How RIM Can Host BlackBerry DevCon 2012 Without Having Any News Whatsover


It’s not clear whether or not RIM will be hosting a 2012 DevCon this year in San Francisco, as they have done in previous years. The problem is that they’re screwed either way this year. There’s nothing they can really say about BlackBerry 10, as it’s announced and we’ve already seen the demos. There’s nothing to say on the PlayBook side, unless they announce the 4G version. But even at that, it’s nothing that developers would be particularly interested in. RIM could release some updates to the DevAlpha, but that’s hardly something you can wrap a conference around.

So what if they cancelled the event this year? Well first, the media would have a field day with “RIM Cancels Developer Conference With No Developers Attending”. The spin on the story would clearly be that RIM is canceling, not because of a lack of news, but because nobody is interested in the platform. So it seems RIM is doomed either way. But there’s one thing that could really make up for both: a huge hackathon.

devcon 2011

If there’s no news to report, what better way to prepare for the January launch of BlackBerry 10 than to have a huge hackathon with prizes. Get as many developers as possible, and have them hack across BlackBerry 10 DevAlpha, PlayBook and OS 5-7. In the end, this would solve two problems for RIM:

1) Perception of developers – If the media is looking to report that devs don’t care about BlackBerry, what better way to prove them wrong than to get out as many devs as possible and have them build products in advance of launch.

2) No news – So a reporter is looking for something to talk about with RIM? Sorry, this conference isn’t about RIM. It’s about the developers. If you’re looking for a story, we suggest you talk to one of the thousand or so devs in attendance that are building what could be the next big thing.

The biggest point here is that it has to be very different from any other hackathon RIM has done. The BBM Hackathon in NYC for example was a decent event but it was small and wasn’t organized properly. It was clear that whatever company was running the event, had never done a hackathon. There needs to be strict rules, guidelines, prizes and a support network to keep the party going.

Who knows, if the hackathon is a big enough success, you might see the next Instagram launch at a BB10 DevCon.

Oh, and if you want to draw crowds, you’re going to need an insanely sweet prize. Might I suggest a QNX Porshe complete with PlayBook and BB10 phone?

Porsche by QNX

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  • Jon Webb

    By that time there should be loads of new BB10 API’s for developers to get into. A developer conference in October/November should do just fine.

  • Peter Hansen

    A big “huh?!” from me.  Did you miss ?

    It answers the initial (implied) question rather clearly: no, there will not be a “DevCon” in San Francisco this year, for two reasons.  1. It will be called BlackBerry Jam Americas.  2. It will be in San Jose, not San Francisco.

    Or are you just speculating wildly that they’ll have some reason to cancel it? That’s just plain silly.

  • Kyle McInnes

    Seriously? You can’t center a conference around some APIs. That’s not going to convince people to spend $1000 on a ticket plus $2000 in airfare and accommodation. New APIs is a webinar. Not a conference.

  • Dmatthews

    Hey Kyle…
    Please stop using the word “then” when you should use “than”.

  • Ak Postbox

    They have already said that there won’t be a conference but a complete world tour. Who made u a reporter

  • Kyle McInnes

    You’re placing way too much value on a name and location. It doesn’t matter that it’s called Jam, it’s still DevCon. Also, the location change has no bearing whatsoever on this discussion.

    The fact remains that RIM is holding “BlackBerry Jam” and there’s no news. There’s not much reason for developers to travel all the way to San Jose to learn about things they could have learned about on a webinar.

    So I’m suggesting a hackathon at BlackBerry Jam. Apparently RIM agrees with me and they’re throwing one.

  • Kyle McInnes


  • Peter Hansen

    I think you missed my subtle point. You stated that “it’s not clear” whether RIM was holding a DevCon and my answer was, in effect, “there *is* a DevCon.. it’s just changed location and name”. That’s all… nothing more, and now you’ve agreed that “it’s still DevCon”, so I don’t know why you ever said it wasn’t clear in the first place.