Research In Motion yesterday released new versions of its BlackBerry development tools, including the BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE) Plug-In for Eclipse Beta 2 that's better integrated with the open-source IDE, can perform pre-processing for builds and receives updates through the Eclipse Update Manager. There are also new versions of the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio and BlackBerry MDS Studio, which can stand alone or work through Eclipse.

The BlackBerry Plug-in for Visual Studio allows users of Microsoft's IDE to visually construct applications for BlackBerry devices and RIM's Mobile Data System and application framework. I have seen RIM's drag-and-drop application builder in action, and it is sweet. Version 1.1 now lets your apps integrate with those included with the BlackBerry, and the plug-in works with Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Vista.

If you're using the Plazmic Content Developer's Kit to design BlackBerry themes, custom UIs, icons and wallpaper, you'll be happy to know that version 4.6 is out, with support for the latest BlackBerry Bold and Pearl flip phones. RIM reports that the Plazmic 4.6 CDK also now permits designers to integrate Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) with their customized themes, Web portals, games and other applications.

Earlier in October RIM began publicly beta testing BlackBerry JDE 4.7, its tools for the BlackBerry Storm. The version includes a Storm simulator, touch screen and accelerometer support, screen orientation and rotation capabilities and new APIs for a virtual keyboard and DRM certificate handling.