New England BlackBerry Developer Meetup Group - First Meetup Notes

Last night I have attended local New England BlackBerry developer meetup group. It was a great event with nice turnout of about 50 developers with special guest - Mike Kirkup - director of developer relations at RIM.

Mike is a great speaker and a great guy in general. BlackBerry developers are truly blessed with Mike in that sense. So much has been done to ease up on the [intlink id="75" type="post"] hurdles of BlackBerry development[/intlink] recently that it is becoming cool to be BlackBerry developer once again.

The meetup was hosted by a local software development company - SoftArtisans. They develop SharePoint solutions for BlackBerry.

Mike was give the stage and he went over the BlackBerry super app concept which was similar to the [intlink id="136" type="post"]BlackBerry super app concept webcast[/intlink] he gave recently but a little different of course with some stuff oriented more towards developers.

The highlight was of course the free panel Q&A session which was afterwards. Mike, as usual, did a very nice job answering the questions of the many developers who brought up interesting questions.

Upcoming Products

"No iPad, no BlackPad, BluePad, RedPad etc..."

Upcoming Events

The painful question of over the air (OTA) OS upgrade was raised and Mike said that carriers feel  fairly confident with pushing OTA OS update starting with OS 4.6 since 4.5 being the first OS where OTA OS was introduced had some issues and bugs. He mentioned that from carrier's experience OTA updates have a very high conversion rate. In the 80%-s while even the through browser+USB update is less than 20% conversion rate. Until most of the devices are 4.6 and up and carriers are more aggressive pushing updates to the devices, we will be stuck with the need to support older devices as old as 4.2.1. Which leads us to further interesting figures:

as of October 2009 the OS distribution is as follows:
4.2.1 97%
4.5 50-60%   - over the air update
4.6 30%
4.7 15%
5.0 5-6%
meaning supporting 4.2.1 will get you almost all the devices, while jumping to 4.5 and up will only give you about 50-60% and by going further up to 4.6, you will loose up to 30% of devices (this is due to huge number of older Curves and Pearls).
I will be wrapping up since this post is already quite long. Leave your thought in the comments!


You can read additional notes summary at Chris Wong's blog

You can download the Super Apps slides by Mike Kirkup which were presented at the meetup.