It's not that difficult to see that Blackberry is having problems attracting developers to its platform, with only around 2,000 apps in its inventory since the App World opened back in April. Apparently, a 56% share of the US smartphone market just isn't enough incentive to entice, given all the potential development nightmares that RIM's varied range of devices creates.
The company sat back through most of it. With the iPhone well ahead and Google making serious strides in attracting new developers, though, RIM is finally seeing fit to make their move. According to the company, they are now enacting numerous changes to their platform that should attract a greater number of developers to come on board.
Speaking at RIM's second developer's conference, co-CEO Jim Balsillie announced a number of developments that they hope will steer developers into investing resources their way. While none of the things mentioned are groundbreaking, they should put the platform on par with what both the iPhone and Android have to offer.
To ease the job for developers, the company is promising more native APIs, better access to app data and deeper integration. In-app transactions will also be made available, along with a new Blackberry Payment System, which can be used as an alternative to the App World's Paypal-based payments. They're also going to look to undercut third parties by enabling in-app advertising via their own Blackberry Advertising Service. Other things that can change the tide come next year include Flash 10 (which all smartphones, except the iPhone, will also get), a richer browser and OpenGL ES support to encourage games on future Blackberry phones.
The overall plan sounds just about what they should have been doing all along, although the last one did surprise me. 3D games on the Blackberry? Really?