Today, I quit my job. Nothing really out of the ordinary about that - people do it every day, but first let me take a step back and give you a little history. I've worked at my current job for over 8 years now and make a comfortable living. For the past 4 years in my spare time I developed apps for BlackBerry. You may know some of my apps such as Wallpaper Changer, Leave It On or SixTools, just to name a few.
What has become increasingly challenging for me is to find time to focus on development the way I want to. Four years ago I was a single guy and it was easy. I could come home after work and program for a few hours before going to bed. Since then a lot of things have changed. I now have a family and there are simply not enough hours in a day to balance everything the way I would like.
So today I am leaving my job and the stability it has provided me over the past 8 years to develop for BlackBerry 10 full time. Yes, I'm going all in on BlackBerry 10.
It is a risk, some might even call it crazy, but let me explain the reasons behind it. Truth be told, currently my BlackBerry app sales are low - right now they will not cover my monthly expenses. As BlackBerry usage in North America has dropped off over the past year, BlackBerry developers have felt the corresponding decrease in App World on the sale of paid apps. I've actually talked to some developer friends that do full time BlackBerry development and many have been considering looking for another job. I have a little savings that I hope I don't have to dip into too much while we wait for BlackBerry 10 to be released. But that is now and next year everything will change.
It's a new Research In Motion, a new BlackBerry, and I have witnessed the transformation first hand through my development experiences. I've been to multiple events over the past year or so (BlackBerry World, DevCon, BBJam). I have even been to Waterloo and I can safely say that RIM is committed to its developers and the future of their platform.
As a small example, just yesterday, I emailed a friend at RIM with a beta version of an app I am porting to BB10. He is a fan of the app on the current generation of BlackBerry phones. But he found a bug in the app that I was unable to duplicate. Within an hour he had a member of their developer relations team email me and offer suggestions on how to fix this bug. He even assisted me in answering questions I had for other apps I am working on.
BlackBerry has our back as developers and it is a great feeling. I also have this little device called a Dev Alpha A. I didn't pay too much attention to it when I first received it at BlackBerry Jam Americas in May, but with the last OS update I began writing apps for it. The more I use it and the more I develop for it, the more impressed I am with it. BlackBerry 10 is going to be a game changer. RIM believes it and now I believe it. There is also RIM's 10k Developer Commitment, which I've heard some devs complain about because it only applies to 1 application per developer, but WHEN BB10 takes off 10k will be something that many devs will just see in their rear view. BlackBerry users love apps and they are hungry for more apps.
For some of those that do not know me may be thinking I'm looking at RIM through rose-colored glasses, but if you look through some of my previous blog and forum posts here on CrackBerry you'll see I have been critical of RIM. I'm never afraid to speak my mind, but I will say it loud and I will say it proud - I believe in BB10, I've quit my job because that is how strongly I believe it. Do you believe?
On January 30th, 2013, everything changes.
If you'd like to say up to date on my development adventures you can follow me on Twitter @Shao128.
If you want to help put food on the table for the next couple months feel free to check out my apps here.