March 30, 2011

BlackBerry PlayBook to support BlackBerry Java and Android apps

RIM has confirmed that its upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet that’s based on the QNX-designed BlackBerry Tablet OS will have access to Android apps. To be very specific however, this does not mean that the PlayBook will have access to the Android Market. Instead, RIM will provide certain Android applications at its BlackBerry App World, which have been ported by third-parties.

The message to take away here is RIM’s veiled announcement to developers – port popular BlackBerry Java and Android apps to the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture-based BlackBerry Tablet OS! The operating systems have a “high degree of API compatibility” according to RIM, making the job of porting much simpler. The ports however, will work in a sandbox environment. RIM says it will be launching "two optional 'app players' that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java apps and Android v2.3 apps. These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook."

 As is evident, RIM has now joined the recent trend of companies taking advantage of the rapid growth of the Android platform and ecosystem, with Amazon also taking the call a few days ago to offer Android users an Amazon-branded app store – Amazon Appstore for Android

RIM also revealed that the BlackBerry Tablet OS will have native C/C++ development support added, in addition to HTML5, Flash and AIR support. It has also partnered with some of the leading game engines, including Ideaworks Labs (AirPlay) and Unity Technologies (Unity 3).

PlayBook and future QNX-based BlackBerry users really have nothing to lose from this move, while Google is probably sniggering at how this open call to leach apps from the Android Market is only going to drive its growth harder. The PlayBook, releasing on April 19th, will also support BlackBerry Java applications.

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