RIM today revealed expanded application support for its upcoming Blackberry Playbook tablet. With two "app players" available from the online App World, the tablet will be capable of running Blackberry Java and Android 2.3 apps, as well as native C/C++ apps written for the new Blackberry Tablet OS. The company has also managed to secure deals with Ideaworks Labs and Unity Technologies to bring their cross-platform gaming engines to the Playbook.
While expanded app support is great news, some may argue that the future is all about web applications, and RIM has already got that covered too. The Playbook will have HTML5 and Flash support built into its WebKit-based browser, allowing web developers to bring their projects to as many platforms as possible with little effort. RIM is fully behind Adobe's offerings, also bringing support for Adobe AIR through a special SDK.
No mention has been made of Honeycomb (or Android 3.0) app support, but it's still early days for the Blackberry Tablet OS. Honeycomb is a tablet-oriented release and is expected to bring a range of apps optimised for larger screens, a particularly beneficial bonus for the Playbook. A key advantage to distributing app players via the online store is upgrades such as Honeycomb support can be made without pushing an entire OS update, so Playbook owners are unlikely to be left behind for too long.
The Blackberry Playbook will be released April 19th, and a beta release of its SDK is expected for this summer. The full press release can be viewed here.