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BlackBerry PlayBook to run Android apps to prop up support

updated 07:10 pm EDT, Thu March 24, 2011

BlackBerry PlayBook adds Android app support

RIM along with its latest results confirmed that it would support Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook. The seven-inch tablet will have a Java engine that not only supports legacy BlackBerry Java apps but those running Android 2.3. The apps will need "players" to work but just need to be repackaged to be downloadable through BlackBerry App World.

Also coming is an open beta of the native SDK, which allows C or C++ code and theoretically much faster performance than the usual AIR, Flash and Java code for PlayBook apps. It should be accompanied by support from Unity Technologies' self-titled game engine to ease porting apps from other platforms.

Both Android support and the beta native SDK are due in the summer, RIM said. It's not clear what Java engine RIM will use, although it may want to avoid Oracle's lawsuit against Google over allegedly copying Java code in Android's Dalvik engine.

The move is a controversial one as it could give fewer incentives to write PlayBook-specific apps in favor of simply porting over Android versions. However, the company is known to have faced a dearth of app development and has been criticized for an unnecessarily complicated development process that also requires buying VMware just to emulate apps. Android would immediately, if artificially, prop up the usable app count and might lure users who would have otherwise gone for an Android 3.0 tablet.

The relative lack of development tools also stresses the rushed nature of the launch and RIM's determination to have an iPad competitor on the market. Apple has already been making deep incursions into business with the iPad and may leave many of them unwilling to get a PlayBook despite RIM's emphasis on security.

by MacNN Staff



  1. djbeta

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sounds messy.

  1. chas_m



    Kludge, 2011-style!

    Only two years behind Apple, and only 10% as elegant. Nice.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    should just drop Blackberry OS and go with Android.
    It's just a matter of time.

    -- Sent from my Android Device.

  1. SillyPooh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It was only a matter of time...

    Just look who caved!

    These guys had ONE good idea in their lifetime, and the rest is one bad decision after another! Instead of taking their sweet time and coming up with a solid platform and a killer feature, nooooooo, let's go in head first and burn.

    And oh dear G*d, why is their PR so horrendously bad? Have someone with half a brain front this company and prevent those managers and CEOs from EVER saying anything to the press...

    Oh Canada!

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RIM has made a series of good choices

    I don't think all of you understand just how respected OS maker QNX was in the industry - RIM made an incredibly smart choice to purchase QNX - and the right choice to use it.

    They need to leave the old Blackberry OS behind, it just wasn't designed for what people do with smartphones.

    RIM has entered prepaid, they've entered emerging markets, they've capitalized their strengths and competed where they can, and they're moving to patch their faults.

    No the QNX is actually better than Android, in terms of being a great functional OS.
    They don't need to just "adopt" Android, why? What would be the advantage in ignoring this world class technology that they already bought?

    They still have an incredible challenge ahead of them - get qnx as BB OS 7 or whatever, across their line, and do so very quickly.

    And then they have to think about someday actually releasing a high end phone - this is where management is stuck with their almost religious beliefs about where RIM has to fit into the marketplace, in terms of the value it provides carriers.

    No, grow up, you need a flagship phone, that drives sales to the lower end phones.

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