In a bid to make its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet more popular among consumers, Research in Motion is reportedly working on a special technology that could allow applications designed for Google Android operating systems to run on the PlayBook. Theoretically, nothing can stop RIM from installing the same tech onto its smartphones eventually to expand the choice of apps for its customers.
RIM plans to integrate the technology with the PlayBook operating system, giving customers access to Android’s more than 130 thousand programs, reports Bloomberg news-agency citing several sources. The software is developed internally and the company may unveil it in the second half of the year. The tablet itself is based on QNX software technology which RIM acquired last year.
Just like Google Android, QNX utilizes the common POSIX [portable operating system interface for unix] standard that defines application programming interfaces, utilities interfaces, shells and other technologies. Technologically, it should be relatively easy to allow Android applications to run on QNX. Moreover, theoretically, it is possible to make them work on other operating systems.
While the RIM BlackBerry platform for business and enterprise users is successful on its target markets, more and more are looking forward more advanced features, applications and other benefits from their smartphones. As a result, many users of BlackBerry are turning their heads towards Apple iPhone or Google Android platforms, which have better support from software developers. For example, there are 130 thousand apps for Android and only around 20 thousand for RIM's platforms.
In case RIM manages to make apps for Android work flawlessly on its Playbook tablet and eventually on at least some smartphones, it may gain a substantial advantage over all the other mobile platform holders. Potentially, the effort - which is currently kept in secret and may not materialize in case of significant technology issues - may wed ultimate security and best-in-class messaging capabilities of Blackberry with broad set of software designed for various phones and demanded by mass customers.
“It will be a shrewd move to let Android apps run RIM without any performance or user interface hiccups. It will make the RIM platform attractive to consumers as it lacks the strength of the rivals from an apps perspective," said Chetan Sharma, an independent wireless analyst in Issaquah, Washington.
RIM did not comment on the news-story.