The PlayBook will launch with capabilities to run native apps, Android 2.3 apps, and Adobe Air apps.
RIM has confirmed in an email to Mashable, Berryreview, and other large tech blogs that their upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will in fact run Android 2.3 apps, along with native apps for their new SDK, and Adobe Air apps. This is a big move for RIM that has left many scratching their heads.
The answer lies in the fact that RIM isn’t ready with their new SDK. In fact, it won’t even be in open beta until June, which means that there will be a period where the PlayBook wouldn’t have any applications to run on it. It will be interesting to see the performance issues (if any) as RIM will probably be utilizing a virtual environment to simulate Android, or at the very least a conversion layer.
A caveat is that Android developers will have to develop for 2.3 (Gingerbread). Many developers looking at making tablet-geared apps are targeting Android 3.0, which could prove troublesome to backport apps to 2.3. In addition the apps will need to be repacked and code-signed for submission to BlackBerry App World. This process has not been elaborated on in detail, but hopefully RIM has streamlined the process for developers.
Overall this is an interesting move by RIM. The support of Adobe Air is interesting, but has not been explained yet so the verdict is still out. Hopefully the performance is adequate enough to not sour users on the experience until RIM’s new SDK is launched. June is looking to be a big month for mobile.