Introduction to BlackBerry PlayBook TabletOS Development

  • The new Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is currently expected to be released sometime in March of 2011. The PlayBook is a brand new device which is using RIM's new QNX-based Operating System which in the long term is expected to be the OS for all future RIM BlackBerry Smartphones. It is widely expected that eventually there will be four different ways to develop applications for the TabletOS: Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR (available now)
  • HTML5 / Flash - based Web Applications (RIM's WebWorks platform)
  • Native C/C++ SDK for QNX
  • Java Runtime - based applications

Each application development approach has unique advantaged and disadvantages and is geared towards particular application type (game / multimedia applications are probably better candidates for AIR or native C++ development, while business enterprise forms-like applications are good candidates for HTML5 or AIR -based development).

Currently however only AIR SDK is available. This page focuses on providing exhaustive high level overview reference for Flash/Flex/AIR-based development for Tablet OS and BlackBerry PlayBook from a "new to Flash" developer perspective.

Overview of Adobe Flash Platform

Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements and games. More recently, it has been positioned as a tool for "Rich Internet Applications" ("RIAs").

Flash manipulates vector and raster graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. It supports bidirectional streaming of audio and video, and it can capture user input via mouse, keyboard, microphone, and camera. Flash contains an Object-oriented language called ActionScript.

Flash content may be displayed on various computer systems and devices, using Adobe Flash Player (or Adobe AIR Runtime) which is available free of charge for common web browsers, some mobile phones and a few other electronic devices (using Flash Lite). (source: Wikipedia).

Key Flash Platform Tools and Technologies

  • Flash - In my opinion the proper use of name Flash refers to the entire "Flash Platform" and not specifically any particular product. Having said that generally Flash is associated with the Flash Player which is the most visible (to end users) component since it traditionally required downloadable component installed on the desktop in order to view and play Flash content.
  • Flash Player - As explained above Flash Player is a piece of software (in a form of a web browser plug-in) which is required to be installed on user's device (desktop or mobile device) before any Flash content can be played. When user opens a web page which includes Flash content, this flash content is downloaded by the browser and played in the Flash Player within the browser window. The Flash content can take entire browser screen or a section within the web page. Adobe provides Flash Player for free and it is availabe for most desktop and mobile platforms (generally tablet devices include full Flash Player while less powerfull smartphone devlices include Flash Lite player which is a scaled down version of Flash Player optimized for mobile device). This page maintains list of Operating Systems and devices which support Flash. Also it is worth noting that recently Google started embedding Flash player within it's Chrome web browser eliminating daunting task of keeping the Flash Player updated and making the whole Flash experience transparent to the end user.
  • AIR Player - AIR stands for Adobe Integrated Runtime and is essentially Flash Player which allows running Flash content as a stand-alone applications whithout need to download and run within the browser. Having said that air applications can still ....

AIR Versions

This article is under construction - come back soon

Key Points about Tablet OS

Source (RIM Web Site)

  • Based on the proven QNX® Neutrino® RTOS, which powers mission-critical systems on the space station, government defense systems, life-saving medical devices and millions of in-car systems
  • Reliable, high-performance kernel engineered for multi-core hardware
  • Multi-threaded POSIX OS (Portable Operating System for Unix) for true multitasking
  • Built from the ground up to run WebKit and Adobe Flash
  • Built with the security, efficiency and seamless connectivity from the ground up you’d expect from RIM