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BlackBerry Application Platform Enhancements

BlackBerry Application Platform Enhancements

At the November 2009 conference, RIM announced platform enhancements that were implemented recently or are planned for the future:

  • Support for OpenGL
  • GUI builder for Java developers
  • BlackBerry Theme Studio

Let's consider each topic in more detail.

OpenGL ES Support

RIM has finally announced support for OpenGL! The capabilities of the BlackBerry device processing and platform (OS kernel and more) have finally reached a point where they are able to support OpenGL, making it easier for game developers to build rich graphical experiences for their games. Now developers can leverage this open standard available on multiple platforms (desktop, gaming, and mobile) to build applications—no more need to write in OpenGL for many other platforms but use native libraries for the BlackBerry version of the game.

The cool thing about this part of the announcement is that the capabilities are available now in BlackBerry Device Software 5.0. In the keynote address, RIM demonstrated a BlackBerry version of a game that had been created in only a few weeks, according to the vendor (although I'm not sure how big the development team was). This announcement reinforces RIM's regular and consistent support for industry standards.

GUI Builder for BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse

RIM also announced a planned GUI builder tool for Java developers. Availability for the tool wasn't specified, although RIM suggested that it will be available in mid-2010. As was true for BlackBerry widgets, I wouldn't expect to see this tool released until next year's conference. When the tool is released, it will certainly help new developers to better understand the nuances of building BlackBerry Java application user interfaces.

BlackBerry Theme Studio

RIM's BlackBerry Theme Studio isn't really a new tool—it's just an updated version (with name change) of the Plazmic Content Development Kit. The kit has been enhanced to include support for importing native Adobe Photoshop files. RIM has also added support for screen transitions and ringtones (having the ability to associate a ringtone with a theme automatically).

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