Tuesday during BlackBerry World 2012 in Orlando, Florida, RIM unveiled the next version of its mobile OS, BlackBerry 10. The company also released the initial developer toolkit -- currently free and in beta -- for native and HTML5 software development which can be downloaded here.
RIM's new toolkit includes the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades, which allows developers to create "graphically rich, high performance" native applications in C/C++ using Qt. The Native SDK gives developers access to core device features and BlackBerry application services like Push and Payment. Cascades seemingly makes it easy for developers to build apps without the need to write complex, low-level graphics code.
"Applications created with any of the BlackBerry 10 tools will run on BlackBerry 10 smartphones as well as BlackBerry PlayBook tablets when the new platform becomes available for the PlayBook," RIM said on Tuesday. "All of the SDKs will be updated to give developers access to more of the BlackBerry 10 unique capabilities over the coming months."
In a separate news release, RIM said that developers and top brands are already starting to commit to the new BlackBerry platform including game developer (and cloner) Gameloft, Endomondo, Poynt, Truphone and many, many others.
"The official launch of BlackBerry 10 comes with great anticipation from Gameloft," said Ludovic Blondel, Vice President of OEM at Gameloft. "We are very excited to be able to provide BlackBerry 10 users with high-quality gaming experiences for every type of player. We already have a total of 11 titles including our popular physics-based puzzle game Shark Dash and more hard-core games such as N.O.V.A. 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance being optimized for the platform."
RIM also said that it's encouraging university students in China to develop more apps and services on the new BlackBerry platform.
"RIM and QNX are working with a number of universities in China to launch an app development competition at the end of May, providing further incentive for student software developers in the country to turn their creative ideas into apps and services that can be commercialized on BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets."
RIM and QNX will provide BlackBerry devices, software development tools, technical support and other resources to the students. RIM has also been working with universities in China to provide training courses for developing apps on the BlackBerry platform. The winning apps will be made available on BlackBerry App World.