The General Motors infotainment team is in town this month. As part of their activities for the Chicago Auto Show, they were kind enough to host the Chicago HTML5 Meetup at the Skyline Loft in Bridgeport, giving the attendees an opportunity for a close up look at an Alpha release of GM’s in dash hardware. It’s early days for the automobile as an application platform, so the event was a unique opportunity to speak with the product managers, engineer and customer support leaders.

GM announced the app framework at CES earlier this year and are working toward completing a release version of the hardware, software and APIs for model year 2014. For the folks that braved a particularly harsh Chicago winter evening, our hosts provided some insight into what it taken to get the new platform ready for launch.

It’s great to see another platform for HTML based applications. I’m not sure that the HTML5 technologies will be the right fit long term, but as we’ve seen on iOS, Android and now the new Blackberry OS, HTML5 web apps can provide a means of transitioning an existing application to a new platform and can allow developers to build and test a market with new functionality. I find this pattern really interesting. Mostly, be cause it allows a broader base of developers to bring ideas to market with a lower cost of entry. Certainly, that is was GM is banking on.

I wonder what other platforms we might see for HTML5 in the near future and I’m curious to see how Responsive Web Design will fit into this as we begin to develop a single application with UI that adapts not just to multiple screen sizes but to multiple contexts as well.

I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, http://developer.gm.com is worth a look.

With the release of the new Blackberry phones and BB OS 10, there has been plenty of news, reviews and speculation. The hardware specs, software improvements and Blackberry’s viability as a business have been covered in plenty of detail.

As a developer, I’ve found it especially interesting to see the specific attention paid to the Blackberry web browser’s HTML5 compatibility and rendering speed. I think most developers developers are going to welcome any new competition in the mobile browser market as a good thing for feature and performance innovation.

I’m not likely to rush out to pick up the new Blackberry (or Windows) devices based on their browser performance marketing, but I will admit that they have my attention. For a mobile device brand that myself and many of my peers have written off, Blackberry’s effort to get out ahead of the pack with a fast standards-compliant browser seems like a step in the right direction.

Beyond the browser, I’m also pleased to see the effort that the Blackberry team has put into supporting mobile and front-end developers with many of the familiar tools that we use for Android and iOS development today. Blackberry’s GitHub (http://blackberry.github.com/) and the documentation for the Blackberry HTML5 WebWorks platform (https://developer.blackberry.com/html5/) demonstrate the possibilities for developing HTML5-based applications for the Blackberry using open source tools like Appcelerator and Cordova.

This is great to see, because it means near zero investment is necessary for curious developers to try their hand at creating applications for the Blackberry. I would have laughed at the suggestion a few months ago, but looking around the documentation and some of the code in the GitHub, I’m feeling a willingness to give it a try myself. I can’t imagine that I’m the only developer with that sentiment, which probably bodes well for Blackberry.