RIM Expands Application Ecosystem for BlackBerry PlayBook

by Volker Weber

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2011) - Developers wanting to bring their new and existing apps to the highly anticipated BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet will soon have additional tools and options to enhance and expand their commercial opportunities. Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced plans to greatly expand the application ecosystem for the BlackBerry PlayBook. The BlackBerry PlayBook is scheduled to launch in the U.S. and Canada on April 19. RIM will launch two optional "app players" that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java® apps and Android v2.3 apps. These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook.

Android apps, that sounds intriguing. But wait:

Developers currently building for the BlackBerry or Android platforms will be able to quickly and easily port their apps to run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS thanks to a high degree of API compatibility. The new optional app players will be available for download from BlackBerry App World and will be placed in a secure "sandbox" on the BlackBerry PlayBook where the BlackBerry Java or Android apps can be run. Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World.

That's kind of unlikely. And it's not done yet.

BlackBerry PlayBook users and developers who are interested in seeing the new app players for BlackBerry Java and Android apps can see demos at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida (May 3 to 5, 2011)

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Unlikely? To me this sounds kinda wishy-washy.

Martin Kautz, 2011-03-25

sounds like sales******it and later no one can fullfill.

Thorsten Ebers, 2011-03-25

So they’re going to be previewing the Playbook in May?

Is this thing ever going to come to market?

Ben Poole, 2011-03-25

In order to meet the 1Q11 ship date, it's coming out on March 50, 2011 (aka April, 19) in the US. Shipping in Europe in 2Q11 probably means a two digit June release.

Volker Weber, 2011-03-25

Vowe why do you think it's unlikely?

a) Do you mean the people adjusting their apps part won't want to target Blackberry consumers for an incremental cost?

b) RIM just announced a major feature they don't plan to ship?

c) Won't get customer take up because of UI model conflicts between OS etc

d) None of the above and you can't say :)

Actually seems like a shrewd move. It certainly tips the scales for me all other things being equal.

And seems very likely it will be robust, performant and fairly straightforward to run different VM's under something like QNX.

Stephen Hood, 2011-03-25

It reminds me of OS/2.

Volker Weber, 2011-03-25

Although I can't comment in specific, my opinion is that once people hear the specifics of the Playbook play, they will find that sadly, this is the beginning of the end of RIM as we know it today. There are some dramatic and profound limitations of the model they are pitching, that for me and others who heard the story in some detail, suggest RIM may have fallen extraordinarily far, far behind, to the point where they are going to have difficulty catching up.

Dan Lynch, 2011-03-25

Best comment so far:
"RIM PlayBook: Use QNX for performance, Android for compatibility, AIR for… uh… content stuff, HTML 5 if your name is “Robert” or “Roberto”…" Wil Shipley

Martin Kautz, 2011-03-26

I met one of their senior developers in the plane, indeed they are going to market with multiple api's, including a c++ one. Pretty neat if you ask me.

Maikel maes, 2011-03-29

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