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What To Expect from BlackBerry OS 6 – WebOS and Java Hybrid?

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Blackberry Storm 2 widgets

When I was in Scandinavia meeting with Opera, along with the lucky BBCool reader who won the trip, I got to talking with them about RIM’s acquisition of Torch Mobile. The guys at Opera are really smart and gave me some insight into what a browser really is. A browser is really a combination of 50-80 mini apps, that all serve various functions such as understanding the HTML/CSS. WebKit is a core technology within the browser. There are other core technologies that can be used to build a Browser: Presto, Gecko, Trident etc.

The acquisition of Torch Mobile meant that RIM now controls a few of the developers who are contributors to WebKit’s source code. The Webkit platform, while Open Source, doesn’t allow just anyone to manipulate the base code. There is a relatively small group of contributors from Apple, Nokia, Google, various Universities, and now RIM.
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RIM announce OpenGL support and a host of rich content features

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The BlackBerry Developer Conference has kicked off with a great start as RIM have announced a host of great features for developers that are going to help them make richer and more attractive content.

The first major announcement is the addition of OpenGL ES support that will help developers make 3D games and graphics. The high performance rendering engine is available on the Storm2, and it makes games like EA’s Need for Speed Shift, look really impressive.

Another announcement is a GUI builder, integrated into the BlackBerry Java Plug-in for Eclipse. The builder will make it faster and easier for Java developers to build user interfaces for BlackBerry applications.

The next big announcement is the BlackBerry Theme Studio 5 that replaces the previously available Plazmic Content Developer’s Kit. The studio allows developers to make themes with the ability to import Adobe Photoshop files to BlackBerry Theme Builder, add ringtones and build screen transitions such as zooming, sliding, wiping and fading within themes. Ringtones and screen transitions are supported for BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry OS 5.0 and higher.

So stay tuned because we’re about to see some very compelling applications for BlackBerry that have rich 3D graphics and more integration with the device.

RIM announces End of Life for BlackBerry MDS Runtime and Studio

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bb_mds_arch_large

BlackBerry MDS (Mobile Data System) is a development framework for BlackBerry that allows developers to use Visual Studio as a platform and use what RIM calls a RAD (rapid application development) method. The RAD development method involves a drag and drop interface where you can then create the code behind your forms to do the work.

This news comes after RIM announced new plug-ins for Eclipse and Visual Studio. It seems that RIM is focusing on the Java and web development platforms so platforms such as MDS are all getting canceled.

As of December 31st,2009, both BlackBerry MDS Runtime and Studio will no longer be available. Runtime and Studio will lose support as of June 30th, 2010.

[Thanks for the tip J.M.]

UPDATE: Official notice from RIM.