Clarification: BlackBerry Storm2 and Curve 8530 Are the Only In-Market Devices to Take Advantage of New Open GL APIs

By Kevin Michaluk on 10 Nov 2009 06:17 pm EST

Open GL on BlackBerry Smartphones

Following up on yesterday's announcement of Open GL ES support for BlackBerry Smartphones, we followed up with RIM today at the BlackBerry Developer Conference to clarify exactly which devices would be able to take advantage of the 3D graphics standard via the newly-released Open GL APIs. The original press release made note that it would be available to BlackBerry Smartphones running the OS 5.0 platform and higher, which is not totally the case. Not all in-market OS 5.0 devices will be able to run these new apps which incorporate 3D graphics.

Currently, the only devices that will be able to take advantage of the Open GL APIs are those devices running OS 5.0, the latest Qualcomm chipsets that also meet the minimum memory requirements needed to run the standard smoothly, specifically the BlackBerry Storm2 and yet-to-be released BlackBerry Curve 8530. Other existing devices, including the original Storm, and the new Bold 9700 will not be able to run apps and games that make use of the 3D standard even though they have OS 5.0 (am guessing Storm1 doesn't have the memory to do it, while the Bold's processor doesn't play friendly with it just yet). The Tour hasn't had 5.0 officially rolled out to it yet, but hopefully when it does it'll make the Open GL cut. Looking ahead, hopefully more devices (including GSM BlackBerry Smartphones that are not running on Qualcomm chips) will be able to run BlackBerry games and apps that feature Open GL 3D graphics.

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Clarification: BlackBerry Storm2 and Curve 8530 Are the Only In-Market Devices to Take Advantage of New Open GL APIs


I thought the Storm2 was running the same qualcom chipset ast the original Storm???
Perhaps, if this isn't the case, it does indeed have the HSPA 850/1900 bands hidden inside somewhere????

Even more reason to drop the tour. What a shame. What a wasted device... ugh I guess with every good thing there must be a negative.

the tour will get OS 5.0 since it's already been leaked, it just has to be finalized. It has 128mb of on board memory which is double the storm so it makes the memory cut off, it will get Open GL

god, you might figure, just got the tour like a month ago. i upgraded from the 8330.. oh well, the tour still rules!

So the Storm 2 and Curbe 8530 have superior Qualcomm chipsets than the rest? I thought the 9000/9700 had the most powerful.

I'm a Storm 2 user but It's a shame they can't take advantage of Open GL across all platforms. Hopefully this will change.

As the article sais, it is not the processor, it is the lack of memory... Also, as I understand it the S1 ca still use OpenGL, just for the 3D specifications as it does not has enough memory, it can probably use the 2D stuff and I beliave the OS is already using it, that's the only explanation for the performance inprovement in 5.0 on the S1.

So the Storm 2 and Curve 8530 have superior Qualcomm chipsets than the rest? I thought the 9000/9700 had the most powerful.

I'm a Storm 2 user but It's a shame they can't take advantage of Open GL across all platforms. Hopefully this will change.

Might just be me, but opengl on entry level 85xx and non-support for 96xx+97xx top end series seems counter intuitive, stupid, and leads to massive app market segmentation...

Storm 1 owners were promised a great array of apps and games for their device. We have endured everything RIM has thrown at us and now we are still SOL and wont be able to have any good openGL games our phone? This is weak sauce! The games available to us look worse than the original Nintendo system. Retarded....

If it makes you feel any better, the non-released 9700 (in the US) is also getting left out too.


All the more reason to abandon this platform, and move to the Droid, or Jesus-phone.

Since all carriers are equally piss-poor in coverage here where I live, I certainly have no compelling reason to stay with Big Red.

I thought the internals were the same from storm 1 to storm 2, except for memory and wifi. Why can't the storm 1 make the cut? The iPod touch 1G and 2G has 128mb flash so why the h can't the storm do it.

Seriously, if they won't support open GL on the storm 1, I'm off BlackBerry. Screwing me once is enough, I'm not willing to wait around for a second round.

Unless the curve 2 and the storm 2 DO have a newer chipset, there is no reason why any of the 128mb or higher handsets, sporting the msm7600 shouldnt be able to run this things..

and well... the flagship lacking 3d chipset, is SO nokia :P

on the CDMA devices this seems like an arbitrary restriction, SO apple like.

How can the BlackBerry 9700 the Flagship model does not support openGL and the 8500 series does?

Is something wrong here? Or RIM thinks we are all retards.

I have high hopes ,but I am having second thoughts to upgrade to another BlackBerry.

I think people are jumping the gun here.... I highly doubt RIM is just going to forget about the Storm1, Tour and Bold users..... lets be realistic here that would be a shot to their own head.

Anyone ever consider that Storm2 is just the first release of this OpenGL API? If I was a handset maker that's how I would do it.

Relax ;)

Kind of scary that they mention the limitations to the newest qualcomm chipset and memory limits, which leaves out GSM basically entirely...

A huge screw up of miscommunication on their part. GSM support for it. I think I will have to think long and hard if i should cancel my 9700 that I have ordered and ditch BB once my contract is up. The world does not run on CDMA. What have they been drinking in Waterloo.

NOT impressed.

Yeah that's pretty f-ed up that only the 8530 and 9550 get this. I just jumped ship to the droid for now. I do miss bb but the amount of available apps and overall superior performance of this phone over the storm really made the decision for me. I'll probably be back to bb in a year or so, but they really need to up the ante.

According to this complete lack information announcement clarification, only the latest qualcomm chipsets are compatible. GSM doesn't use qualcomm....

this is disappointing, just got excited, and honestly, this is only going to be for a remotely small percentage of blackberry users. so basically all this HUGE news is for 10% of the blackberry community.... i'm totally in love with the service blackberry has, but honestly if they don't do something soon, i'm out... this open gl stuff looks fantastic, but now it just still seems like BIGGER band aids and from the podcast i'm not even too sure RIM acknowledges their weakness. i'm gonna say if blackberry doesn't just fold up and face the truth, and either get a new os or start releasing android phones, they're gonna be done, their push service is not only NOT enough to keep customers, it's not enough to get new ones. this new technology rim is dancing off as upcoming next year, is really 3 years old, if they're this far behind i'm not sure they can catch up, every word of this was hard to write.

We'll have to wait and see what RIM does. I can't imagine this news getting this much hype from RIM if they didn't plan to extend this technology across their entire line.

OS 5, the new JDE, forthcoming Flash integration.. a lot of this material from the BlackBerry Developer Conference looks be engaging in laying the foundation for RIM's near future direction and overall strategy.

The only thing missing thus far is the companion hardware in the pipeline. The devices being released this year look to be the result of R&D work completed prior to the developer push we're seeing today. For answers to the hardware question, I suspect we'll find out what 2010 brings and what the roadmap looks like then.

Not quite ready to write RIM off yet. We're seeing a lot of potential for the BlackBerry platform coming out of this conference; RIM appears to be genuinely (and considerably) invested addressing the weaknesses.

just wait because no one saw the storm one getting 5.0 first and before the storm 2 release at that so anything is possible and i think the marvel chips in gsm berries dont have open gl though which sucks for them really so yeah storm 1 is more likely to have it in some shape or form i think its already there in flick scrolling and transitions plus memory being the limiting factor is weak sauce storm has 192 mb of ram which is more than enough for open gl and app memory cant be the case because most games will take more than 200 mb and no berrie has that free after the os is installed so who knows lol

that was pretty much my point ...even best case scenario bold/bold2/storm/storm2/ even if they all have open gl support, these devices are so fundamentally crippled with 5 year old technology as far as app memory and access features go that it'd be useless for anything outside of the OS. you couldn't install any big games on these devices. this is why iphone users use so much more data than non iphone users, because they're downloading huge apps because the OS can handle it. i dunno, i got excited for a minute about this news, and i'm sure it IS big news in terms of OS but not community. at this point i really think RIM may be too far behind other companies, there are just devices coming out that are amazing and rim is just ...not up to par... i honestly don't think RIM is going to survive, microsoft will end up buying them and it'll die from there, nobody that doesn't have a blackberry already gives 2 craps about them, and i can't blame them. if you're not already aware of why blackberry is good you're just not going to be. rim isn't offering anything uniquely new, they're offering half assed attempts and what everybody else did 3 years ago. i mean lets be honest, the bb os isn't much better than a razr OS. the service and features offered are, but the OS is virtually the same. they've just prettied it up with nice screen resolutions and fast cpu's. eventually polishing a turd will make it fall apart. that day is not far. google is just getting started, they went after the iphone first, and with RIM's share falling daily, they'll be next. the only thing RIM has over it is push service, and don't think google won't be offering that too, they ABSOLUTELY will.

Ah.. The Tour hasn't had 5.0 officially rolled out to it yet, but hopefully when it does it'll make the Open GL cut.

Okay, I am praying to God for that.

when i bought the storm 1, i never expected it to have 3d graphics. Now when i buy the storm 2, i wont feel as bad since they are not the exact same thing.

its like buying a gameboy and getting mad because the next generation gameboy has much better graphics even though they look the same, jeez people...

It doesn't have better graphics. It has the same as storm 1. Jeez.

Apple didn't f over the 1G iPhone people - they still got app compatibility when the app store was released in conjunction with the 2nd gen iPhone. We are rightfully pissed off.

I think thye will have a lot of angry 9700 users (myself included) that the lowen BB's like the 8530 has support but not the brand new 9700. It's just bad PR.

9700 has 624MHz processor and 9630 has 528MHz processor, if bold 2 doesn't make cut, why would tour? This doesn't make sense.

9700 uses a Marvell processor whereas Tour uses Qualcomm. Qualcomm is able to handle openGL, not Marvell. Sucks.

I absolutely love my 8900. Only other thing it could use is 3g and honestly thats not a big deal to me as I;ve never owned a 3g BlackBerry and edge is not bad at all to me. I was also jumping for joy earlier when i read those posts but this one just ruined my day. I really hope some explaining is done by RIM and soon. The Tour, 8900, and 9700 are all phones that seem as if they should be capable for this feature. RIM is really on thin ice with me. I really like their products, but with other companies releasing awesome phones (ie. HD2, Dragon, N900, X10), it makes me wonder how long us blackberry users will have to wait until we truly see higher end specs in our phones. We still don't have 5 megapixel cameras, front facing cameras for video calling, high resolution video recording and many other features that other phones have. Since i will obviously have to purchase another phone to have this Open GL feature, RIM has time summer time next year so I can see this new browser and produce a truly lut-worthy blackberry. If not then I'm done

THe Storm1 is based on the MSM 7600 chipset and is more than capable of at pushing open GL ES!! In fact its the same damn thing powering the Storm 2! If this is true RIM, just lost another customer:( To think a few minutes ago I was jumping for joy about the announcements yesterday!!!

There seems to be a lot of angry people when RIM still hasn't been clear on who will or will not end up with OpenGL support. Will the 9700 get it, ever? The Tour, 8900 or S1? Is it because of the OS, or the hardware that it's not supported right now? This stuff kills me, it took forever to have an official word on OS5 support for the 83xx series. Couldn't they release some kind of map about planned support for various devices with OpenGL?
I don't want to jump into the anger zone with the rest of you because I don't know for sure who wil be left in the dust with this. I think I better start stuffing money away for a new device to buy though, just in case.

I was also pretty excited with the news, but this is bad...I really like my curve 8900 and would like to see it supporting openGL as well...let's wait for more RIM clarifications...

For promising Storm 1 owners a great phone, only to have it delivered a year late and out of date. I bought into your great phone with high hopes only to be let down. Granted the phone is now pretty nice (a year later with updates) but now this? This was my first BB, and it will be my last. Thanks for the fun. And thanks Kevin for a great site!! going to miss the fun here.

Wow, this kind of undercuts the 9700 and by extension T-Mo and ATT. I've been waiting for a 9700 but it may be outdated before it is released at this point. Maybe jump to the storm?

I am getting out of Blackberry as I am tired of being the test subject for the crap I have had to endure from the Pearl to my Storm 1. I get the Strom 1 thinking this is the latest and best BB around only to endure random shutdowns, screen that doesn't click unless I use cardboard or by a tork driver to adjust screws, apps that are choppy, themes that while I have bought over 15 of them, every single one of them has had quirks that made running them impossible for any length of time, applications like Slider that locked up the phone instead of locking it and it has been updated so many times, I lost count and removed it. Then, Verizon releases the 5.0 O/S which made the phone bearable after 6 months of agony and now we are told that openGL isn't happening with this phone mainly because it has no memory. Wow, RIM why don't you just come over and pee on my leg. If you think I am going to lay out a few hundred bucks to get the "next" BB be it the Storm2 or whatever, you are wrong.
I have an iTouch, while not a phone, it is everything but the phone and using WiFi, I can get so many more apps. It holds tons of them and they all run smoothly. If AT&T had decent cell coverage here, I'd have the iPhone.
I love the mail and the push method BB offers but as far as their O/S or interface goes, the phone is crap. Outdated before it comes out of the box.

Somebody needs to send a link to these posts to Chris Smith, or his higher up. RIM needs to account for every single thing listed here.

P.S. I really didn't like the buddy buddy style interview they had with Chris. They only asked a few serious questions (none about camera upgrades video chat, etc. or downloading apps straight to the memory card with no app data limit bull shit) and when they did they treated chris like a five yr old careful not to offend or ask too much. Get some balls guys...and girls for that matter

After getting jerked around like this with a phone that only after a year got an os that is even barely passable as decent (and i mean barely), i was happy to see i was getting at least openGL. Oh wait, im not. RIM your constant lack of attention to many owners including those of Storm1 and the Tour is reason enough for me to NEVER purchase one of your phones again. You have continuously disregarded many. If any person asks me what i think, they will get an honest opinion. "expect the device to be a PoS until a year later, then expect the day after to never get any kind of support or love. Go for a Droid, at least they dont suck and treat you like a 2$ whore."

Good job again RIM in loosing a customer and anyone he knows.

Was the bold type about the Tour there to try make us Tour owners try and forget that are getting the fucking shaft with this phone?

....and see what 2010 actually reveals for RIM devices. I'm patient and like others, I'll keep my money in my pocket- for now.

Wow I can't believe I'm reading all this wining. It's not like people bought into the phone thinking it will ever support OpenGL. OpenGL is a hardware/software solution.

For those that said their leaving because OpenGL won't support your phone, should have bought an iPhone since it has had OpenGL support.

But that said most users are not buying phones for games, just buy a PSP if you want a portable game system.

you are WRONG.

people are angry cause it SEEMS like devices which SHOULD have hardware support, are going to be left out, for marketing reasons.

(basically all the CDMA devices with the same chipset as te storms)

my guess is that the bold line, even if it has a sronger CPU, are using a chipset that, either has NO GPU/open gl es support, or they have to program a different API for the hardware they use.

It's sad to see RIM and Verizon giving Storm 1 owners no sympathy over the phone that failed due to the major flaws in the OS (4.7.x) and hardware design. Although those leaked OSs were unofficial and *could* void warranty, we helped beta test the crap out of those OSs and reported the bugs in the forums. Why not offer the beta testers a discounted upgrade? The majority of your consumer base probably came from Storm 1 adoption. Sure you gave us 5.0, but seriously 5.0 should've been out last November. A year of battery pulls and constant upgrades to leaked OSs to make the phone slightly better each time was time consuming. No sympathy = Storm1 owners leaving for something better.

Personally, I plan on jumping on the Droid bandwagon. At least the Droid got it right on release date...

its doesnt say thing on the site it says all os 5.0 will be given open gl support it doesnt say just 8530 and the storm 2 lol hold this with a grain of salt ppl because they also said os 5.0 was coming out a few weeks after the storm 2 launch and well we all know they were wrong well they have been wrong on a lot of things and this could be one of them also because there really no facts backing up this statement. at least none i could find i mean if this is true can u give me a link or interview clip something because if ti is lol droid here i come

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but pretty much none of RIMs GSM phones will ever support OpenGL ES. At least the Bolds for sure won't, their chipsets have no hardware support for processing OpenGL instructions. A software implementation is possible, but it would be so slow that no games would be playable.

OpenGL on the few handsets that support it is just a novelty for the time being, just be happy that we're getting flash support finally.

It sounds like the change in chipset that gives the S2 the ability to do Wifi also includes the OpenGL stuff. That would be the only reason I can think of why the S1 and other BBs might not get it (no matter how much memory they have). The new Curve 8530 would have a similar processor since it also has wifi.

I take back what i said earlier about getting on track, FUCK YOU.

Other platforms can manage OpenGL on 128MB of memory but no BB can? Not only that but you just left idk, probably 30 million customers out in the dark, i can see phones like the the 83XX 81XX 88XX getting left out but when the 9000, 9700 8900 and 9530 just get the cold shoulder? These phones were planned what a year before release, you couldnt get a good chipset on these damn devices?

Get serious RIM you guys are pissing me off with this slapshod BS

The Tour and Storm 1 has the same GPU the Storm 2 and curve 2 have but yet they dont get any Open GL support. Shoot the Tour has the same amount of memory the Storm 2 have so why they dont get any support at all. Good thing I jump to the Droid instead of the inferior Storm 2. If the Storm 2 came out with an Omap 3430 or a snapdragon chip that i would've gotten it. Since it uses an outdated qualcom chip that i knew this phone would be seriously outdated by the end of this year especially when we are starting to have Cortex A8 processor(Omap 3430, snapdragon) out right now.