Members of the RJR Innovations Team attended the BlackBerry DevCon Americas Conference in San Francisco from October 18 to October 20.

Research In Motion (RIM) kicked off DevCon Americas 2011 with some very powerful messages on October 18th. Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO for RIM, took the stage and started by addressing the recent outages that were experienced with RIM before announcing the upcoming $100 of premium apps to be made available to all BlackBerry customers on BlackBerry App World free of charge. The opening remarks focused on some strong growth statistics that were positioned to highlight some of the success enjoyed by the BlackBerry platform during the past year. BlackBerry subscribers have grown from 50 million active users in 2010 to more than 70 million in 2011 which represents a 40% increase in 1 year. This was also accompanied by a jump in sales of BlackBerry devices from 115 million in 2010 to 165 million in 2011. Another key area that drew quite a bit of attention throughout the presentation was the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) platform. BBM has grown from 28 million users in 2010 to 50 million in 2011. That represents a jump of 80% in one year alone. A critical piece in the success of the BlackBerry platform is the ability for BB user to find and download applications. BlackBerry App World is now available in 130 Countries, accepting 26 currencies while also supporting carrier billing. App World has now reached more than 1 billion downloads with this number growing by 5 million downloads every day. Needless to say these numbers are impressive and certainly seem to paint a positive message for RIM as they move forward.

One of the truly exciting announcements made during the first General Session at DevCon was BBX. BBX is the future of the BlackBerry platform. It will offer a single open standards based platform for smart phones, tablets and other embedded devices.  BBX represents a merge of the newly acquired QNX platform with the current BlackBerry OS. The new BBX platform will come with a fully POSIX-certified kernel that was able to achieve very high rating for reliability during the certification process. The PlayBook is also the first tablet to become certified for use by the U.S. government thanks to a FIPS 140-2 certification. The new BBX has a huge focus on open standards. Applications can now be developed using the BlackBerry Native platform with more than 100 standard open source system libraries. Developers can also leverage the power and flexibility of HTLM 5 when developing application for Blackberry. The BBX platform contains a powerful HTML 5 capable browser that is able to make web applications behave like native embedded applications. HTML 5 will be the bridge for BB6, BB7, PlayBook and BBX that will allow developers to develop code once and run it anywhere.

RIM continues to have a strong focus on Enterprise. With the new release of the BBX Platform, the PlayBook will finally be able to connect directly to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). BBX will also include BlackBerry Balance which will allow organizations to deploy a “work” container to house all of the Corporate sponsored applications within a separate partition. The partition is created by the BES to ensure that all of corporate data is properly protected by enforcing the required security policies in order to isolate the partition in the playbook. The focus on Enterprise is also extended into BlackBerry App World. App World will now include a separate container for all Corporate Applications deployed by the BES or downloaded from App World itself. Any application pushed by the BES will be also controlled by the security polices to ensure the end user cannot remove mandatory applications.

The BBX platform seems to address several concerns that currently plague the multiple versions of the current BlackBerry operating systems.  The focus on open standards and interoperability will offer developers a flexible framework to build applications that can truly harness the power of the tablet.

For additional information on the BlackBerry DevCon sessions please visit: