Research In Motion (RIM) is becoming proactive when it comes to letting developers create applications for its BlackBerry device. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, RIM has recognized the need to expand the capabilities of the BlackBerry device beyond the usual push e-mail, messaging and phone functions.
RIM is hoping that by adding APIs (application programming interfaces) to the BlackBerry Java Development Environment, it will encourage the development of third-party applications for the Berry. These new APIs will encourage developers to access additional functions on the smartphones, including audio, messaging and mapping, in order to build social networking, location-based, multimedia and other forms of applications.
Developers can now insert custom made audio and video content into applications and use the BlackBerry media player. The new APIs support a variety of audio file formats including MP3, WAV, Windows Media Audio and Advanced Audio Coding.
With new consumer-oriented BlackBerries being released this year featuring an in-built camera, a new camera API will give developers the opportunity to build applications that can access pictures taken with the camera as well as applications that can receive notification when photos are taken.
In another example, developers can create custom mapping and location applications by using new APIs that provide access to information from a local GPS device and BlackBerry Maps.
RIM is also working on releasing additional APIs, including support for 3D graphics, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and SMS (Short Message Service).
According to a statement from RIM, “The BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE) includes APIs that enable integration with BlackBerry phones and applications. Today, more than 125,000 developers have downloaded the BlackBerry JDE and around 500 software organizations participate in the BlackBerry ISV Alliance, a program that supports software developers.”