An inside look at BlackBerry 10 Jam London

BlackBerry 10 is a game changer. Are you ready?
By DJ Reyes on 17 Jun 2012 04:47 pm EDT

June 14th 2012, London. I had the pleasure of attending the London stop of the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour. It did take me an overnight journey of about 9 hours to get there but it was worth it. The BlackBerry 10 Jam event was held in Vinopolis in South London. I arrived at the venue around 8:45am and there was already a queue to get in for badge pick-up, which began at 8:30am. With my badge picked up I was directed upstairs for some tea, or in my case coffee, lots of it. Finally met up with James, who was very lucky to get some hands-on time with BlackBerry 10, before it was time to mingle with other developers. You could definitely feel there was a positive feel in the air, even before the keynote started. Developers were chatting away with each other, talking about their apps, catching up with folks they haven't seen for a while, it was nice soaking up the love for BlackBerry. 

BlackBerry 10 London queue Queue into BlackBerry 10 Jam London

Soon enough we were being ushered into the main hall where the keynote would take place and there was still a queue of people outside waiting to get their badges. Slowly, the keynote started filling up. Shortly after the scheduled time of 9:30am, BlackBerry 10 Jam kicked off. A video tape played on the big screen, it was Alec Saunders, Vice President of Developer Relations turned rockstar for the day, performing a parody ofTom Petty's classic The Waiting. The lyrics said it all. "The waiting is the hardest part". Waiting for BlackBerry 10 to drop is certainly going to be the hardest part, especially with all the sneak previews we've been getting. There was huge applause once the video finished, a lot of love there for Alec Saunders from the 500 strong developers in attendance. Yes that's right, there was 500+ plus in attendance at the sold out London event, it was certainly jam packed in the room.

BlackBerry 10 Jam London keynote Keynote starting to fill up

It was time for the keynote. If you've watched the keynote from BlackBerry World in Orlando, this keynote didn't veer off much from that. A few stats here and there stated, mostly U.K numbers, as well as them proudly confirming that BlackBerry was the number one smartphone in the U.K. for two years in a row (2010, 2011). Then came the demo from Vivek Bardwaj. He gave a demo pretty similar to the one he gave at BlackBerry World back in May, in Orlando, showcasing the BlackBerry 10 Experience. The flow (which was spoke of a lot) that included the ability of being able to peek back to your notifications from wherever you are, how seemless it is to switch between running applications, the keyboard and of course the short camera video demo was shown. Judging by the reaction of the crowd when that was played, it definitely went down well.

BlackBerry 10 Jam London - Vivek demo Vivek's BlackBerry 10 Experience demo

Flow, Connect, Extend

After the keynote there was a short break and then back into the main hall and it focused on giving a overview of the BlackBerry 10 Architecture. Flow, Connect and Extend were pretty much the key things they wanted us to remember.  

  • Flow - seemless transitions between applications
  • Connect - things like you BBM connected apps, connecting to social media apps
  • Extend - this was pretty much something for the future and looking at how they wanted to move forward in sharing pictures, files, information between devices as well as displaying things on a bigger screen.

It was all things that I certainly am looking forward to becoming reality. There was also demos given on by folks from Marmalade and members of RIM's own development team. They showed us a few of the tools already available to developers to help build and create apps for BlackBerry 10. Of course, the demo-demons had other plans when it came to live demos and it was shame not to see the WebWorks demo of the bbUI.js framework used to give apps that look and feel of a native app.

Lunch was next and it was time to mingle some more with developers. With so many to meet it was hard to find time. However, I did manage to catch up a few a couple of guys from Rareloop (actually during the short break between the Web track sessions). I am actually going to leave a bigger post for these guys as they have come from developing on the Android platform but now feel that the BlackBerry Platform has much more to offer. So, I'll that for another post.

BlackBerry 10 Jam London - Web Track Session Web track session about to begin

After lunch was the time to get more technical where the day broke out into the sessions which you had to pre-register for. The Native track sessions and the Web track sessions. I had signed up for the Web track sessions as this is the area I am looking to develop in so I can't say anything about how the Native sessions went. Though I won't bore you much on the Web session either as most of it was technical. I also don't want to spoil it for those who are going to be attending the other BlackBerry 10 Jam cities. What I will say of the Web track session, carried out be Rana Puri, is that it was very engaging and informational. It certainly inspired many to get right down to developing almost straight away. I say this with a lot of heart. For one because if you follow the #BB10Jam hashtag, a lot of developers are cracking away. And two, because I took along a 14 year old boy, with no knowledge on HTML/CSS or coding whatever so ever and one who never showed much desire in making apps. He came away after the sessions with so much passion and excitement that he wanted to start creating apps and knew what he wanted to make straight away. He even managed to snag himself a Dev Alpha after pitching his brief idea to some of the guys. That is certainly something that has added to making the whole event very much worthwhile. 

BlackBerry 10 Jam London - Web Track Session short break Short break between Web track sessions

With the sessions now over it was time to pick up my Dev Alpha. With 500+ developers (perhaps not that number as you had to be qualified to get one) there was always going to be a long queue. However, they made it easier by offering alcohol to those at the back of the queue and telling them to come back when the queues died down. Soon enough everyone got their Dev Alpha and it was smiles all around.

BlackBerry 10 Jam London - Queue for picking up Dev Alpha Queue going in to pick up the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha
BlackBerry 10 Jam London - Queue for picking up Dev Alpha Second have of the queue going in to pick up the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha

It certainly is an event I encourage developers to attend. A chance to meet other like-minded developers as well as get the tools and information you need to get you started. Of course, it's hard to cram things into 3 or so hours and there's still going to be lots of other things needed but it's a damn good start. One thing I will say though is that I did think that we would have had the chance to build apps on the day. Maybe it was a time issue or possibly the fact that with a sold out event and that many in attendance, it wasn't really possible. But it would have been good if we could have.

Some city locations for the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour are still open for registration, with Asia Pacific recently opening. However, Jakarta and Bangalore are now sold out, as is Montreal. Russia and Poland are still open for registration. And we're still waiting on the confirmation dates for Latin America cities, Cape Town and Dubai.

Register for one of the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour cities 

Reader comments

An inside look at BlackBerry 10 Jam London


It was a great day in the big smoke.

The native track was excellent too and I had a good chinwag with a couple of the bods from Marmalade, which was great - especially as they are offering 40 free licences in a BlackBerry Jam 'sweepstake' for those that attended the native track.

The guys on the back desk were very accommodating and answered a number of questions about the platform that I had in mind for my apps.

Also good news is that there should be a new Cascades beta in a few weeks time.

I went along with a Windows developer and he came away really excited and told me "They (RIM) really know what they're doing to get this right".

Some twit / blogger posted that offering 5 SDKs would be confusing and makes the platform more confusing as opposed to what RIM is saying.

There was some good food and some great chats interspersed through it.

I was also fortunate to bump into Jon, the creator of 'Files and Folders'. We had a brief chat about upcoming features in his app which got me excited as well as the PlayBook offers in the past and what's coming now. A top guy.

Well done RIM - this roadshow is really striking a chord with developers and I hope that it won't be the last.

As a side note, I hoped that there would be some 'hands-on' Jamming, too. Maybe next time ;)

Toronto this Thursday! I've been an on-and-off developer while being a student, which I stop being at the end of the summer, so I hope to kick my development into high gear starting Thursday.

BlackBerry Jam was excited about bb10...:-)

...fear me, I've killed hundreds of time lords!

Fear me, I've killed all of them!

Hey Bernie....who pissed in your cornflakes this morning? I'm pretty sure most people on this site realize the BB10 photos and BB Jam sessions don't mean much until a BB10 device is released..however stop raining on our parade.

I have 2 PlayBooks, including a 16 GB model that I paid full price for a year ago. I'm glad there is finally native email on the PlayBook but don't use it very much as I LOVE the bridge functionality.

ps. They took forever to get native email out.. get over it and move on... I have.

I have too, but it made the BB brand look awful. Lots of people sitting on the fence between BB and iphone/Android have ran for the hills.

Thats why Im keeping emotion out of this (im still a big BB fan) but no BB7 for me since everyone with laugh at me for buying such phone, and BB10 is a maybe, depending on the 'execution', a big weakness of rim in the past 3y.

I hate my S2 but stick with it, with a wait and see attitude.

My 9900 is the best BlackBerry I have used and probably the best phone I have used/tried. The 9900/PlayBook combo is deadly.

ps. My opinion is that RIM put out the PlayBook early to target BlackBerry device owners as an "add on" accessory. It was a short sighted resolution to a bigger problem but one could argue that waiting for a more fully baked OS would have only hurt them more.

Oh well, such tour won't take place in Nigeria. Afterall, it's not Europe or south africa. Hm....
Anyway, its all good.

Am thinking of attenting BlackBerry 10 Jam Cape Town by road from Uganda, (that's about 4 days' of travel!), but am on the fence here if its actually worth it, about 600$ spent on travel for a one day conference then do I qualify for a Dev Alpha Device seeing as am just an individual who wants to start developing for BlackBerry!

I was at a few ATT stores her in the US this weekend and they all told me that there will not be any release of BB10 in the US. Has anyone else heard this?

I wouldn't put too much stock into what you hear at the AT&T store. Most of them don't know their a$$ from a hole in the ground. Although, when you consider AT&T takes FOREVER to release anything RIM related (new devices, software updates, etc.), their statement doesn't surprise me. BB10 will release on ever other carrier in October and AT&T won't get around to releasing it until February. SMH

A very good article about excitement at BB JAM Sessions.

After attending the BB Jam, and having looked at the new device, I think RIM did a good job in developing playbook and new BB-10. All they are missing are the applications for new platforms. But they are coming. I talked to CEO of Rapidsoft Systems ( a major developer of mobile applications on various platforms. He told me that new Blackberry 10 looks like a winner with good features and now will be porting all their popular apps such as Rapid Protect ( to new BB platforms. He was very happy with cascading GUI design in BB 10. They just got a sample device from BB. That is a good sign that key developers are moving to BB, but have no plan to develop any apps for Microsoft platforms. RIM if they make a good looking hardware, and launch it quickly - may indeed have a winner in the hand.

Benjamin Kooper
The Tech Master