1 Alec Saunders, VP Developer Relations, RIM, express support towards developers working on the BlackBerry ecosystem

Alec Saunders, VP Developer Relations at RIM

Updates: RIM has reached out to us to clarify that this is not a new announcement. The original US$100 million investment was announced in May at the BlackBerry World and BlackBerry 10 Jam. The purpose of highlighting this effort in the post was to inform developers in the region of the kind of support that they can expect from RIM. Also included in the clarification is a statement from Alec:

“We continue to show the strength of our commitment to developers and to the BlackBerry 10 platform. As I said at the BlackBerry World and BlackBerry 10 Jam events in Orlando earlier this year, RIM will invest $100 million in our developer and application programs over the course of 2012 . We have already invested in education, resources and new programs for developers this year. This investment will also include a range of new programs to support developers’ business development directly, including our guarantee of $10,000 revenue for app developers whose BlackBerry 10 applications meet certain guidelines, have been certified through RIM, and are posted for sale in BlackBerry App World before the launch of BlackBerry 10.”

Research In Motion (RIM) held their BlackBerry 10 Jam conference in Singapore on 9th July in order to engage developers in the region to develop for the upcoming BlackBerry 10. The BlackBerry 10 has recently been covered by numerous media and termed as the possible savior of RIM. With the delayed release date, the RIM team in Singapore had the challenging task of showcasing a strong message for the developer community in order to garner their trust.

Understanding that the commitment of developers creating apps for the BlackBerry 10 can make or break RIM’s effort to regain a strong position in the smartphone space, RIM is putting their money where their mouth is. To a tune of a neat US$100 million. The investment in the global developer community will see RIM running several developer programs that looks to incentivize developers on the BlackBerry platform. One of such programs incentivizes developers to build apps for BlackBerry 10 by guaranteeing the developers US$10,000 in revenues from the app. While the official terms and conditions for this program has not yet been released, Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations highlighted that apps that qualify for the program must be certified, paid apps built for the BlackBerry 10 and manage to earn at least US$1,000 within the first year.

Alec is also the man behind the recent PlayBook “seeding” program. He managed to convinced then CEO, Mike Lazaridis, that the best way to engage developers to built for the BlackBerry platform was to support them with the necessary hardware. RIM has since given out over 23,000 PlayBooks to developers around the world.

To further support the developers, RIM has released the BlackBerry 10 Alpha which is a prototyping device used in-house by RIM engineers. The BlackBerry 10 Alpha is developers’ answer to emulators and will provide them a head start to developing for the Blackberry 10 platform. RIM plans to release 12,000 BlackBerry 10 Alpha with 6,000 already available. Some of the devices were handed out to selected developers during the BlackBerry 10 Jam event.

Research In Motion is also expanding its developer relations team to support developers worldwide. Currently at a 40-strong team, Alec mentioned that the global team number will hit 130 by the end of the quarter. RIM is also bringing back the BlackBerry certified developer program to ensure that developers are equipped with the skills and information needed to develop for the BlackBerry platform.

Over the past three months, RIM has seen a 220 percent increase in apps available in the App World, numbering at over 90,000. With a total of three billion app downloads, at an average of 177 million per month, and around 78 million subscribers, the RIM team is looking to attract more developers to the platform. Especially with the recent statistics released by Vision Mobile that BlackBerry developers earn more money per app than their counterparts on other platforms.