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App-ortunity for local developers

Carlos Atwell

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Local software developers now have an opportunity to create applications (apps) for one of the largest mobile providers in the world.
Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the BlackBerry line of mobile devices, is partnering with LIME to host a “hackathon” in LIME’s Wildey, St Michael offices.
A hackathon, which is also known as a “hack day”, “hackfest” or “codefest”, brings software developers together to collaborate intensively on software-related projects.
This one is an effort to create apps for RIM’s tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook.
This . . . “is a training session where we are going over the basics of creating apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook using a program called WebWorks”, said RIM’s business development officer Valerie Powell.
The official hackathon took place last week. Participants were locked in a room and allowed to design either business-to-business or business-to-customer apps.
Powell said the creators of any app judged to be suitable for RIM would retain the rights to that app which could then generate revenue for them.
She said such apps would also appear on the new line of BlackBerry products, dubbed BB10, which would be using the QNX Operating System that currently powers the PlayBook.
In addition, Powell said there was an academic programme component where they would provide tertiary education institutions with the tools to host their own hackathons.
“We want to see more local apps which would not only be relevant to the citizens here but also on the global level,” she said.
Oliver Merk of the New Toronto Group, which is an “elite alliance partner” of RIM’s, conducted the training. He said there were a lot of bright young minds who were all excited about technology and had ideas about what they wanted to build.
“It is difficult to learn [a programme] this quickly, then build [an app] – but they’re all sticking with it,” he said.
One participant, Barbados Community College business studies student Leshawn Pinder, said she had been interested in technology for a long time and hoped to one day start creating her own apps.
Web designer Samora Reid said he wanted to be able “to port” websites to the mobile and tablet market and he was learning a lot.
“It’s going pretty good so far. Right now it’s fast-paced so I’m just seeing what’s happening,” he said.