BBX is a single, open platform made for phones, tablets and embedded devices, QNX founder Dan Dodge told attendees at RIM’s Developer Conference Tuesday. It is designed to combine the best of the old BlackBerry OS and its future smartphone platform, QNX.
The execs didn’t show off any BBX-based smartphones, but they talked up the software's Android-friendly features on the PlayBook including BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and HTML 5 support. The next version of the PlayBook will also feature a “Work” tab where CIOs can add company-specific apps. (See OS Watch: RIM Embraces Android at Arm's Length.)
The company's Jam developer community will make it easier to submit apps for BBX and make money from the platform, according to RIM's VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystems Development Alec Saunders. He used his time on stage to dispel "myths" about BlackBerry App World, such as that it is stagnant, difficult and unprofitable. RIM says BlackBerry App World is seeing more than 140 million downloads per month, and Saunders says it’s the second most profitable app store on the market (behind Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)).
Why this matters
RIM’s announcements are focused on Android developers and making it easier to port their apps over to BBX. Even if BlackBerry App World is more profitable, Android is capturing the most momentum and developer interest. (See RIM Supports Android & Apple in the Enterprise.)
The company’s strength has historically been in the enterprise, but it has lost ground to Apple, Android and others as IT departments have loosened their device policies. Now it’s following the wireless operators and other handset makers into enterprise apps, positioned as the next market for growth in mobile apps. (See Managing Enterprise Mobile Apps.)
RIM’s Developer Conference came right after the company experienced a global outage, something co-CEO Mike Lazaridis apologized for again on Tuesday. Read up on RIM's challenges:
- RIM Offers Free Apps After Outage
- RIM's Three-Day Service Disruption Spreads
- Euronews: BlackBerry Outage Hits Millions
- RIM Revved on Icahn Rumor
- Investor to RIM: Sell Something
- RIM's Q2 Profit Falls on Weak Shipments
- RIM Plans a Q3 PlayBook Revival
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile