Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Free Blackberry Playbook Delivered

My FREE Blackberry Playbook finally arrives today! I wouldn't have known about this offer if it wasn't for Connie. She told me about it early on but I was too busy with work to even bother registering as a developer. Luckily RIM decided to extend the offer to anyone who submits a qualified Blackberry app by March 2nd, 2012.

Registration Day
Last day to register was February 15th, 2012 and it wasn't until 9 pm before I finally registered as a Blackberry App World developer. At the very least if I didn't have time to make an app I would still be a registered as a Blackberry App World developer for free.

A friend told me a loop hole which was to register multiple accounts and submit an app for each person. Of course you could use different addresses although I didn't read anything about it being limited to 1 per household. Alas, I wasn't even expecting I would be successful with one app.

Building the App
With what little time I had between projects I used it to build the app. I only had enough time in the first week to doodle some ideas here and there on paper. On the 23rd of February I had time to sit down and build the app. I couldn't figure out how to get a demo version running in emulation mode or on the actual Playbook device. So I skipped the actual device testing and unit tested it to the max.

Submitting the App
On the 24th I had to figure out how to package and sign the app. This was by far the most difficult part of the whole process. Do not count on the Blackberry Developer documentation for any help because it is just horrible when it came to packaging for AIR apps via command line. I finally packaged the app and submitted it for approval on the 24th of February. By submitting it a week in advance I was planning for possible rejection with a one week period to correct it and resubmit the app. Not that this mattered because even if your app is rejected; the fact that you submitted the app before the deadline means you quality for the free Blackberry Playbook offer. Connie was ragging on me about how everyone's going to write a simple flashlight app and get a free Playbook.

Blackberry Approval
My app was in approval limbo for 2 weeks and wasn't approved until the 7th of March. After approval I was able to push the app to the Blackberry App World store where I was able to download it to my Playbook to test it for the first time. Absolutely amazed at how it turned out as it felt like I was working in the dark and wasn't sure how it would perform or react. Felt really good getting approved on my first try.

TMGIdeas Approval
If you were like me and didn't read the fine print then you were probably shocked at this last approval process where your app could potential get rejected. Possible rejections are: App is too simple or single function app, not unique enough or too many similar apps, link based app thats sole purpose is to launch website links. If your app didn't fall into any of these 3 categories you should be fine. This is the catch all to anyone who wanted to submit another flash light app or fart app.

I felt my app bordered a bit on the "too simple" category and at this point it was too late to submit another app. So it was a waiting game and eventually I got approved on the 9th of March in an email that detailed one final step which was to enter in my shipping address.

Free Blackberry Playbook Arrival
It is now March the 21st, 2012 and it has finally arrived. The whole process took nearly a full month with 1 day of development another day for figuring out how to sign it to the App World and the rest of the month was spent waiting for emails.

Overall I think TMG and Blackberry had the right idea with this offer. In all honesty I probably wouldn't have bothered to write an app if it wasn't for this offer. It wouldn't take much time, for seasoned developers, to earn enough money to buy one of these Playbooks 16GB playbooks. For $199 that is an amazing piece of equipment that could replace most if not all of your daily computer uses. I have already given one away for early Mother's Day and she absolutely loves using it. At 60 she is able to figure out how to use most of the features without me showing her how to use it.

One final observation is if you've ever been scolded for watching videos or playing games on your smartphone at the dinner table then consider giving them a Playbook and you'll see a complete shift in their behaviour at the dinner table.

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