updated 05:30 pm EDT, Mon September 27, 2010
RIM adds WebWorks and BBM platform
RIM's DevCon news wrapped up with word of a new web app development platform for the BlackBerry. WebWorks will let developers create apps using HTML5 and other web code but will still give them access to the BlackBerry's signature push services, geolocation, phone data, the new ad service and other functions. By its nature, it should be open-source and will let developers share their content without needing RIM's blessing.
The Canadian smartphone maker is also expanding BlackBerry Messenger beyond its pure instant messaging roots and is launching the BBM Social Platform. It allows chats and contacts to persist in other apps, such as games and Kobo's eReader. BBM can change status specific to an app and can work with the app itself, such as inviting a player or sending files.
WebWorks is available today, but the BBM platform won't be ready until spring 2011.
The expansion may be a significant help for RIM, whose native app platform has relatively little traction among developers and has had little to differentiate itself. BlackBerry development has been relatively difficult, but WebWorks bypasses this process almost entirely. BBM has been one of RIM's selling points but has been isolated to its own client until now.