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Attention: BlackBerry App Builders, New Tools for You

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Several new tools will be coming to developers who build apps for the BlackBerry platform.  Research In Motion (RIM) announced many additons to its BlackBerry toolset at the BlackBerry Developer Conference this week.  A major announcment was the expanded partnership between Adobe and RIM.  Adobe's Creative Suite 5 (CS5), rumored to release in April, is going to have new development tools for BlackBerry applications.  RIM also announced a new widget platform, WebKit support, and new APIs.

CS5 will allow developers to use programs like Adobe Photoshop, AfterEffects, and Illustrator to create graphics, images, and videos for BlackBerry apps.  The assets created in Adobe programs can be imported to development tools like the BlackBerry JDE and Web plugins for Eclipse.  RIM's new BlackBerry Theme Studio will also be able to use Adobe assets.  BlackBerry Theme Studio 5.0 can use Adobe Photoshop files in BlackBerry Theme Builder. Themes can also incorporate ringtones and  screen transitions such as zooming or fading.  Other Adobe programs, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Device Central, will support the creation of "BlackBerry Widgets" and content for the BlackBerry Web browser.

The new BlackBerry Widget platform will let developers build applications with JavaScript and HTML, and then deploy them on BlackBerry's Enterprise Server or RIM's App World.  Widgets will have JavaScript access to BlackBerry's core APIs, allowing integration with features such as BlackBerry's calendar and contact list.  A new rich gaming platform will also allow developers will to sell premium content, subscriptions, and upgrades for their mobile games.

RIM also announced it would have a WebKit implementation for BlackBerry available next year.  Support for for WebKit and in-application commerce will help RIM catch up to its competitors.  Google Android and the iPhone already have WebKit support in their browsing engines.  

New APIs will support convenient services such as micro-billing inside applications and the ability buy an app and charge it to your carrier bill.  APIs now come with free access for registered developers, RIM announced. BlackBerry's Push Service API is one existing API that is now open to all third-party developers for more widespread use in applications.  

Given RIM's announcements this week, along with the plans announced at the Adobe MAX conference last month, it seems like RIM is relying heavily on Adobe to envigorate the multimedia and design capabilities of the BlackBerry. 

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