updated 04:25 pm EST, Thu February 10, 2011
PlayBook now said likely to support Android apps
Rumors that RIM would have the BlackBerry PlayBook run Android apps gained credibility with corroborating claims on Thursday. The company is said developing an extension for the second half of the year that would let the tablet run apps for Google's platform along with its own. It was originally to have been outsourced but is now being developed in-house, Bloomberg heard.
The Java engine to power it wouldn't, however, be Google's own Dalvik. RIM had supposedly considered using it but wanted to avoid being embroiled in Oracle's lawsuit against Google for allegedly copying patented Java code in Android, according to the tips. Whether it would support Android 3.0 or just 2.x apps wasn't made evident.
RIM declined to comment.
The choice would be a radical step and would show the mobile designer attempting to hedge its bets for the PlayBook's release, due as soon as next month. BlackBerry App World has only just reached 20,000 apps and could see an effective reboot once the PlayBook ships, since many apps either won't be optimized or won't run at all. Supporting Android would immediately give access to as many as 100,000 or more apps.
Compatibility might still be an issue on the PlayBook. Without Dalvik, apps that are very closely tuned to Android might break or run poorly. Google could further break compatibility by accident with any future updates.