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Research In Motion is working with its developer community to create a new generation of enterprise-specific apps for its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform as the beleaguered smartphone maker looks to push rivals Apple and Google out of its bread-and-butter enterprise market.
RIM in New York this week is wrapping up its BlackBerry Jam World Tour, Enterprise Edition, a road show intended to help its enterprise developer community prepare and write business-specific applications for BlackBerry 10, its new mobile software set to launch Jan. 30.
BlackBerry 10 represents an overhaul of RIM's platform, ushering in a new user interface and a bevy of new devices that will support it. The company is hanging high hopes on the new platform, looking to the launch to help facilitate a rebound of RIM's fortunes.
A former leader in the smartphone market, RIM has ceded much of its market share to rivals Apple and Google over the past few years, particularly with the rise of trends like the consumerization of IT. According to Gartner, RIM's BlackBerry platform in the third quarter accounted for 5.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, a number that pales in comparison to the 72.4 percent held by Google's Android and the 13.9 percent held by Apple's iOS.
The show, which hit 11 different cities and is basically an enterprise-focused version of RIM's broader BlackBerry Jam World Tour event, was launched to address the unique needs of application developers targeting the enterprise.
"Our enterprise developers have a very specific set of needs that they need assistance with, and us having these events -- it's been overwhelmingly positive," Gregg Ostrowski, senior director of Enterprise Developer Partnerships at RIM, Waterloo, Ontario, told CRN Wednesday. "The attendees are just thrilled that RIM is focusing on what the enterprise developer needs, versus the guy who is building games and social networking stuff, and things that are for public consumption."
Part of this unique learning curve stems from the fact that many enterprise app developers weren't necessarily hired to build solutions for mobile devices. They were likely hired, instead, to work on back-end server applications, he said.
But because of the proliferation of smartphones and tablets in the business world over the past few years, developing apps for mobile platforms has become a must-have skill, and RIM said it's helping developers make that transition through one-on-one and hands-on sessions at its BlackBerry World Tour.
"The hands-on sessions are great to show the developers and engineers how easy to is to set up the environment and get started," said Michael Brandt, chief strategy officer at ISEC7, a global software development firm based in Germany.