Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) introduced its new BlackBerry Tablet OS software development kit, enabling the creation of Adobe AIR-based applications for the forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet device. According to RIM, the PlayBook integrates both AIR 2.5 and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 at its core, combining with the tablet's 1 GHz dual-core processor, true symmetric multiprocessing and multi-threaded rendering to promise developers a platform for delivering rich content and applications bolstered by responsive and seamless touchscreen experiences. The new SDK (available for download here) includes support for hardware-accelerated video playback and graphics-intensive content, both in the browser and within AIR applications; Web View, enabling AIR apps to display HTML and Flash content and to leverage the PlayBook's WebKit browser; APIs to access features like front and rear facing cameras, accelerometer, geo-location and in-app payments; and application notifications, bringing app-related events immediately to the user's attention even if the software is running in the background.
RIM adds that PlayBook extends Adobe AIR applications to use native C++ extensions, enabling developers to write parts of an app in the BlackBerry Tablet OS's native code. Devs also may port existing AIR apps to the tablet. RIM adds that its BlackBerry App World storefront will begin accepting PlayBook app submissions later this year.
Research In Motion unveiled the PlayBook tablet in September, promising a seven-inch LCD touchscreen, dual HD cameras and WiFi/Bluetooth 2.1 support, with 3G and 4G models forthcoming. The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built upon the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture and boasts full POSIX compliance, offering developers easy portability of C-based code alongside support for Open GL for 2D and 3D graphics-intensive applications (e.g., gaming). RIM notes the Tablet OS also supports Java, enabling developers to translate existing BlackBerry 6 apps to the PlayBook format. RIM later confirmed the BlackBerry Tablet OS eventually will replace its current BlackBerry smartphone operating system across all devices the company produces, although the transition is likely to take several years.
For more on the PlayBook SDK:
- read this release
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