When a company sets out to create a platform, they are essentially making gentleman’s agreement with developers at large that they will try to make their lives as simple as possible to create exciting and useful applications for their platform. In return, these apps will drive business toward that company’s flagship product.
For Research in Motion, perhaps at one point in their lifecycle, this was the case. But it is clear that at this point, this is NOT the point. Therefore, I’d like to encourage EVERY developer (that can afford it… you do what you gotta do, you know?) to avoid designing anything for this problem. The single most compelling reason to develop for Blackberry is to land a ludicrously large contract developing a specific application for a large company. That is it. The platform itself is dated, lacks any real polish underneath that title screen, and lacks any form of real tech support.
The launch of App World (Blackberry’s answer to the iPhone’s App Store) is underpopulated, and filled with uninspired apps.
The reason? Simple. Blackberry offers you technicaly support… at the gaudy price of $75/hr. Unless, of course, you go through your carrier… which doesn’t even make sense if you just want to know some specification for the hardware.
That’s right, if you want to know… oh… let’s say the dot pitch of the display, or the refresh rate of the screen… you (or your mobile carrier) will have to pay $75/hr to get anyone of value on the line. And even if you do get there, you’ll be told that the first hour is a flat rate 75, even if you don’t talk for that period of time. And they’ll also provide tech support that include searching their own blackberry forums for the solution.
In short, Blackberry developer support is a farce. If you can avoid it, don’t develop because you’ll likely cost your company more money than it’s worth, and you’ll have to deal with their bullshit.
As much as I don’t like Apple’s policies, I see the iPhone as the current most likely competitor to knock Blackberry off their high horse. And boy do they have it coming.