RIM announces Java SDK to support new BlackBerry 6

Research In Motion (RIM) has announced a new Java SDK to support BlackBerry 6, a highly anticipated new operating system for BlackBerry smartphones. BlackBerry Java SDK v6.0 takes advantage of new UI features, offers deeper integration with BlackBerry smartphones, access to new and enhanced services and support for rendering and porting content to the new WebKit-based browser.

BlackBerry Java SDK v6.0 focuses on providing developers with powerful tools that enable them to create rich, visually appealing applications on the BlackBerry Application Platform and make it easier to integrate capabilities that have traditionally been difficult for developers. The BlackBerry developer community can now access more than 40 new APIs that allow them to build visually rich and deeply integrated applications that take advantage of the new features in BlackBerry 6.

“The opportunity for developers to create applications that tie to core applications and features of the BlackBerry Application Platform has never been greater,” said David Yach, CTO for software at RIM. “Our veteran developers, as well as those who are new to the BlackBerry platform, are going to be thrilled with the new APIs as well as the sleek and powerful user interface.”

The BlackBerry Java SDK v6.0 supports the fresh new look in the BlackBerry 6 user interface (UI) with new pre-built UI elements including contextual menus, tables, lists, inertial scrolling, activity progress indicators, pane managers, tool bars, title bars and sub menus.

The new browser in BlackBerry 6 leverages a WebKit rendering engine and developers will be able to build dynamic web sites and rich mobile applications as well as advanced widgets that can be seamlessly integrated with the browser and core native applications. BlackBerry Widgets and web applications designed for the BlackBerry Browser v 5.0 will be forward compatible to the new browser.

With the added support of HTML5 in the new BlackBerry 6 Browser, web developers will be able to create content for BlackBerry smartphones that is run through the web, including compelling games and interactive media with 3D graphics in real time and more.

Developers can use new APIs to more deeply integrate their applications with various aspects of a BlackBerry smartphone’s core functionality. The Unified Search Framework API will allow developers to register their application and their content partners to be searchable, as well as provide a mechanism for in-app search. The Mapfield API has been redesigned to provide enhanced features including panning, zooming, my location and convenience toolbars. Developers can call the Mapfield API to customise the look of location data and can use multiple mapfields simultaneously on the same screen for added user benefits.

The Location Service has been enhanced with a WiFi Geolocation API, allowing developers to build applications that leverage a handset’s location based on its proximity to WiFi networks. The API builds on the LBS features already available to developers through cell tower location and GPS. Reverse Geocoding now allows applications to leverage zip/postal codes to obtain local information. The Travel Time API brings estimated time of arrival (ETA) information into applications. The ETA is based on anonymous real time crowd sourced data combined with historical traffic information.

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