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RIM Rolls Blackberry Widget SDK

The software development kit lets developers use the BlackBerry maker's push technology for corporate or consumer widgets.
Research In Motion released tools Tuesday for developers to create widgets for BlackBerry smartphones.

The widget software development kit enables content creators to build Web-based programs that have full-featured capabilities that were only previously available for apps written in Java. The widgets will use the BlackBerry browser engine to render the user interface, and developers can code it with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The SDK will enable a variety of consumer-oriented and enterprise widgets, RIM said, and developers will be able to utilize RIM's push technology for these programs. Some examples potentially include widgets for calendar apps, customer relationship management software, and home-screen access to media functionalities.

"BlackBerry Widgets opens up a world of opportunities for developers to build and bring to market Web applications for BlackBerry smartphones that offer advanced, integrated functionality and an always-on user experience," said Alan Brenner, senior VP of BlackBerry platforms, in a statement. "We are very excited by the prospect of this new widget development platform which combines the ease of development of standard Web languages with the rich functionality of Java development."

Developers can download a beta of the widget SDK from RIM's Web site, and the widgets will be distributed over the air through the BlackBerry App World. Enterprise users will also be able to distribute widgets through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and IT departments can provision whether corporate BlackBerry devices can access these programs. The widgets will only be compatible with BlackBerry devices running the 5.0 operating system or later.

The BlackBerry widgets will be able to run in the background, which gives RIM a slight advantage over the iPhone because Apple's platform cannot run third-party programs in the background. Windows Mobile, Android, and Symbian are also capable of running widgets in the background.


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