The long-delayed BlackBerry 10 platform is set to get even more social in an attempt to lure the Asian market.
TA McCann, Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) vice president of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) Social Community, said that social factors were at the core of the BlackBerry 10 platform.
“The BlackBerry community is one of the most engaged communities,” he said during a BlackBerry Jam Asia event in Bangkok on Thursday. “All of us communicate a lot and BlackBerry 10 will make it even easier.”
BlackBerry 10 will bring more social integration with BlackBerry Hub and more connection to apps, as well as enhancing its current BBM features.
All messages, notifications from social apps, feeds and calendar events will link to BlackBerry Hub. It will also integrate contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Users can access the Hub at any time.
According to McCann, there are currently around 60 million BBM users worldwide and BBM users are highly social. RIM, he added, saw Asia as the largest and fastest growing market with Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia leading the way in terms of having the largest contact lists.
“BBM is not only about apps, but about communicating,” he added, saying that BBM would also have a new feature called “BBM voice” that would enable users to make free voice calls to BBM friends over a Wi-Fi network.
Hastings Singh, RIM managing director for South Asia, dismissed any doubts about whether BBM voice might not work in some Asian countries with weak Wi-Fi infrastructure.
“The point being is that it is a global product,” he said.
Alec Saunders, RIM vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development, said that bringing in more connected apps was important.
The company, he said, has learned that connected apps are 15 times more likely to be downloaded.
Saunders pledged that they were giving developers the best opportunities for success with BlackBerry 10, and added that developers would make more money with BlackBerry 10 than any other platform.
BlackBerry offers a 10K Developer Commitment to ensure plenty of apps are ready when they officially launch the long-delayed BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30 next year. BlackBerry promises developers a profit of at least US$10,000 for each app in its first year — or the company will write them a check if they fail.
According to Saunders, developer satisfaction had increased over the past six months. He said 65 percent of developers were satisfied–an increase from 7 percent in May — and 57 percent would recommend others to develop apps for the platform — an increase from 12 percent.
RIM said there were already 100,000 apps ready for the new platform.
A 28-year-old Indonesian app developer, Vincentius Putra, from a team that won the BlackBerry Jam Hack 2012 said that developing apps using the new BlackBerry 10 platform was now easier.
“We have lots of platforms. All this time, BlackBerry was always behind those platforms. BlackBerry is not known for apps — only BBM and push mail,” he added.
His team — Inspira — from Jakarta competed against nine other teams from other countries in a 40-hour app developing contest. Inspira won over the judges and the crowd with their Soccer Ticker app on Thursday.
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