updated 08:10 pm EDT, Sat April 7, 2012
BlackBerry PlayBook to drop sideloading in update
RIM is dropping app sideloading support from the BlackBerry PlayBook in a bid to prevent the problems that have plagued Android, the company's Developer Relations VP Alec Saunders stated earlier in the week. The company would have a "solution" for developers to do it in testing, but the end user would have to go through BlackBerry App World, much like Apple does with the App Store. He believed Android had a rampant problem with piracy, where about a quarter of material was pirated.
Saunders didn't clarify whether that meant the number of apps in the store or the volume of downloads. Regardless, he saw developers as being worried about losing too much revenue and preferring the lockdown to a possibly very troubled Google Play Store.
"Piracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don't want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android Market [now Google Play]," he said.
The RIM executive wasn't worried about lost interest, as over 25,000 apps had been submitted in its last quarter, setting a record. He didn't say when the relevant update would arrive.
The piracy statistics weren't verifiable given a lack of cited sources, although a number of high-profile, cross-platform developers have mentioned it as a direct problem. id Software told Electronista last year that it was one reason the company wouldn't write Android games. Rovio has only ever offered the Angry Birds series on Android in a free, ad-sponsored form on the belief that Android users both had more ability and more inclination to bootleg paid versions.
The decision could still complicate development by making it harder to load apps than today. For the public, it prevents apps that might fall outside of RIM's approval conditions and gives Android a potential edge. RIM may be counting not just on developer trust but on the security advantages, as a closed infrastructure like Apple's prevents malware from easily getting in. [via CrackBerry]