It's been rumored for some time now, but Research In Motion finally made the formal announcement this week. RIM announced an end of life of December 31, 2009 for BlackBerry MDS Runtime, BlackBerry MDS Studio and several versions of the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio. See the announcement here: http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/rapidappdev/eolnotice.jsp
It's really too bad. MDS Runtime applications were VERY easy to build and gave organizations an easy way to build Web Services clients for BlackBerry. When I worked for RIM, I worked with many customers who were running their businesses on MDS Runtime applications - every one of them will need to be rewritten in Java, the Browser or as a hybrid application using BlackBerry Widgets. there's noi hurry for organizations that are using older devices, but for newer devcies, the MDS Runtime environment won't be available. Companies will have to decide which is more important - new devices or the ability to run MDS Runtime applications.
As promised last week, I'll soon write an article that shows how to build a BlackBerry Java application that talks to a Web Service - I have a feeling that many of you will need this information very soon.