Observations of an iOS developer
I'm a engineering lead and iOS developer for a major social network. On top of my day job, I develop iOS applications in my spare-time.
For a short-time I was actually a RIM employee, via a Irish company that RIM acquired. Being a RIM employee at the time didn't seem like a very desirable proposition, however, it did help me develop a sweet spot for BlackBerry and its devices.
Management at my current company is not totally behind developing a BB10 native application, so I decided on a whim, to take some timeout and develop the application myself, with company support.
Z10 vs iPhone 5
I've been carrying the Z10 for about two weeks now, and these are my initial reactions:
- Build quality is nice, phone seems robust and less scratch prone as the iPhone 5.
- For me, phone is a little large (us European's tend to like smaller phones), especially a little wide. I think Apple got the size of the iPhone 5 just right.
- I've had no issues with battery life, its not been a concern for me.
- Love the red notification light.
- Mini-USB port is really nice, but I think its location on the side is poor. It makes the phone difficult to hold when tethered to a computer while developing/debugging.
- HDMI output makes no sense to me, in the age of wireless connections to displays. (Apple AirPlay, etc).
- An unlocked Z10 was easy to purchase. Reading North American based reviews, I find phones and carriers are so locked into each other, that often a review of a phone becomes a review of the carrier, Very strange. My carrier (Three Ireland), gives me unlimited calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data (15Gb/month fair use) for €20/month, with no contract.
BB10 vs iOS 6
I really like BB10. It felt very natural and an interesting cross between iOS and Android. The C++/QNX underpinnings are very exciting and for a v1.0 OS, BB10 shows remarkable stability and maturity. Seeing fixes (why are they via the carrier?) coming quickly is very re-assuring.
For me, the gestures came very quickly, so much so, when using iOS, I find myself swiping up from the home button!
The peek and flow, is brilliant and is a very real innovative step forward.
I was disappointed a little with the Mail application (mail integration within the Hub). Maybe, its just GMail playing up, but I found that things like unread counts would not sync, or not sync very quickly, in comparison to iOS.
This was also true when connecting to my work account via ActiveSync to Office 365. It was very off-putting to see the red flashing light on the phone when at my desk. Read the email on my Mac, and then 15 minutes later, still see the message as un-read on BB10's Hub. This is something that iOS gets rights, and with BlackBerry's focus on mail and messaging, I'm surprised that this element is not working correctly.
Any reviewer talking of BB10 app situation can't help but notice that the amount of quality native applications is in a pretty dire state right now on App World. But where reviewers see an issue, I as a mobile developer, see an opportunity.
I look forward to helping deliver some innovative, native, cascades applications to the BB10 platform.
I wish the App World store would indicate if an app is a Android port though, as in general these provided a poor user experience.
XCode vs Momentics
I have no love of Xcode. Ask any iOS or Mac developer, and you will get a chapter full of complaints about Apple's IDE with ease. There are two ways of looking at Momentics: comparing it with Xcode and comparing it with the previous suite of BlackBerry development tools.
While, I never developed for BlackBerry OS7 and below, I have heard horror stories about how difficult and un-intuitive it was. Certainly in that regard, Momentics is a big step forward.
Coming from Xcode, its hard to get excited about BlackBerry's IDE. Its competent certainly, but still feels very clunky to use. The "QML preview" panel refuses to work on a Macbook Pro Retina. The starting and deploying to a simulator is kinda slow. Switching between simulator (x86) and device (ARM) builds is a little clunky.
Momentics, is not off-putting, but it needs tons of work to be really appealing, especially to the legions of iOS developers out there that BlackBerry wants to attract to their platform.
Love where BlackBerry is taking BB10. Its in much better shape than I ever expected. Having had access previously to RIM's intranet, I can attest that the company has had some death march to get to BlackBerry BB10 to this stage. The road ahead is long, but the first step is groundbreaking.
For me, I'm back to carrying iPhone 5 as my daily driver. Why? Most of my friends in Dublin are carrying iOS devices, and the lure of iMessage (even with its cronic bugs) and FaceTime is just too much for me. With the Z10, I just felt that bit more isolated. No Path, no WhatsApp, no iMessage, no spotify apps.
Yes, the situation will improve over time. But right now BB10 does not offer me enough to abandon all those app eco-systems. Maybe if I knew someone on BBM, but I don't!
As a new BB10 developer, I'll be keeping a close eye on developments and when the time is right, I'll take a serious look at making a more permanent switch.
Last edited by jack918; 03-11-13 at 01:24 AM. Reason: typo
- 03-10-13, 04:55 PM #5
I'm using active sync as we transition to BB10 but I don't have the issue you pointed out.
I can't help but wonder if this is due to some settings on the company server, as I get sync right away in the same scenario you made.
Regarding airplay as with all other apple ideas, the world isn't embracing it for a reason. So until the world does, HDMI is the way to go for now.
Aside from that, I appreciated your post.
Thanks for sharing.
Posted from the CB App on my White Zed 10
- 03-10-13, 04:57 PM #6
Nice observation Jack, thank you.
I'm in a similar boat regarding the iPhone.. I *want* to drop the iPhone and just have the Z10.. just waiting on the final few apps then I will. I need to escape the Apple prison.
They do support DNLA over wifi. I mentioned Airplay as an example, couldn't remember what the more "open" DNLA was called at the time. Its a great initial feature of BB10. If I was BlackBerry, I wouldn't have bothered to include the HDMI port and just pushed DNLA. Not a biggie, either way.
If I'd change anything, I think, I'd ask them to chase quality and not quantity in the App World store. Don't approve junk apps, beta apps, and apps that seem like beginners wrote them. Be different there, be bold. If I was them, I'd seriously think about limiting the number of apps in each category. That may not be practical, but who wouldn't prefer 1000 quality apps in each category then whats currently there?
Last edited by jack918; 03-10-13 at 05:28 PM. Reason: typo
- CrackBerry Genius
03-10-13, 05:28 PM #13
- 3,711 Posts
I just have to point out that the "right" way isn't always the "Apple" way.
To be honest, I know not of many people who use AirPlay. Everyone I know use some variant of HDMI
Sure, I understand the lack of major apps at the moment, but give it a month, and they will come
On the other hand, on iMessage and Facetime. First of all, most of us don't have unlimited plans, so we don't use any video chat over data..... Kills all your data in an hour. Not to mention that Android is still predominant in # of devices using the OS, compared to iOS. So if the Android users can survive, I'm sure you can to. Why not go to an universal app, like Whatsapp (which is on BB10 already in form of OpenWhatsapp). Official app is coming this week.
While I applaud you for giving one of the most balanced and objective reviews I've seen from an iOS dev, I still have to point this out.
awful past advertising campaign.
When I was an employee, they forced us to collect a t-shirt with those superheros on them. Cringe :-)
When RIM realised I hadn't collected my shirt, they UPS'd it directly from Waterloo to my home in Dublin! What a waste of cash that was. I hear, things have improved enormously since then.
- 03-10-13, 05:38 PM #15
- CrackBerry Genius
03-10-13, 05:41 PM #16
- 1,977 Posts
BlackBerry knows that they need to improve momentics and make it easier to use (it is in their roadmap). The good thing is that the OS is mature and BlackBerry just needs to improve api access and the developer tools.
The problem with the numbers is that BlackBerry needs the numbers to tell people that they are a platform with support. If BlackBerry had 1000 top apps (which they say they will get), it won't be enough from a marketing perspective. The carriers and reporters all focus in the total number of apps. They also want quality apps. So i think the incentive to bring different types of dev's over the BlackBerry 10 is working. Windows phone has 130k apps and BlackBerry said they will have 100k apps very soon. It's kinda crazy how fast BlackBerry has ramped up to 70k/100k in the span of months, with windows phone being around since 2010.
We really won't know if BlackBerry can continue the momentum, but with what the dev relations guys are doing and the quality of the developer tools, there is no reason why it can't continue. With more devices being sold and more users, it will encourage more and more people to join team BlackBerry .
Posted via CB10
- 03-10-13, 05:54 PM #18
I have to agree that development pre BlackBerry 10 was pretty nightmare ish, but it can for any language.
What it comes down to is how well the platform supports you when things go wrong. It's in this area that I feel they have made the biggest headway.
Posted via CB10
- 03-10-13, 06:18 PM #19
It is nice to see a developer, even one that does in spare time even consider it. Good luck and I hope you do well
- CrackBerry User
03-10-13, 06:20 PM #20
- 14 Posts
- CrackBerry Addict
03-10-13, 07:13 PM #21
- 690 Posts
Thanks for the input, I know a couple of people, my eldest son is one, who want the Z10 to become relevant in the market, a) so that the apps (engineering & scientific) are developed and b) because of the connectivity with his network of friends. My son tried the Lumina 900 but returned it for the Iphone for now.
OP... Have a great St. Patrick's Day on the 17th.
Slan agus beannacht
Last edited by tmurphx5; 03-10-13 at 07:46 PM. Reason: spelling
- 03-10-13, 07:42 PM #23
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