniel: I use tools like Adobe AIR, which have been engineered to allow developers to produce apps quickly and efficiently. Adobe AIR is a successful rapid application development framework and it's fun to use because you can see your vision come to reality in very little time, rather than having to jump through a number of hoops when using a lower level programming language. Adobe AIR has a good class library that makes it easy to work with graphics, sound, and networks without having to search for separate libraries. My experience working with these tools and developing for RIM has been very positive.
Q: How does the actual development process differ from other platforms?
Daniel: My experience developing for BlackBerry has been much better than the other platforms. The development process for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has been easy because of the available developer tools and because RIM has published videos and a webinar series that helped me through the early stages.
As for the other platforms, porting my first app to Android® was an interesting experience, because I found the learning curve was steeper than on other platforms. In my opinion, porting the same app to iOS was challenging and I had to spend time reading up on the subject before I could even get started, since Objective C and the development tools from Apple® were so different to anything else I'd used. I also found submitting the iOS app difficult since I personally couldn't find any relevant documentation to help guide me through the steps.
Q: How have the BlackBerry PlayBook users responded to your apps in terms of download rates?
Daniel: In terms of compensation, it's important to note that the more time you spend developing an app results in a lower return on your efforts. Therefore, it makes sense to really focus on high value apps that can be developed quickly. When I develop for RIM, I can build compelling apps in less than 10 hours and I can also leverage my existing code to solve similar use cases quite easily. It's also important to consider the level of competition within the platforms. With iOS, it seems there are 50 apps in any given category so I think it's less likely that someone will find your app or pay for it when there are many other free options.
For example, in 2011, my Baby Names app has earned me about $3,000 on BlackBerry World, whereas the same app has earned me $23 on iOS and my time investment was much higher. I think there are better opportunities for small developers on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet or BlackBerry smartphones because it's a less crowded market.
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