BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet to Run Android Apps
Sources confirm a surprising feature of Research In Motion's upcoming tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Despite the fact that it doesn't run Android, the PlayBook will be compatible with Android apps.
Bloomberg sources corroborate several others who have said RIM is looking for a way to make the PlayBook compatible with the 130,000 apps in the Android Market. Previous sources indicated the PlayBook would run the Java VM Dalvik, which would run Android apps inside the tablet's operating system. However, Bloomberg reports RIM is looking for a different solution.
Regardless of the method, this is a smart move for RIM. In this digital age, a manufacturer's app ecosystem is – in some ways – much more important than the hardware itself. The PlayBook is running a new operating system, so the number and quality of apps available at launch would be limited. But by making the PlayBook compatible with the thousands of Android apps already in existence, RIM instantaneously increases the functionality , and thus the desirability, of its fledgling tablet.
This news also opens up the possibility that BlackBerry phones may eventually be compatible with Android apps, a possibility that will be especially enticing for BlackBerry smartphone owners.
There is no official launch date or pricing for the BlackBerry PlayBook, but recent tips indicate it will be around $499 and launch this April.