BlackBerry PlayBook will reportedly support Google Android apps

Well, this is a bit of a surprise. Research In Motion – otherwise known as RIM and famous for the BlackBerry line of smartphones – is reportedly working to ensure that the BlackBerry PlayBook can support some apps from the Google Android platform.

BlackBerry PlayBook is RIM’s first attempt at entering the Tablet Computer market, by making a device that’s larger and fully touch-screen. With BlackBerry having never made a Tablet before, it’s hard to judge how good they’ll be at it until the Tablet has been in customer’s hands long enough – and considering there are already established competitors in the market in the guise of Apple’s iPad and the range of Android tablets, this means RIM will need something special to encourage users to take a look at it instead.

So RIM are reportedly looking at making the PlayBook compatible with Google Android apps, in order to widen their market, and increase familiarity from those who may be interested in switching from Android. The rumours come from Bloomberg, who cite the following statement, credited to “anonymous sources close to Google”:

RIM plans to integrate the technology with the PlayBook operating system, giving customers access to Android’s more than 130,000 apps, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the effort isn’t public. RIM, after looking outside the company, is developing the software internally and may have it ready in the second half, two people said.

However, RIM won’t be using Google’s Dalvik Java software due to patent issues.

Android certainly is growing in popularity, and given that we don’t have a BlackBerry tablet precedent, it might be helpful to have a feature that is familiar to a wider audience to bring more customers in. This doesn’t mean that the PlayBook is automatically going to be a strong alternative to the iPad and Android, but it will certainly garner some extra attention it might not have otherwise.

5 Responses

    • Not a particularly constructive comment, that one. Care to explain just what exactly you find so unbelievable about this news?

      If it’s the whole idea of Google Android apps running on a BlackBerry device – I must say I echo your sentiments there. When I read this news myself, I found it difficult to take it seriously – why would a major tech company embrace products from a competitor? – but it seems to be legit.

      I think it will be quite interesting to see how this all plays out. BlackBerry may have found a smart way to increase interest in their products with this move – but there’s also potential for it to bite them in the butt.

    • The playbook has been released without the promised support, but apparently they’re working on it. The way it’s going to work doesn’t sound ideal, but I think it’s a good move nonetheless. I like blackberries (not used the playbook yet though), but the selection of apps available isn’t great it has to be said…