Research In Motion made some interesting announcements yesterday.
First of all they announced that they’ve FINALLY launched a private beta for native development tools for the PlayBook. With the device announced more than a year ago and physical devices in the hands of users since May, you’d think a native SDK would have been made available a long time ago, but you’d be wrong.
Here’s the announcement: http://devblog.blackberry.com/2011/08/native-sdk-for-blackberry-tablet-os-closed-beta/
Google and Apple typically make their SDK’s available at device announcement or at least at device release, but Research In Motion has always been slower to market with their development tools. Now, in their defense, they had development tools for PlayBook available at device launch, both WebWorks and Adobe Air development options were available. So not having a native SDK wasn’t a big deal, but any game developer or someone building device drivers would suffer until now. It’s a closed beta, so that means public beta and final release are months away.
My only hope is that they can get this figured out before the new QNX-based devices become available supposedly next year.
The second announcement was from Mike Kirkup, Research In Motion’s long standing director of their Global Developer Relations team. Mike Announced on http://mikekirkup.com that he was resigning from his position at Research In Motion after 10 years with the company. This isn’t good news and it will be interesting to see who replaces him or what happens with the position. Mike’s team worked with all Research In Motion development partners, helping them bring commercial software products to market. I’m assuming they’ll continue with their work, but I wonder if Mike leaving is related to some fundamental change to how they will support developers and that’s why he’s leaving.
On (or about, I can’t remember) July 25th, Research In Motion made a huge reduction in it’s workforce. The biggest impact I’m aware of was to the US Carrier business units. When I worked at Research In Motion, I was part of the team supporting AT&T. With the reduction in force (RIF), RIM whacked from the AT&T business unit the entire Regional Technical Manager (RTM) team except for one person and as I understand it, cut the Regional Sales Team (RSM) in half. So, what was once a team of between 16 to 20 people is now a team of 5 people. Ouch.
What’s next I wonder?