Pretty much everyone has seen commercials for iPhone apps, but did you know that Blackberry has an app store as well? And while you can only develop iPhone apps on very specific Apple hardware, Blackberry apps can be developed on any platform that allows Java development, which is pretty much every platform! With literally millions of Blackberry users on a variety of carriers, there is a great potential to earn lots of money developing Blackberry apps. Here's how you can get started
Things You'll Need
- A computer
- Some Java skills would be good
- $200 if you want to submit an app
If you have a great idea for an app, but you've never programmed Java before, you should really check out some Java programming tutorials. Even a very basic understanding of Java will help you more quickly grasp the BlackBerry tutorials. Here is a link to the official Sun Java tutorials:
You'll need the Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.6 (aka 6.0). That's also available from Sun's website. The JDK is what allows you to compile and run Java programs. You can find that right here:
(Click on the first Download button. The current version is JDK 6, update 14)
Eclipse is an Integrated Development Environment, or IDE. Basically, it makes programming in Java really easy. Normally you would have to download this separately, but the BlackBerry people created a plug-in that works directly with Eclipse, and then packaged Eclipse together with the plug-in. This is extremely convenient, and available right here:
Click on the link that says, Download the BlackBerry web development plug-in for Eclipse (including Eclipse). If you already have Eclipse installed, download the same file. It will ask you where Eclipse is installed, so you can just point to that directory, and it will add the plug-in where it needs to go.
BlackBerry provides a good tutorial to get your first application going. You can find the PDF of that here:
Try to understand the basic idea of what's happening in the tutorial, instead of just copying and pasting it into Eclipse. This is a very simple application, but it teaches important concepts that you'll most likely need for your application.
Now you're ready to begin developing your BlackBerry app! The developer page on the BlackBerry website has tons of videos and pdfs that help explain concepts. It also has sample programs that can help get you started. That website is here:
Once you've built your application (and tested it very thoroughly on lots of the simulators! see the Tips section), you'll want to submit it to the BlackBerry app store for publication. That page is here:
You will need a PayPal account to sign up. Also ... you will need $200. By giving them $200, you can sell up to 10 different apps. After the 10th app, you need to pay another $200 to submit up to 10 more apps. $200 may seem like a lot, but the lowest cost for an app (besides free, since you are allowed to sell free apps) is $2.99. Since you get 80% of sales revenue, if you sell just 100 apps, you will make back your $200. So consider it an investment!
That's it! Good luck on your venture into the world of BlackBerry apps!
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure to take advantage of sample code. Don't reinvent the wheel!
- Remember that there are many different varities of BlackBerry. Some have touch screen functionality, and some use a trackball. You can download different BlackBerry simulators and test your application on all of them.
- Also, if you submit multiple versions of the same app (i.e. one version for a touch screen BlackBerry, and one for a trackball), that does not count as 2 different apps. That only counts as 1, so you can still upload 9 more apps.
- Take some time to make sure that your app hasn't already been created. It's not a good feeling when you realize that you spent a month developing something that already exists.
- Really make sure you've worked out all the bugs before you submit. Once someone pays for your app, they're going to expect it to work, so make sure you deliver
- Photo Credit My screen shot from the Blackberry App World home page (http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/appworld/), screen shots from the Java Tutorials page, and various screen shots from the BlackBerry pages
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