RIM announces Android app support for Blackberry Playbook

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.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft buys $7.5m worth of IPv4 addresses

Next Story

Windows Phone 7: Why it's failing

19 Comments

As far as I know, Android app developers will have to still 'port' their apps to work on the Playbook. Just the SDK they released will make it easier.

RIM would probably get in trouble if they just ripped apps from the Android store. By the looks of it all developers need to do is run the same code through RIMs SDK and submit it to the App World.

Lexcyn said,
As far as I know, Android app developers will have to still 'port' their apps to work on the Playbook. Just the SDK they released will make it easier.

It looks to me like a compatibility layer, like Wine...

WIth the article and the first comment above, I would like some more information if it's possible to get hold of.

Nashy said,
WIth the article and the first comment above, I would like some more information if it's possible to get hold of.

According to Crackberry:

"Android apps won't come from Android Marketplace itself, but rather Android developers will simply have to repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World from where users will be able to download the apps."

Biglo said,
Well now all they need to do is return the favor and release bbm for android!

I see this as a joint deal...

And BBM would be exclusive to Android

Interesting. I wonder if they're testing the market so to speak. Would love for RIM to use Android with their own set of tools.

They're using QNX. They won't be swapping to Android after spending all this time getting QNX on the PlayBook.

what said,
They're using QNX. They won't be swapping to Android after spending all this time getting QNX on the PlayBook.

It may become more likely now but I would also like to see a BBM port to Android. I probably wouldn't mind paying a small bit for it. A friend of mine uses a Blackberry.

I want to buy a tablet and was thinking of the iPad 2 but wanted to wait and see what the PlayBook will have and how it looks. With the new info of using Android apps this sounds very interesting....

This isn't exactly a good thing for BlackBerry. If developers can easily port Android apps, why would they bother making apps tailored to BB itself? Clearly the Android apps aren't going to make full use of the PlayBook...so they could sorta be shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.

Bhav said,
This isn't exactly a good thing for BlackBerry. If developers can easily port Android apps, why would they bother making apps tailored to BB itself? Clearly the Android apps aren't going to make full use of the PlayBook...so they could sorta be shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.

I'm not sure it's true..

Developers want to earn money from the apps so selling the apps in more platforms means more money.

V-Tech said,

I'm not sure it's true..

Developers want to earn money from the apps so selling the apps in more platforms means more money.

I think his point was that there may be less apps targeted at Blackberry users.

shinji257 said,

I think his point was that there may be less apps targeted at Blackberry users.


Yep that was my point. I'm not saying Android developers would refrain from porting to BB. I'm sure they will.

The problem is that that's all they'll do. Where's the incentive to make proper BB apps if you can just port Android apps that sorta work reasonably "ok"?

Bhav said,
This isn't exactly a good thing for BlackBerry. If developers can easily port Android apps, why would they bother making apps tailored to BB itself? Clearly the Android apps aren't going to make full use of the PlayBook...so they could sorta be shooting themselves in the foot in the long run.

That's the great thing about a free market. If a developer finds he's selling a disproportionate number of his apps to Playbook users, and those users want different features/better compatibility, he'll be smart to pay attention to that.

Commenting is disabled on this article.