Not surprisingly, industries or verticals committed to BlackBerry are eager to see the final product.
Gary Bauer, CEO of Toronto’s Mobile Innovations
, a small developer ($1 million annual sales) which specializes in BlackBerry apps for handsets and Playbook tablets for law enforcement agencies, just returned from a RIM-sponsored conference in Amsterdam for European police departments where he said there’s “a high degree of enthusiasm about receiving these devices.”
In the Netherlands alone about 25,000 police officers use BlackBerrys, he said, and they want to know “did I bet on the right horse?”
On this side of the ocean, there’s “huge” interest among Canadian police forces in BB10, he says.
RIM did a good job at the show, he said, meeting worries of officers from several countries who wonder if they can adapt from a handset with a physical keyboard to a touchscreen.
“Every agency that we are working with is looking to take possession of small number of these in a trial capacity, and most have already put in place BES 10,” the new BlackBerry Enterprise Services mobile management suite. That means they have their infrastructure ready.
“We have seen a significant increase in demand in customers who are interested in moving their existing applications to BB10 to make sure they’re ready for the launch,” says Glenn James, a principal at the New Toronto Group, a mobile software development and consulting house.
“That’s been growing for the past several months, and we anticipate after the launch this week that it will continue to be strong fort the next several months.
“After that, I don’t think anyone is sure.”
A shop that now specializes in building apps in HTML5 for multiple platforms, he estimates that 40 per cent of the company’s work is BB10-related.
On the other hand, this may be telling: James’ company’s biggest client is automaker Chrysler Group, for which it has been developing an application for hundreds of service technicians. It likely won’t be deployed on BB10, James said.
Another sign: Customers of one of the largest mobile app creators, Toronto-based Polar Mobile
, haven't asked for their applications to be converted to BB10 reports CEO Kunal Gupta
. "Our customers are some of the biggest media companies in the world," he said, "and their focus is on the major platforms" -- Android and iOS. A lot of the customers have apps for BB6/7, he added, but aren't interested yet in spending on converting them to BB10. "Things could easily change once there's a proven audience on BlackBerry 10," he added. A tipping point would be at least 15 per cent of a customer's Web site traffic coming from BB10 handsets.