It’s interesting to note that while these conferences are selling out and creating scarcity, companies like Oracle is opening its conference to well over 40,000 attendees.
This is an interesting year for Developer Conferences. Everyone is fast converting to smartphones, all the major manufacturers are expanding their portfolio of form factors to new screen types and sizes (eg tablets), and there’s some convergence going on where you can not only build once and deploy on multiple platforms, but RIM has even announced support for Android apps on the QNX OS. The industry is moving at a fast pace and there’s no shortage of people interested in the respective Developer Conferences. So how do they compare?
Apple WWDC (June 6th-10th)
Considering Apple’s device sales and the hype surrounding iOS apps, it’s a little surprising that Apple would limit its developer conference to 5,000 registrations. This year, Apple sold out its WWDC in less than 24 hours, with tickets costs at $1,599 each. If you’re not one of the lucky few to grab a ticket, you can always get one on eBay for something like $3,500USD. The conference runs for a full 5 days, which is longer than any other platform’s, and the cost is less than RIM’s but far more than Google’s. Overall $1,599 seems a little high as it’s probably the amount that your average app developer makes in a given month. It’s hard to spend that much cash on a conference when it’s rare you get any business out of them and it’s mostly about meeting friends in the industry.
Google I/O 2011 (May 10th – 11th)
Google’s I/O sold out in about 1 hour but they had also announced the event a week before and it was only an hour after registration opened that it was sold out. Nonetheless, that’s very impressive and shows there’s a lot of developers looking to be there. Some other facts to note are that it’s about $1000USD cheaper than WWDC with 1000 fewer spots. Pricing for Google’s I/O went like this:
Early Bird Price (until 4/16/11) $450
List Price (starting 4/17/11) $550
Academia (student, faculty) $150
BootCamp +$100 (all registration types)
The Google I/O event is much shorter than WWDC, but the ticket price is also much cheaper. This is probably more ideal for a lot of companies. Because the event is so short, it forces you to squeeze more productivity into a shorter time, and you spend less cash. Google did the right thing with their dates and pricing, and other conferences should take note.
BlackBerry Developer Conference (October 18th – 20th)
RIM is still in a planning stage for their Developer Conference and it should be interesting. With the PlayBook now supporting Android apps, as well as the plethora of ways that you can make apps for BlackBerry, there is a huge list of potential developers who can attend the conference. While RIM is currently courting developers and trying to attract more high quality apps to the platform, you have to wonder why they wouldn’t just offer it for free. Considering the vast majority of RIM’s money comes from device sales, at the very least, RIM should be saying that DevCon 2011 is free for everyone with an app in App World.
UPDATE: Removed the pricing for BlackBerry World as it’s obviously not the price for DEVCON 2011. The cost for DEVCON 2011 isn’t posted yet so we’ll update when it’s up. The point remains that RIM should just offer the conference for free as they’re clearly looking for developers to come on board.
Will you be attending any of these developer conferences?