updated 09:15 am EDT, Mon May 4, 2009
BBerry Push for 3rd Party
RIM this morning said it had launched a new push API (application programming interface) for third-party BlackBerry apps using Java. Previously only available through the enterprise server, the feature will let software get real-time alerts for news, games and other information without having to keep the program active. It can use either the cellular network or Wi-Fi and lets apps jump directly to the newest information when they open.
The cellphone maker already has examples of in-development apps that will use features that haven't previously been possible. UK online music store 7digital will have a unique mobile store that lets users buy low-bitrate music of any size on 3G or a similar cell network but immediately replace those with full-quality MP3 copies the moment the device is on Wi-Fi. Handmark, SalesNOW and The Hockey News also plan apps that provide real-time news, sales info and sports scores respectively.
RIM says the push API is available immediately but only to its Alliance Program members.
The existence of the push API steps up pressure on Apple, which until now has been one of the few companies to promise its own push system through background push notification. Apple's system is meant primarily to overcome the absence of true multitasking in OS X iPhone, however, and is largely limited to alerts rather than transferring content or active tasks within the app itself. The copmany has argued that true multitasking drains system resources and battery life too sharply to be acceptable on a smartphone.