I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sanyu Kiruluta quite often. She oversees the BlackBerry Developer Relations team in EMEA for RIM. Sanyu and the team recently held a developer day in London that I unfortunately wasn’t able to get to. So I asked if I could fire some questions for Sanyu at a later date for those who also were unable to attend.
I thought it was one of Sanyu’s first events for RIM so asked her about how her ‘first experience’ was in one of the questions below. Turns out she’s an old hand. How embarrassing. When you get to it, please think of me squirming when I received her replies. I decided to leave it in as Sanyu handled the response rather well.
Ok, let’s begin…
1. Could you introduce yourself — who are you, what’s your role at RIM?
My name is Sanyu Kiruluta and I am the team lead for developer relations EMEA at RIM. We work with RIM’s Alliance Partners and BlackBerry platform developers around the world (over a quarter of a million to date) to provide technical support and ensure that the application development process is as smooth as possible.
2. Describe the BlackBerry Developer day in more detail — what was the purpose of it?
The recent developer event was one of a series of days across Europe to help encourage innovation in the BlackBerry developer community. The event series is dedicated to finding and nurturing the very best new mobile, wireless and internet-enabled applications and services and providing the tools and know-how to create and market apps for BlackBerry smartphones.
3. What kind of topics did you cover?
Sessions on the day provided insight into our vision and commitment to third-party apps on the BlackBerry platform as well as offering practical ‘how-to’ information that we hope empowered attending developers to create compelling and user friendly mobile apps. After all, our aim is to ensure that the applications available on BlackBerry App World are fully integrated into the BlackBerry platform to deliver the best possible user experience.
4. What kind of people attended the event? Did you get a feel for whether they were coders, commercial people or a bit of both?
We had a complete mix of people come down to the London event. These ranged from software developers and traditional web designers, through to marketing and new media gurus, CTOs, business development leaders, consultants and even some students.
5. What feedback did you get from the audience?
Feedback was great and this is most definitely an event we’re looking to run again. Attendees were particularly enthusiastic about the upcoming Super App Challenge.
6. Given this is your first major event for RIM, how did you find it? What surprised you?
I’ve actually been involved in running developer focused events at RIM for quite a while (you must have just missed me ). This was the second in a series of regional events we’re running in countries across the world to locally bring BlackBerry developer content to developers in-person. Something we frequently see from developers who previously haven’t created an app on the BlackBerry platform is a realization of how powerful some of our APIs translate as a ‘sticky’ feature in an app. Take for example our free push-API. Developers can use this to keep content on their app fresh at all times – from an end-user perspective, over the past few weeks I’ve loved having the latest football scores & stats sent to my device in real-time.
7. What sections of the day appeared to get the most attention?
8. For those developers that missed today, what 3 things should they know?
Firstly, get developing for the BlackBerry platform! There is a great opportunity for developers to get their apps in front of the growing 46+ million BlackBerry subscriber base who have an appetite for really useful apps. For those who want, we offer developer training and certification as well as offering a host of information via the blog, forum, issues tracker and resource centre.
App World 2.0 brings a number new features to make it easier for developers to monetize their applications. Users will be able to purchase applications though credit cards or have the cost directly added to their carrier bill in addition to the PayPal payment option. We are also working on several initiatives around in-app payment, in-app adverts that will increase the number of business models available to developers with just a few lines of code.
We acknowledge that the average smartphone user doesn’t regularly use a large number of apps, so those that they do use regularly need to be really good. The concept of Super Apps is our way of communicating this message and arming developers with all the tools and material they need to be able to create these type of apps on the BlackBerry Platform. The Super App Developer Challenge has recently been launched to inspire the development community to keep bringing applications to life.
9. Finally — what RIM device are you using and what applications have you been enjoying recently?
I am using a BlackBerry Bold 9700! The Facebook application for BlackBerry has many ‘Super App’ qualities, but the one great thing it does for me is put my friend’s birthdays directly into my calendar and as a result, I’d never get rid of it. It’s sticky and ultimately offers me a feature I couldn’t live without. Similarly, I love the Twitter application for seeing what people are up to and BlackBerry Messenger, of course, for keeping in touch with my family, friends and people at work.
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Thank you for taking the time Sanyu. And sorry for question 6. I seriously thought you were ‘new’. I don’t know where I got that idea.
Sanyu mentioned quite a few resources like the developer blog/forums — instead of linking to each I thought it would be more helpful to point readers to the main BlackBerry Developer Zone site. And if you’re wondering what a ‘super app’ is, check out this resource.