RIM extends free PlayBook offer after new BlackBerry dev signups top 6K

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Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is extending a promotion that awards a free 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to developers who port their existing mobile applications to its new BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.

When RIM first announced the PlayBook promotion earlier this month, the offer was limited to Android developers and slated to expire on Feb. 13; a subsequent Inside BlackBerry Developer's Blog post from RIM senior public relations and social media manager Alex Kinsella reveals the device maker has extended the submission deadline to include developers who register as BlackBerry App World vendors by 11:59 pm ET on Feb. 15 and submit apps by 11:59 pm ET on Mar. 2.  

"You asked that Native C/C++, HTML5, Adobe AIR, and Qt developers have a chance to participate and we answered by opening the offer to all developers," Kinsella states. He adds that more than 6,600 new developers have registered with BlackBerry App World since the offer went live, corresponding with more than 1,500 app submissions. 

PlayBook OS 2.0 promises tablet users new tools to improve personal and professional interactions. Highlights include a new unified inbox, multitasking within email, a calendar app touting information about contacts and companies in the user's meeting schedule, a relationship-centric contacts app and expanded productivity features. PlayBook OS 2.0 builds in the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, enabling developers to repackage existing Android apps to run on the tablet as well as upcoming BlackBerry 10-based devices. RIM offers several different options for porting Android apps, including the BlackBerry Plug-in for ADT, the BlackBerry Packager for Android apps and the BlackBerry SDK for Android apps

The PlayBook promotion is just one part of RIM's ongoing effort to attract developers to the beleaguered BlackBerry platform. Speaking at last week's BlackBerry DevCon Europe conference, RIM vice president of developer relations Alec Saunders announced that BlackBerry App World now generates more than 6 million daily downloads, translating to 174 million downloads per month and 30 downloads per user each year. According to Saunders, App World now yields 43 percent more daily downloads per app than Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store; it also drives more premium downloads than Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android Market, with 13 percent of developers earning revenues in excess of $100,000.

BlackBerry continues to lag far behind Android and iOS in the consumer consciousness, capturing 16.0 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in December 2011 according to digital research firm comScore. Android devices make up 47.3 percent of the U.S. market, with iOS at 29.6 percent.

For more:
- read this Inside BlackBerry Developer's Blog entry

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