Android Apps On Blackberry Playbook: How It Works

Rim stirred up a lot of controversy when they announced that the first ever Blackberry tablet the Playbook would feature the ability to run Android apps. Rim remained tight lipped on the subject after but recently finally announced the details on how it works.

How It Works

The Playbook has a feature they call the “app player” which functions in much the same way a virtual machine does. The draw back is that the average user can’t freely access this app player and install any APK (Android app file type) they wish. How it works instead is that anyone who has developed an Android application that they would like to make available on the Playbook has to recompile the application the way Rim suggest and then submit it. The app will then either be approved and placed in Appworld or denied. So while technically the Playbook does run Android apps it is not as simple as moving a file and you still have to get them from Appworld.

What It Means For Consumers

In theory, the plan is to have a large number of already developed apps available for download while new Playbook specific apps are being developed. In actuality, however, it’s a lose lose for consumers who likely feel lied to by the claim that the Playbook will “run Android apps.” Further, the policy seems to penalize developers who want to develop for Blackberry. If both Android apps and Blackberry apps have to go through the same process and are both featured in the Appworld then there is absolutely no benefit to develop native Blackberry apps since all it seems to do is cut out more than half your potential market share. With IOS 5 on the horizon and more and more Android based tablets being released each month Rim needs to find a middle ground and start attracting developers or their entrance into the tablet market may be over before it begins.