Keep Up! for the BlackBerry PlayBook is now available
Technically, the app was released along with the PlayBook on its official April 19th US/Canada launch. However, we didn’t get to test our app until today when our *free* BlackBerry PlayBook came in! We participated in RIM’s free BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet offer that awarded a developer who submitted a PlayBook application to the BlackBerry App World before March 31st, 2011.
Keep Up! was a fun, experimental, hobby project for our team. Our commitment remains to the iPad and although we didn’t want to dilute our focus, developing Keep Up! made sense for the following three reasons:
(1) The PlayBook runs Flash. Although I’m not yet a strong believer in Flash as a mobile software platform, especially for touch screens, I was excited to port my past Flash games to the device. I had written a Keep Up game for Macromedia Flash 4 (yes, I’m that old) almost 10 years ago and thought it would be fun to bring back some memories.
(2) We predicted there wouldn’t be many apps for the PlayBook at launch. We were right as recent reports say there are only 1,700 apps so far. It’s easy to be discovered on an App Store with so few apps and so if adoption of the PlayBook is high then being discovered early on will help future sales. We wanted to test the waters with this app and ride any waves that the PlayBook experiences.
(3) C’mon, a free BlackBerry PlayBook! Who doesn’t like shiey new toys?
Overall, the app was fun to build. It was fairly simple and using Flash to build it was surprisingly enjoyable. The PlayBook’s development tools weren’t great but I’m hoping they’ll improve within the next few months. I haven’t yet spent much time with the PlayBook itself but I already feel it’s quite different in use (both software and hardware wise) than the iPad.
I’m hopeful for the PlayBook and for Keep Up!. RIM has made a fairly good start but needs to continue to push (seriously, no native email?). Should be interesting to see how well the device is adopted in the coming months.