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PlayBook To Get Its Android On

David Gilbert


PlayBook To Get Its Android On

When we got our hands on RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook at CES last month, we were all very impressed. The one issue we did have though was whether or not there would be enough apps produced to keep consumers happy, especially those used to the myriad apps available on iOS and Android devices.

It seems as if RIM could have been thinking the exact same thing. Three different anonymous sources have today told Bloomberg that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps which would instantly give users access to more than 100,000 apps currently available in the Android Market. The sources quoted by Bloomberg didn’t want to be identified as the project is not yet public. They added that RIM is planning on making this function on the PlayBook available in the second half of 2011.

Despite rumours previously that RIM could be using Google’s Dalvik, the Java software used in running Android apps, to bring this functionality to the PlayBook, the Canadian company has decided against it for several reasons. One of these is an ongoing patent dispute between Oracle and Google over the software, two sources said. RIM has instead opted to keep the project in-house which would have helped secrecy – though that seems not to have worked all too well.

With the PlayBook ready to be launched this quarter in the United States with every where else to follow, it will face stiff competition from the Motorola Xoom, the iPad 2 and the plethora of Android tablets about to flood the market. On the back of this news, RIM shares rose 5.2 percent to $66.88 which was its biggest gain in three months. RIM’s App World currently only has about 20,000 apps available for users and a move to instantly boost that to almost 150,000 would seem like a no-brainer to us.

Source: Bloomberg


February 11, 2011, 5:57 pm

Though of course, they have just killed native app development for QNX, which basically means that it's not really a platform any more. Why not just use Android and have done with it?


February 11, 2011, 7:05 pm

@Matt - regarding app development on QNX - seems RIM are another company that just don't get it. People want native apps written to exploit the power of the tablet they've invested in.

Virtualisation of an Android environment within QNX is likely to push the processor harder and almost certainly translate to poor battery life.

Still, it underlines that RIM do at least have a handle on how important it is to have some kind of ecosystem behind their Tablet. However, it remains to be seen how well the Android emulation integrates with QNX - e.g. the small but important details like shared clipboard, access to the contact database, diary entries, email, alarms & notification services, etc.


February 11, 2011, 8:06 pm

Having many native apps available for your platform is what makes the platform strong and relevant i.e. people need your platform to run apps they can't get elsewhere, or if they have a big investment in your software, then they are reluctant to switch platforms. If all your software runs on arguably your greatest competitor's platform (because that's where it natively comes from), what do you have? Android is perpetually an update or a front-end away from relegating your platform to history.

I understand that this move is perhaps necessary to get people to consider picking up a PlayBook, but if so then the platform is already dead. No one will bother porting their Android apps to QNX if it's unnecessary to do so to reach the RIM userbase. All it will do is increase Android software sales.


February 11, 2011, 9:43 pm

Am i the only person who doesn't give a flying monkeys about how many apps are in the market? I care more about WHAT apps are available and if they are high quality and not shovelware (which almost 90% of apps on Android marker are).


February 12, 2011, 2:22 pm

@Simon - take your point... quality > quantity. However, without some decent native apps, it could be argued that a tablet is just a very expensive mobile web browser.

For my money, I want more utility and entertainment, on a device that is a pleasure to use.

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