TORONTO Research In Motion Ltd has updated the tools it is providing for independent developers to build applications for its twice-delayed BlackBerry 10 platform, the company said on Thursday.
The updates will help apps interact with one another and make use of the BlackBerry network to push notifications to devices. RIM also opened its App World to enable developers using a test device available since May to share their work among themselves.
Building a strong library of applications for the new BlackBerry platform is crucial to its success. RIM is struggling to reverse years of slowing sales, delayed and disappointing product launches and an embarrassing global outage of its prized network.
RIM has lost much of its once-dominant smartphone market share, squeezed between Apple Inc's hugely successful iPhone and the slew of devices using Google Inc's Android software.
Its existing library of apps - many of which are incompatible with BlackBerry 10 - is far smaller than rival offerings from Apple and Google.
Apps are small pieces of software that perform specific tasks such as checking news or stock prices, tracking jogging distances or finding restaurants. They can also stream content such as music and movies.
The company last month reported a deeper-than-expected operating loss and said it was cutting almost 10 percent of its workforce as it delayed the BlackBerry 10 launch to the first quarter of next year. The first devices were initially expected early this year.
RIM has hired bankers to assess strategic options, and has not ruled out a outright sale of the company, though it is still focusing on the BlackBerry 10 launch as the best way forward. It is also considering the possibility of joint ventures and partnerships, likely in conjunction with the shift to the new platform.
Shares of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company gained 1 percent in morning trade on the Nasdaq. They have lost roughly 90 percent of their value since a peak around $70 in February 2011.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp)