DevCon has wrapped up from last week and we’re just catching up now. The show was definitely interesting from a developer point of view, but one can’t help but compare it to the last DevCon when the PlayBook was announced. The problem is that there is inconsistency, and when you use a conference to launch a consumer product, it sets the tone for the next. Here are some things we would have loved to see this year, if it was more of a consumer-centric show.
1. Android App Player – Sure, we did see developers start to put their apps on the PlayBook, but it wasn’t available to all attendees. It was great to see developers standing at the booths and within minutes having their app on the PlayBook. If RIM really wanted to wow the attendees, they could have said “all your 2.0 PlayBooks come preloaded with the top downloaded Android games.”
UPDATE: Worth noting that some of the most recent titles such as Gameloft’s Star Loft seem to be Android ports that are working splendidly. Even in Gameloft’s own social network, Star Front registers as an Android title and they don’t differentiate with the PlayBook.
2. Native PIM Features – All attendees were given PlayBooks with version 2.0 of the OS but there was no sign of native PIM features. The PlayBooks were therefore very underwhelming and felt a lot like version 1.0.
3. BBX Smartphone – We heard rumors at the show that a highly secret developer version of the BBX phone is shipping to the first dev, possibly within a month, but there was nothing said about it at the show. It would have made sense to follow the PlayBook announcement with a BBX Smartphone, even if it was just behind glass.
4. BlackBerry Cloud Services – We know RIM has been investing in cloud services a lot lately and it’s clearly an integral part of the BBX experience, but what exactly are these cloud services? Will RIM be providing a cloud-based file service? It’s not clear and we’d like to have heard a little more about it.
5. QNX Cars – So QNX is still working on the automotive side of things and since they’re a RIM company, one would have to assume that apps and services that run for BBX, could run in a car too. There’s a big world of opportunity here with the automotive integration, and it would have been cool to hear how RIM is opening opportunities for developers to get involved in the automotive industry.
A lot of what we heard at DevCon was great from a developer perspective, but it doesn’t bode well for media attending the event when you can’t get your hands on much. Aside from a few beautiful PlayBook games, it’s hard to feel one way or another about the announcements when you don’t have product you can touch. Again, we know it’s a developer conference but the tone was set last year with the PlayBook announcement and it’s hard to go back from that.