Penrillian

Quick Facts

  • More than 10 applications developed for the BlackBerry® platform over four years
  • Uses BlackBerry® Java™ Plug-in for Eclipse® to build many applications
  • Enjoys working with BlackBerry® OS 7 and for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet
  • BlackBerry Alliance partner

BlackBerry Developer Success Story - Penrillian

Priding itself on an agile, customer-focused development approach, the U.K.-based Penrillian was founded over a decade ago and has worked with some of Europe's largest mobile network operators, including T-Mobile®, Orange™ and Vodafone®. Focusing on both consumer-facing and customized business apps, Penrillian's tight-knit team develops apps across a number of platforms, but enjoys working with Research In Motion® (RIM®) development tools and engaged user community.


Penrillian's Business Development Manager, Marc Morrison, tells us how RIM's development tools allow for a simple, rapid rollout of high-quality, technically forward apps.

Q: What has been one major benefit of developing for RIM's BlackBerry smartphones?

Marc: We like to think of ourselves as a technical company, so we're always on the hunt for technically challenging projects that push the limits of what you can do on a mobile phone. We work with some big wireless operators here in the U.K., and one of the things the BlackBerry platform offers is a quick development cycle.


For example, one of our favourite apps is one called ‘Orange Wednesdays,’ which tells you what's on at your local cinema, shows all the major movie releases and allows you to watch movie trailers. It's quite a big app, but it only took seven or eight weeks to develop. That's a big deal with these operators, who are obviously keen to keep time and cost to a minimum.

Q: What tools did your team use to turn them around so quickly?

Marc: One of the major reasons for the prompt development time is working with the BlackBerry® Java™ Plug-in for Eclipse® (Eclipse). There's a comfort zone working with Eclipse because a lot of us have used it in the past and we love to see RIM keeping it going. There also seems to be a lot of effort put into the simulators over and above other platforms. All of these things combined make a great development experience.

Q: How do you integrate your applications with BlackBerry's native features and functions?

Marc:¬†Another novel app we've developed is called ‘Do Some Good,’ which is a mobile-volunteering app that tries to crowd source volunteers using the robust features of the BlackBerry smartphone. It's a location-aware app we created that invites you to offer up five or ten minutes of your time in your own community. It has camera and video integration so you can upload photos or video when you want to contribute volunteering ideas. It also has web views built in for online surveys and social integration via BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), Twitter® and Facebook®.

Q: Why is working closely with RIM so important to you?

Marc:  As a BlackBerry Alliance partner, we've developed close relationships with RIM's technical team as well as its marketing team. We're constantly bombarding our main contacts with tech-support questions. They're always very supportive in providing answers, escalating issues as they arise and reaching out to other RIM teams - whether here in the U.K. or in North America - as needed. In fact, if we send them an email, we usually receive a response within a few hours. With other platforms, we certainly don't have the same contacts.


And in terms of marketing, what's been really useful is the partner referral service, which gives us the opportunity to showcase our applications and services to a global audience of prospective clients.

Q: Tell me about the benefits of the engaged BlackBerry user community.

Marc: Based on my developer experience, I believe RIM is one of the more responsive, supportive communities out there. You can write an application simply and quickly, meaning fast production for either your client or the wider community of BlackBerry users. And RIM is so responsive to technical support requests – whether it is a specific RIM contact or those on the Developer Support Forums.


They're really good at answering all sorts of questions to the point that it helps this broad community feel small, in some ways. On the other hand, with other platforms, there's stuff all over the place now and you don't really know where to find the best support outlets. BlackBerry is a really attractive platform for someone wanting to get into mobile development.






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