BlackBerry Development & WebRTC – An Extensive VUC Videocast Featuring Alec Saunders et al.

VUC.BlackBerry.WebRTC.logoJoin Alec Saunders, vice President of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development at BlackBerry for a discussion with BlackBerry VoIP app development expert Gurtej Sandhu and Chief Architect of Hookflash, Robin Raymond about supporting theWebRTC platform and the opportunity for developers in voice and communications in mobile.

This was the promotional content for yesterday’s weekly VoIP Users Conference videocast that turned out to be one of the most comprehensive discussions of the BlackBerry Developer Program, WebRTC and the role it has the potential to play, not only for BlackBerry but also for its overall disruptive potential. Here’s the YouTube video that came out of the Google Hangout:

It’s a one hour and 17 minute panel discussion.To parse it down into topics:

After providing a brief update on iotum, his previous startup venture, Alec spends about 17 minutes discussing BlackBerry 10 and its development story. Once again Alec dispels myths about BlackBerry 10 and goes on to explain the evolution of the BlackBerry Developer program over the past 18 months.

  • Four months after launch BlackBerry World now has over 120,000 applications, a record for a new platform offering
  • The developer community targeting BlackBerry has grown from 30,000 to 70,000 with a doubling of developer intent to develop for BlackBerry growing from 47% to 88%. And goes on to discuss the results of other developer surveys, including how BlackBerry has grown to be the number 3 developer ecosystem of choice.
  • He dispels the myth that, while it addresses the business community, that is not the entire target user base. For instance, BlackBerry 10 also is a great entertainment and gaming platform. In today’s world, business users need a single smartphone platform capable of dealing with both secure, managed enterprise activities while allowing the user to have access to applications of the user’s choice.
  • How the portathons of last January came about to provide the lift to 70,000 applications available at the January 30 launch.
  • Where you go as a developer to get information on the developer program, its five open platforms for development and the activities undertaken to make available re-usable code to minimize the learning curve.
  • The power of BlackBerry’s Share framework and its ease of implementation.

The next 13 minutes: Questions re what challenges does BlackBerry face in addressing apps that are services dependent, such as Google apps, and other cloud services, such as Dropbox and, that can be accessed as HTML5 applications. James Body asks about VoIP on OS10 with responses from Alec and  Gurtej covering the wide range of what BlackBerry has done to support audio activities. Finally a query about how to access BlackBerry’s developers for assistance.

Just past 30 minutes Robin goes into discussing the Hookflash open peer-to-peer protocol and its use of the WebRTC engine. Their recent activity has involved bringing WebRTC to mobile devices. Robin lauds BlackBerry for both the documentation and the support he was given in completing this project. He then gives a demonstration of a sample application using beta code with the goal to have production code by the fall.

In the course of his presentation he discusses the benefits of open peer and provides an excellent articulation of what WebRTC is all about and the opportunities it provides to developers. Then he goes on to discuss the excellent echo cancellation incorporated into BlackBerry’s VoIP features and the ability to deliver high bandwidth audio. In response to a query he defines what impact WebRTC will have on IP-based communications. Security implications also come into the discussion. Alec Saunders goes on to explain how WebRTC has the potential to be one more tool in BlackBerry’s use of new web tools, such as HTML5, to deliver new customer experiences.

At 53 minutes the discussion goes into the sphere of BlackBerry’s audio quality, including its ability to support stereo audio streams and beam-directed audio.

At 57 minutes the discussion goes into more general questions about BlackBerry, including BlackBerry 10 on a PlayBook, and miscellaneous questions about developer support and BlackBerry’s unique user experience paradigm.

Bottom line: VUC brought together a unique combination of “panelists” who provide an excellent over of BlackBerry as a developer platform and WebRTC as an evolving web developer tools. And it’s interspersed with other useful information about BlackBerry’s performance and the maturing of IP-based communications.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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