RIM begs devs: Build for BlackBerry 10, we'll bung you $10K
An offer you can't refuse
Developers who get BlackBerry 10 apps in quick will get their income bumped up to $10,000 if they make more than $1,000, as RIM gets in the drinks at the last chance salon.
The "10K Developer Commitment" kicks in this autumn, and applies to applications submitted before BlackBerry World which will be early next year. Applications will have to generate more than $1K in revenue, including in-app purchases, but if they make less than $10K then RIM will make up the difference.
Unsurprisingly there are a few caveats: only one payout per development house (though multiple apps may be submitted), at least 100 unique downloads, apps have to run through the (free) "Built for Blackberry" approval process, and RIM will likely reserve the right to kick out those it thinks are gaming the system (the full Ts&Cs aren't up yet), but in general the scheme seems remarkably sensible.
RIM is painting the deal as a demonstration of confidence in its own platform, but it is of course a reflection of the general lack of confidence in the future of RIM. Developers don't want to commit to a platform which might not have a future, but without those developers it certainly won't.
Companies considering a BlackBerry port of an existing title will likely be encouraged by the assurance that they'll get at least $10K in revenue after one year, worth investing half that at least and with BlackBerry 10 supporting such a range of development platforms (C++, Java, Adobe Air, HTML5), porting existing apps shouldn't be too challenging.
If BlackBerry 10 does fail then RIM could end up with a considerable bill to pay, but if '10 fails then the company will be nothing but a pile of patents and a BBM server so there's little point in holding back at this point... $10K might encourage some developers to support a fourth ecosystem, giving BlackBerry 10 enough time to at least make a fight of it. ®