Today, RIM announced their upcoming operating system for smartphones – a re-jiggered version of the QNX OS on their PlayBook tablet called BBX. Backwards compatibility with classic BlackBerry applications was once in the cards, but RIM’s Alec Saunders has confirmed that Java apps did not make the cut. After trying to emulate the Java ME engine on the PlayBook and BBX, RIM says they haven’t been able to achieve the level of performance that they wanted. Of course, developers who have made apps through HTML 5 and WebWorks will be able to make the jump, as RIM has been positioning the platform as a universal common denominator across their devices (including the PlayBook and OS 7 smartphones currently).
While this might be a bit of a kick in the shins of developers that have invested a lot of time, energy, and money into Java BlackBerry apps, it’s expected that as RIM makes a big jump into the future, they’re going to have to make a clean cut from the past at some point. Besides, the few legacy BlackBerry OS apps that one would actually miss are probably successful enough to devote the resources to rewriting their apps for BBX. With the dearth of compatible development environments available, those devs are likely to find a pretty easy to bring their app to the new platform.