RIM: HTML 5 is the bridge between BlackBerry 7 and 10

RIM: HTML 5 is the bridge between BlackBerry 7 and 10

Summary: The BlackBerry maker believes HTML 5 could help persuade developers to keep making apps for both its platforms as it prepares for the introduction of its new BlackBerry 10 OS and devices.


BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is hoping its BlackBerry 7 platform will prove popular with the pre-pay market this Christmas. But with the introduction of its QNX-based BlackBerry 10 imminent, will customers want to buy into a nearly overtaken platform?

As is already clear — shown by the fortunes of Nokia's, Microsoft's and RIM's mobile endeavours — apps and a healthy developer ecosystem can make or break a platform, particularly in the early years.

RIM has set out to court developers, seen here at BlackBerry Jam Americas, to its BB10 OS.

If a mobile OS doesn't have what a customer wants in apps or functionality, they simply won't buy the handsets that use it. It they do get it and become aware of its limitations, they won't make the same mistake twice. 

Convincing consumers to buy into a smartphone platform that will soon be superseded by a new, incompatible version seems a tough prospect. However, RIM's UK managing director Rob Orr said on Wednesday that the company sees HTML 5 as the key to driving developers to make the transition from BlackBerry 7 to BlackBerry 10, and with that, bringing customers along for the ride.

"The developer outreach shows an important new side to RIM," Orr said. "We went out to developers and asked which tools do you want to use, how do you want your SDKs, what open-source code do you want to leverage, do you want to use HTML 5?"

"HTML 5 is actually a nice bridging technology between [BlackBerry] 7 and 10. We're a leader in HTML 5 support; we use 95 percent of the same code that's in the Chrome desktop browser in our BB10 browser — so that's one of the development environments that the app community asked us to fully support and leverage."

Orr added that BlackBerry's tools also make it easy to port Android apps across to work on RIM's devices, although the company hopes that developers will make the shift to creating native BlackBerry 10 apps once they realise the capabilities and benefits.

"What we're trying to show developers is what we have on our platform makes their app special and unique, which will lead to more downloads and more sticky usage," Orr said. "We're also leveraging the existing app ecosystem by making it easy for Android developers to port their applications into our catalogue."

Surprising sales?

BlackBerry sold more than seven million smartphones in RIM's last quarter, according to Orr. That's somewhat surprising, he argues, given the number of doom-laden headlines the company has been the subject of in the last 18 months.

"We shipped 7.4 million smartphones in the last quarter, which [is] against all of the negative headwinds you're seeing out there; Thorsten and the rest of the team have done an awesome job in my mind of stabilising the ship," he said.

Topics: Software Development, BlackBerry, Smartphones

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Another company self-destructs with HTML5

    Did they learn nothing from the WebOS debacle? The PALM folks themselves admitted HTML/JS was not ready as a robust platform. Now BB in their desperate attempt to save the sink ship went all in with this dud. Goes to show you it must be run by non-tech people capable of making such blunder.
    • Obviously you know nothing

      Blackberry also supports C++, Java and Flex.

      Eventually HTML5 will get there, the likes of Microsoft, Adobe and other companies are spending millions of dollars to ensure it does.

      It is my oppion that RIM has done a good job in providing multiple development environments for the Blackberry, in fact they have done more for developers than any other platform I work with.
    • They haven't gone all in with HTML5, it's an option

      They have gone all in with QML/Javascript on top of C++ which is formidable. It's the best platform I've developed on for mobile.
    • You need some update ...

      "WAS" is the most valuable word in your statement.
      Just realize that the most HTML5 compliant browser in the world (incl desktops) is BB10's.
      Oh ... and this particular browser ... IS HTML5 coded.

      Maybe it won't be the platform of choice for hard consuming graphics (even there, full support of WebGL offers huge possibilities) but for most apps (farts included), local storage (sessions, text, SQL), full access to APIs, invocation, web sockets (P2P), makes it a lightweight yet very powerful environment.
      Sure you can't state DOA ... it just arrived. RIM bring it to mobile world while Jobs tried and failed (he was too early).
      • BB10 Browser IS HTML5 (follow-up)

        @lBiege: I strongly suggest you watch this : http://hosting.desire2learncapture.com/RIM/1/watch/50.aspx
  • Common mistake - US market is representative of world market

    As evidence from the Q2 results, the entire world would not stop buying BB7 because BB10 is coming. There will always be BB7 market and BB10 market in the world.
  • RIM sales...consumer or corporate?

    Are the Q3 sales broken out by consumer v. corporate buyers?
    • RIM Sales

      Dose it matter where the sale come from?.... A sale is a sale and money is coming in so that tells me blackberry isnt DOOMED as one reads from all the mindless isheep tech bloggers. Although its been pretty quite as most of them have been looking like total complete fools with the sky is falling B.S as RIM keeps proving them wrong time after time.... Lets wait and see when the dust settles after the BB10 launch when the "complete" OS can be viewed then lets hear the reveiws on it but until then lets read more about how apples iphone 5 with ios6 is a massive fail.....