Chris Umiastowski spent more than a decade working as a technology analyst on Bay Street. He now works as an independent analyst and strategy consultant. He is blogging from BlackBerry World for The Globe and Mail.
I spent the last few hours walking around the solutions showcase area of BlackBerry World. This place is a goldmine of information if you're looking to speak to educated developers.
Let me make one thing clear before I get into the points of this post. Most of the developers here are working in multiple platforms. They are not exclusive to BlackBerry in any way. Pretty much everyone here is doing Android and iOS development too.
Here are a few thoughts that I feel are worth sharing:
1) There has been some concern among investors that developers won't want to support BlackBerry 7 since the new QNX-based devices are coming in 2012. When I posed this question to several developers the answers were very consistent. Yes, they consider this transition to be a headache. But they can't simply stop doing work on existing operating systems or they'll lose momentum with their customers. It's akin to a farmer not growing crops this year because better seeds are going to be available next year. Developers need to support the devices that are in market now and those devices that will be in market in the future. They have no choice if they want to be in this business. That ends the debate for me.
2) Several more developers confirmed that they are getting next to zero requests for the Windows Phone platform. This confirms, in my mind, that the mobile computing OS market is a three-horse race, not four or five, or whatever. The three are Google, Apple and RIM. Everyone else can go home.
3) In my post yesterday, I criticized Mike Lazaridis for spending too much time talking about HDMI output on Playbook as a unique feature. I need to (sort of) eat my words today. He was talking about HDMI in the context of a business person delivering a PowerPoint presentation directly from the Playbook. When I heard this I thought to myself, "So what? I have Keynote for iPad and it can do the same thing".
That's true, but I completely neglected to consider that the majority of the business market uses Microsoft PowerPoint, not Apple Keynote. There is no PowerPoint app for the iPad. Until there is, the absolute gold standard for portable PowerPoint will be the Playbook. That's a pretty important selling factor in business.
The author owns shares in RIM, Apple and Google.