Developing for the iPhone v. developing for BlackBerry

Wed, Oct 28, 2009


Toktumi has an interesting article up discussing the disadvantage RIM is faced with as it attempts to position its app world to compete with Apple’s wildly successful iTunes app store.

“Having recently developed versions of our popular Line2 app for both the iPhone and Blackberry platforms, I can tell you one major reason for RIM’s difficulties: It is simply too difficult and too expensive to develop applications for the BlackBerry platform.

Developing for the iPhone platform was a piece of cake – one OS, one hardware platform, a powerful, well-documented API, and a simple submission process for the app store. Even more importantly, there was a wealth of engineering talent able and interested in writing programs for the iPhone. Of course getting an iPhone app approved is another story but with over 85,000 apps and over 2 billion downloads, the approval process has not been an impediment to establishing what may be the largest and most dynamic 3rd party app market in the computer age.

In sharp contrast, the BlackBerry was never intended to support an app marketplace for third party developers. As a result developing for the BlackBerry was a nightmare. There are dozens of different models, many with different screen sizes, features, hardware, etc. If your software works on one, it may not work on others – so you have to test every single phone, every time you make a change.

Even worse each phone might behave differently depending on which carrier network it is on, adding an extra dimension of complexity to the development challenges. For the Storm we had to write an entirely different version of the software to get it to work. And BlackBerry is introducing new models all the time, multiplying developers’ workload with each arrival. By the time you get your app out of QA and into production, a new model comes along that is not quite compatible with the others requiring further coding changes or even a whole new build.

Due to the complexities of the platform there are very few developers that have taken the time to learn how to code for the BlackBerry. When we posted for a new iPhone developer we received over a 100 resumes in just a few hours. Many of the applicants were formally-trained computer scientists who already had several iPhone apps under their belt. Our posting for BlackBerry talent yielded few resumes and even fewer qualified applicants. Simply put there’s a shortage of talented developers out there who are both interested and capable of writing code for Blackberry apps. This spells major trouble for the future of the BlackBerry.”

You can check out the full article over here.


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