In an email sent to the BlackBerry Developer Community by Ian McDonald, Manager of the Developer Programs at RIM, it was announced that RIM will be creating a new program aimed at establishing a global network of Developer Groups. This program is going to be officially announced at the BlackBerry Developer Day at Mobile World Congress App Planet.
Members of the BlackBerry Developer Groups will get the opportunity to network, share info, receive regular platform and program updates from RIM, and have access to exclusive discounts for developer certification exams and select BlackBerry developer events and conferences. Part of the membership to the Developer Groups also includes monthly update conference calls with RIM and eligibility for rewards via the Developer Recognition Program.
Along with these groups is a giant RIM NDA that members will have to adhere to, which I personally think will impede the group’s ability to feel like they can discuss all things relevant to the community. For example, will the NDA mean they can’t discuss upcoming OS features? Well that’s important to developers.
Also, I hope RIM doesn’t plan on competing with any pre-established BlackBerry developer groups. If a group already exists, RIM should simply offer to help those groups develop, rather than start something new.