RIM to allow Android apps on PlayBook

New optional 'app players' will let users download Android and BlackBerry Java applications

Research In Motion announced on Thursday that users of its PlayBook tablet will be able to run Android and Java applications.

The capability will address one criticism often lodged against the PlayBook: an expected lack of applications.

"This completely takes the apps question off the table," said Chris Hazelton, an analyst with The 451 Group.

The PlayBook, which becomes available on April 19, will have two optional "app players" that will provide run-time environments for BlackBerry Java apps and Android 2.3 apps. The players will let users download BlackBerry Java Apps and Android Apps from BlackBerry App World.

The applications won't work automatically in the PlayBook app players, however. Developers will need to "quickly and easily" port their apps to run on the tablet OS, RIM said.

They will also have to repackage, code sign and submit their apps to the App World for approval.

Hazelton doesn't expect those hurdles to be too cumbersome for developers. "This is good for Android developers, who get to target another device," he said.

Because opening up the PlayBook to Android developers, who have already built 200,000 applications, will make the tablet more attractive, BlackBerry is sure to work hard to make that process easy for developers, he said. While RIM has been criticized for having a difficult developer environment, it has improved it recently and should continue to do so with this announcement, he said.

The app players will run in a "secure sandbox" on the PlayBook, RIM said. Typically software makers use sandboxing techniques to prevent hackers from gaining access to other parts of the device. Data is protected because a bug in one program doesn't give the hacker access to other programs or data on the device.

RIM has already talked about the similar way that it silos data in the PlayBook, keeping work e-mail separate from personal e-mail accounts like Gmail or Yahoo, Hazelton said. "This sounds like the same approach," he said.

RIM also said it plans to make it easier for developers to build PlayBook apps by releasing a native SDK (software development kit) for the PlayBook enabling C/C++ application development on the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AndroidPhoneshardware systemsconsumer electronicstablet PCslaptopsresearch in motion

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?