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RIM's Tyler Lessard: Inside the Playbook's Developer Strategy

RIM's Tyler Lessard: Inside the Playbook's Developer Strategy

mobileconnections_0Las Vegas - RIM's approach to applications for the new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet may look like a crazy hodgepodge, but the man heading up BlackBerry’s developer programs says there is method to RIM’s madness.

That's the word from Tyler Lessard at last week's Mobile Connections event here.

Connected Planet's Kevin Fitchard spoke with Lessard. You can read Kevin's full analysis here:

RIM: PlayBook app strategy may look schizophrenic, but there's a bigger plan at work

lessard_0Some of the highlights from Lessard:

On its multi-platform, multi-tool development strategy for the tablet, which initially enables native QNX, Android, Java, Adobe AIR and HTML5 apps to run on the tablet:

“We believe that’s the strategy that will give us the broadest array of developers possible,” Lessard said. And according to him that strategy is already working: “We have thousands of apps at launch because we’re supporting these different platforms.”

The multi-platform strength of QNX:

RIM picked each to solve a different aspect of its developer strategy. “QNX is an operating system that was always intended to support other operating systems,” Lessard said. “One of the great things about QNX that we got so excited about was how we could use it as a micro-kernel we could build the other OSes onto.”

playbook2_0The pros and cons of HTML5, according to Lessard:

HTML5 solves the issue of cross-platform development not just for Android but for the entire industry, Lessard said. By leveraging the common element of every smartphone, tablet and PC—the HTML browser—an enterprise with limited resources to devote to mobile can build an app once and distribute to all of their employees regardless of what tablets or smartphones they use. There just isn’t that kind of flexibility today, Lessard said.

Lessard also said he disagrees that an HTML5 app can’t be robust—developers can always take a combined approach, designing the app and its user interface in HTML5 while using native code to build its key functions. But he does acknowledge the platform has its limitations. “Different platforms have different trade-offs,” he said.

The Playbook app store play:

While RIM is greatly expanding the platform options available to developers, it’s taking the opposite approach with app distribution. BlackBerry Playbook customers have one choice, BlackBerry App World. RIM is taking a much stricter approach to how apps are disseminated and Lessard said he doesn’t anticipate that policy changing anytime soon.

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