The chances of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet running Android apps officially always seemed unlikely, and even when a RIM representative showed off the tablet doing so at MWC, it was still hard to believe such a feature would make it to the production model.
However, RIM have sent out a press release and made it official, the PlayBook will indeed be able to run both BlackBerry and Android apps! The wording goes something like this: developers will have to port over apps, a process described as being ‘quick and easy’, which will then appear in an optional ‘app player’ all ready for use.
So how quick and easy is this process? Repackage, code sign and submit is how RIM phrase it, which certainly doesn’t sound too difficult. The ‘app players’ will be separate downloads from BlackBerry App World and is a ‘safe area’ for Android and BlackBerry Java apps to run.
Rather than accepting apps designed to run on Android 3.0, RIM say Android 2.3 apps will be the ones available for conversion, which isn’t a bad thing given the massive amount already available.
This is a significant step for RIM, and it should make the PlayBook even more attractive to buyers. The PlayBook is set for release in the USA on the 19 April, and a little later in the UK.