updated 09:50 pm EDT, Mon May 2, 2011
RIM dashes hopes of BlackBerry 7 Flash or Android
RIM in conversations Monday night revealed that had no plans to support some of the features in BlackBerry 7 that it did in the BlackBerry PlayBook. The company no longer planned to support Flash on the current BlackBerry platform and would wait until the phones were sharing the same QNX-based roots as the PlayBook tablet. BB7 phones like the Bold 9900 also wouldn't qualify to run the OS and would need at least a dual-core replacement, handheld software manager Andrew Bocking told PCMag.
Accordingly, the phone wouldn't run the Android app wrapper developed to fill out the PlayBook's app library. Bocking didn't provide an explanation for the decision, though the need for app support isn't as serious on phones. BB7 already runs a form of Java but also has access to a much larger, 15,000-plus app catalog where the PlayBook has just a fraction.
More details of phones using a QNX-based OS are expected for later in 2011.
The decision to skip both could still create hesitance among some buyers and would also be a setback for Adobe. RIM signed on to support Flash in October 2009, just as 10.1 was being announced, but has only committed itself to using Flash on the PlayBook so far. RIM's current plans would put Flash on the BlackBerry at least two years after and leave Android and webOS as the two platforms sharing mobile Flash.
One of the few holdouts against Flash, Apple, has partly sided with RIM. CEO Steve Jobs argued that performance was a factor and has been waiting on desktop-like performance along with security and stability.
RIM was hoping to offset possible resistance through some of the upgrades to BlackBerry 7. The phone's native OpenGL ES 2.0 support gives it performance much closer to that of the PlayBook for 3D games and accelerated video. NFC and more advanced motion sensors also improve its standing for apps and should keep it more on par with rival platforms.