Ina Fried

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RIM Exec: Developers Like Us Just Fine, Thanks

Alec Saunders, the head of developer relations for Research In Motion, denied on Tuesday that the company’s execution stumbles over the past 18 months have led to a trust gap with mobile app creators.

“I don’t know that I’d characterize it in that fashion,” Saunders told AllThingsD at a briefing with reporters at Mobile World Congress. While not announcing much in the way of new devices in Barcelona, RIM held a panel with a handful of developers to talk about its work getting new applications for its PlayBook tablet and its forthcoming QNX-based BlackBerry operating system.

Saunders said that with any new operating system, there are developers who are willing to jump on board early, while others take a wait-and-see approach.

As far as the company’s own prior statements about how quickly it could release the PlayBook and next-generation BlackBerry, Saunders said: “I think we set some expectations that we probably shouldn’t have, but that’s ancient history.”

The company said it now has well over 10,000 programs running on PlayBook, including several thousand Android applications that have been approved to run on the device.

RIM is in the midst of moving from its historical BlackBerry operating system to a new one that is based on QNX, the operating system that powers the PlayBook. At the same time, RIM has seen its smartphone market share plummet in recent years, amid increased competition from Apple and Android, among others.

Among the questions hovering over RIM is just when it will move its phones to the new operating system, and how quickly it will move the bulk of its lineup to the software.

“We haven’t given a whole lot of specifics on long-term projections and road maps, but those conversations do happen in confidence,” Saunders said.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus