With the release of the new Blackberry phones and BB OS 10, there has been plenty of news, reviews and speculation. The hardware specs, software improvements and Blackberry’s viability as a business have been covered in plenty of detail.
As a developer, I’ve found it especially interesting to see the specific attention paid to the Blackberry web browser’s HTML5 compatibility and rendering speed. I think most developers are going to welcome any new competition in the mobile browser market as a good thing for feature and performance innovation.
I’m not likely to rush out to pick up a new Blackberry device based on their browser performance marketing alone, but I will admit that they have my attention. For a mobile device brand that many have written off, Blackberry’s effort to get out ahead of the pack with a fast standards-compliant browser seems like a step in the right direction.
Beyond the browser, I’m also pleased to see the effort that the Blackberry team has put into supporting mobile and front-end developers with many of the familiar tools that we use for Android and iOS development today. Blackberry’s GitHub and the documentation for the Blackberry HTML5 WebWorks platform demonstrate the possibilities for developing HTML5-based applications for the Blackberry using open source tools like Appcelerator and Cordova.
This is great to see, because it means near zero investment is necessary for curious developers to try their hand at creating applications for the Blackberry. I would have laughed at the suggestion a few months ago, but looking around the documentation and some of the code in the GitHub, I’m feeling a willingness to give it a try myself. I can’t imagine that I’m the only developer with that sentiment, which probably bodes well for Blackberry.