Mobile Innovation Week 2010
Hack-A-Thon lets Torontonians develop mobile apps for social good
TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ – Mayor David Miller and the City of Toronto proclaim September 13-18, 2010MOBILEINNOVATIONWEEK recognizing the 2nd annual event for the global mobile industry in Toronto. Kicking off the week-long conference is MIW 2010 Hack-A-Thon where local Toronto mobile developers will leverage the City of Toronto’s OpenTO.org Open Data Framework to conceive and create mobile web and apps for social benefit and community services.
“Toronto’s talented mobile developer community is passionate about improving this city,” said Michele Perras, director of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC), co-producer of MOBILEINNOVATIONWEEK, and host for the MIW 2010 Hack-A-Thon.
MIW 2010 Hack-A-Thon will feature two days of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities in addition to “dreaming and building” working sessions. Mobile and web app concepts will be judged by the community and revealed later during the Mobile ThinkTank Series event.
“I’m proud of the City of Toronto’s commitment to the long-term growth of strategic industry sectors like the mobile industry,” said Michael Williams, general manager, Economic Development and Culture, City of Toronto. “Events like Hack-A-Thon and MOBILEINNOVATIONWEEK not only nurture our mobile talent but also help position Toronto as leader, globally. The City is excited about this opportunity to leverage our open data resources as developed through the efforts of our CIO Dave Wallace.”
“Hack-A-Thon will not only showcase our creativity and technical expertise but will result in real solutions that benefit the more than 5-million people that call the GTA home,” adds Jason Silva, founder JBBMobile and curator of the MIW 2010 Hack-A-Thon.
“From September 13-18 Toronto will be the centre of the mobile universe,” said Michael J. O’Farrell of The Mobile Institute, founder and co-producer of MOBILEINNOVATIONWEEK. “MIW 2010 Hack-A-Thon is the kick-off event to show what we can do for the greater good once we set our minds – and our world class mobile developer communities to it.”
RIM PlayBook developers ready to go
BlackBerry developers migrate apps to tablet platform
By Paul Krill | InfoWorld | Published 09:00, 07 October 10
Although the full application development story is still being ironed out for Research in Motion’s newly announced PlayBook tablet, developers are anxious to get their hands on one and start building anyway. They also will continue to build for BlackBerry while waiting for more details about developing for the PlayBook, developers say. “I’d love to have it,” says Mehdi Rachdi, a developer at mobile marketing firm Adenyo.
Multiple development environments available
So far, RIM has made it clear developers can use the company’s WebWorks platform for development, which leverages their web development skills. Web developers can also use Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to run their applications and Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime), both of which are banned on the competing Apple iPad and iPhone.
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Developers also can build native applications for PlayBook using C and C++, a path that game developers are likely to take, says Mike Kirkup, RIM’s director of developer relations.
PlayBook’s support of AIR bolsters its application arsenal, says Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst. “That promises to be one of the fastest ways to get a big portfolio of apps to the PlayBook in the short term,” with 5,000 to 10,000 AIR applications available, he says, because “in theory, these are really easy to port once Adobe AIR is available on the PlayBook.”
RIM is mum on support plan for Java ME apps
But questions remain about how developers can bring over Java-based BlackBerry 6 applications and RIM’s precise Java plans. “We’re still working out how we’re going to enable the community to do that,” says RIM’s Kirkup. But some sort of path-to-app portability or easy migration is the goal, he says: “We want to help developers leverage the investments [in existing applications].”
RIM’s approach to splitting the tablet platform from the BlackBerry platform is opposite the “one OS, multiple devices” approach used by Apple for the iPad and iPhone (both use the iOS) and the approach used by Google for Android devices.
The proprietary BlackBerry 6 application stack leverages Java Micro Edition (Java ME) as a base language. But Kirkup would not reveal RIM’s Java ME application plans for the PlayBook. PlayBook will use the Posix-compliant BlackBerry Tablet OS, built on the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture that RIM acquired earlier this year.
Despite the uncertainties about the PlayBook’s application development environment, developers can’t wait to get started. “It’s a very interesting gadget because we are [building] enterprise applications. We have several applications that need a bigger screen,” says John Bibal, a senior software engineer at Novare.
The company will continue building for BlackBerry while waiting for PlayBook development tools, Bibal says. At this point, Novare is leaning toward using WebWorks for PlayBook but is also looking to port existing Java applications from BlackBerry to PlayBook. “We just have to wait for the SDK,” he notes.
Jason Silva, a developer at mobile business application firm JBB Mobile, is also interested in the PlayBook but plans to keep building for BlackBerry, even if the PlayBook is a separate platform. “I look at them as two separate devices,” he says.
Silva is attracted to the PlayBook’s larger screen as well as to its graphic capabilities, both of which should prove useful in field service applications, he notes. Silva also likes PlayBook’s use of the QNX technology. “The QNX operating system is obviously something that a lot of developers are excited about because it’s a real time OS, which means it’s going to be really, really quick,” he says.