The BlackBerry PlayBook Gains Momentum, RIM and Adobe BFFs?

The coming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet looks very promising and to ensure developer support, Research In Motion (RIM) is throwing its weight behind Adobe’s Flash and AIR platforms. An SDK for developing Adobe AIR applications for the PlayBook has already hit the internet along with a device emulator for the PlayBook to test apps on before the actual device starts shipping out to developers ahead of its still unknown launch date.

I managed to get the PlayBook emulator up and running yesterday after some work and got the SDK installed. The only problem is that Adobe’s Flash tools and Flex framework are Adobe products. Like the seemingly hundreds and hundreds of posters all over the web, I haven’t been able to get the system to actually build a working app for the PlayBook yet. Not even the most basic ‘Hello World!’ app. Every time I think I have an error message fixed, another one pops up when I compile. The entire SDK of Flash, AIR 2.5 and Flex 4.0 are a jumbled, hacked together mess at this point. Oh, and if you’re thinking of developing an AIR app for the PlayBook then you better get used to some command line nonsense.

So why is RIM counting so heavily on Adobe AIR? Because when AIR works, it lets developers build applications for nearly every platform available with only some slight tweaking. The idea behind the technology is a good one, but Adobe still has some work to do on the tools. There is a huge base of developers who are far more comfortable using Flash and Adobe’s tools than I am. If RIM can get some of them onboard with the PlayBook then its app store for the tablet has a good, fighting chance. RIM is even promising a free BlackBerry PlayBook to every developer that gets an app approved for the PlayBook’s launch. Now that’s an incentive.

Long story short? The PlayBook’s success is linked to the success of Adobe AIR and vice versa to a large degree.

Check out the video of the PlayBook finally in action at AdobeMAX:

Like what it’s shaping up to be so far? Besides just the dual cores running at 1 GHz each in the PlayBook, hardware acceleration of Flash 10.1 and 3D graphics are packed inside. This thing has a lot of potential. Let’s just hope this new found friendliness between Adobe and RIM works out for the best for both of them. Back to the drawing board for me and the PlayBook. I want a free one.

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