This year is a special one for Developer World, as it marks our tenth year in existence! That’s right, since 2003, we’ve been proudly serving the developer community with tools, tutorials, and the latest technical news related to mobile. Today, our website holds 700+ downloads, including white papers, developer tools and SDK, drivers, open source archives, and much more. So how did it all begin? We sat down with one of the founders and a long time member of the program, Abbas Sumar and Jonas Petterson, who share their insights on how Developer World first got its start.
The Developer World website is an essential part of Sony’s mobile division’s developer outreach. But how did it all start? Well, Developer World owes it start to a small group of people working at Sony Ericsson, who envisioned a program that could work with partners to build an environment around the development of our phones at the time. It has since grown to include support for Android app and game development, supported by a global team dedicated to maintaining an ecosystem that allows Sony consumers to have fun with and make the most of their mobile devices. To learn more about how Developer World came into existence, we interviewed Abbas Sumar, currently Senior Business Development Manager but one of the founders of Developer World, and Jonas Petterson, Senior Project Manager, who is a long time member of the Developer World team.
Developer World: Why was the developer program created?
Abbas: The idea to start our developer program was triggered by two key products introduced by Sony Ericsson in 2003 – the T610 and P800. In turn, these two products introduced new capabilities that would allow content developers to move beyond the world of ringtones and wallpapers, and into new world of applications and games development.
Jonas: Yes, because of this, we felt it was important to create a web presence where we could reach out and support developers working with Symbian and Java platforms. We also felt it was important to support the needs of “professional consumers”, who wanted to personalise their phones with customisable option, including themes and backgrounds.
DW: How has the developer program evolved?
Abbas: We evolved by working closely with key application and game partners. Developing an app required different skill sets and programming tools. We started by collaborating with major tool developers and our internal software engineering teams so that that we could provide the developer community with the complete lifecycle of application development; from coding, debugging, publishing and technical support.
Jonas: The mobile technology has also changed, especially with the platforms we’ve supported. We started out with Symbian and Java, on to Windows-based phones, and now Android.
Abbas: I remember one key feature of Sony Ericsson phones that we introduced was the on-device-debugging and profiling capabilities. This was very appreciated by developers, since it saved them many hours when debugging and tweaking their apps. Today, these capabilities are taken for granted for developers.
DW: What are some of the accomplishments achieved since you have been a part of the team?
Abbas: I would say the biggest accomplishment was when developers rated Developer World to be in the top three global developer program, two years after its conception.
Jonas: We’ve also introduced a number of successful initiatives aimed at supporting our developers, such as the Stand out from the Crowd program, which has given small and indie game companies new channels of visibility and marketing to showcase their games. And we’re continuing to work with developers by also linking them to Sony Pictures, in order to add movie-themed offerings to their gaming propositions. The Unlock boot loader service is another popular tool that helps advanced developers put custom ROMs on their phones.
Abbas: And last year, XDA-developers honoured us as OEM of the year, for our support of independent Android OS developers.
DW: Did you think that Developer World would be around for as long as it has?
Abbas: When we first started this program, we knew this was a long-term commitment. Mobile broadband networks were just being deployed, mobile handsets were becoming more powerful with open architecture and there was a large industry growth for applications and games. .
Jonas: I would say that the developer program is even more important now, than it was ten years ago. And with our initiatives toward openness, we’re continually striving to meet the challenges of the ecosystem, and to capture and grow outside ideas and nurture them.
Big thanks to Abbas and Jonas for the interview. And if you have any suggestions for how we can make Developer World even better, drop us a line below in the Comments field, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.