The BlackBerry PlayBook is due to arrive in Q1 of 2011 and a lot of developers are plugging away at the SDK and thinking about what apps they’re going to build. At the BlackBerry Developer Group meeting here in Ottawa, Canada last night, we got a demonstration of the SDK by Anthony Rizk, founder of Zeebu Mobile and author of Beginning BlackBerry. The SDK looks incredibly simple and if your application is very graphics heavy (as is the case with BabyGO!), then porting your app to the PlayBook looks like a breeze. According to Anthony, writing the BabyGO! app for BlackBerry took about 2 weeks of development time, compared to about 4 hours for the PlayBook. Also, this 4 hours includes learning how to use the Flash tools which he had never used before.
But will BabyGO! be the type of app that users will be looking for when the PlayBook launches? Consider this: the PlayBook is launching after Christmas when most consumers who are interested in a tablet will have already purchased one. Those who are going to pick up a tablet will most likely be in enterprise, since it’s BES ready and a lot of employees who were normally locked out of the tablet market due to IT policies, will be able to bring their PlayBook on the network and start playing. A lot of these devices will still be locked down and in some organizations they may not be able to use any apps at all. There will also be a huge segment of users who don’t care about the iPad and are waiting for a PlayBook because they know their gadgets and they’re confident they’re buying a superior product.
Given the above demographics, here are some apps that might sell well.
Stock market watch apps
Communication and Networking apps (eg LinkedIn)
Social networking apps
Device monitoring tools
Media apps (eg Shazam, iHeartRadio, Slacker etc)
Email and device feature improvement apps (Gwabbit, Copy2Contact etc)
It may take some time for the average consumer to adopt the PlayBook given its launch date but if the initial reviews are positive, we could see a lot of tablet users jumping ship. At that point, anything goes.