Apple’s done a fantastic job attracting pro and amateur developers to the iOS ecosystem. There’s also no shortage of Android developers, though it’s still proving a challenge to get people to pay for Android apps at the same rate as iOS users. So what’s RIM doing leading up to the release of the long-awaited Playbook release? Apparently making it very difficult for developers to jump onboard the QNX bandwagon.
While Apple and Google makes it so easy and cheap to get started with development, RIM’s process is proving frustrating for at least some iOS and Android developers. Not only is RIM charging $199, which is double Apple’s developer registration fees, but it currently requires developers to send in a notarized form and a copy of their picture ID to prove their identity. There are also a lot of technical hoops to jump through before you even write a single line of code.
As iOS and Android developer Jamie Murai points out in an open letter to RIM’s developer relations, this is not the way to win developers when RIM is running behind. He wrote:
You win. I concede defeat. I no longer want to attempt developing an app for the Playbook. Are you happy now? Surely you must be. Considering how terribly designed the entire process is, from the registration right through to loading an app into the simulator, I can only assume that you are trying to drive developers away by inconveniencing them as much as humanly possible…
So, my dear RIM, primary supporter of my local economy, I bid you adieu. You have succeeded in your quest of driving away a perfectly willing developer from your platform. On a more serious note, being the underdog, you need to make your process AT LEAST as simple as Apple’s or Google’s, if not more so. You need to make your tools AT LEAST as good as Apple’s or Google’s, if not more so. You have failed at both.
RIM’s Tyler Lessard wrote a response and said that many of his concerns are already under consideration. I hope RIM makes good on some of the promises made in his blog post. Apps are perhaps the most important of any tablet platform. If RIM wants to QNX to compete with iOS and Android tablet devices, it’s going to have to do a lot more to make developers feel welcome.