RIM introduces BlackBerry Academic Program

SAN FRANCISCO--Research In Motion announced the launch of its BlackBerry Academic Program here at the BlackBerry Developer Conference 2009 event. The program promises colleges and universities worldwide a curriculum and course content spotlighting mobile application development for BlackBerry smartphones (spanning features and functionality, user interface design, multimedia application development, mobile web application development and Java application development), administration of BlackBerry Enterprise Server and support for BlackBerry smartphones.

The BlackBerry Academic Program provides an outline of the content for each course, learning materials including student textbooks and instructor copy, student lab manuals, instructor guides and an academic product suite covering hardware and software. Course content can be offered over the length of a semester, or as individual modules for instructors to integrate into their existing information technology curriculum. RIM adds that the curriculum was developed in collaboration with academic professionals and has been in pilot for over a year--so far, more than 500 students have already taken courses based on the BlackBerry Academic Program, with several universities in the U.S. and Canada now incorporating course content into their lesson plans.

Research In Motion's director of developer relations Mike Kirkup said Monday that the global BlackBerry development community continues to grow rapidly--there are now more than 200,000 registered BlackBerry developers worldwide, and together they've downloaded more than 1.6 million developer tools. Kirkup said the BlackBerry Academic Program furthers RIM's efforts to deliver programs and tools optimized for fledgling developers, with an emphasis on efforts tailored for specific geographic regions, adding the number of BlackBerry coders in the Asia-Pacific region has grown almost 200 percent in the last year alone.