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Official: BlackBerry PlayBook Will Run Android Apps

The BlackBerry PlayBook has been rumored (and proven) to have the ability to run Android apps for quite some time, but we were just waiting on RIM to confirm it.  Today, they did.  RIM plans on launching “app players” that will allow Android apps to run within, making this device instantly more desirable.  Everything will eventually be available in BlackBerry’s App World, including these Android apps which may come as a surprise to some of you.  How will that work?  Well, RIM claims that there is a “high degree of API compatibility” and porting apps over to be able to run on the PlayBook should be simple.

Hats off to RIM; talk about a great way to give the millions of Android users a reason to check out your new product.  While BlackBerry handsets are snoozing in the smartphone race these days, it’s hard to deny the impressive spec list and look of the PlayBook.  And priced at $499 for a 16GB model, who isn’t thinking about giving one a test drive?  With a dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, front (3MP) and rear (5MP) cameras, HDMI out, and Flash support, aren’t you at least a little interested now?

Press release after the break.  [Spec List]    

RIM Expands Application Ecosystem for BlackBerry PlayBook

  • BlackBerry PlayBook to support BlackBerry Java and Android apps
  • Native C/C++ development support added, in addition to HTML5, Flash and AIR support
  • Support from leading game engines: Ideaworks Labs (AirPlay) and Unity Technologies (Unity 3)
  • BlackBerry PlayBook becomes a new market opportunity for all the developers who have already created over 25,000 BlackBerry Java apps and more than 200,000 Android apps

Waterloo, ON – 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.

In addition, RIM will shortly release the native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook enabling C/C++ application development on the BlackBerry® Tablet OS. For game-specific developers, RIM is also announcing that it has gained support from two leading game development tooling companies, allowing developers to use the cross-platform game engines from Ideaworks Labs and Unity Technologies to bring their games to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Support for BlackBerry Java and Android Apps

“The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “The upcoming addition of BlackBerry Java and Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook on BlackBerry App World will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform.”

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.

The BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry Tablet OS are built on the QNX® Neutrino® microkernel architecture with a 1GHz dual core processor and a leading OpenGL solution, which allows RIM to make this incredibly broad platform support possible.

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) (www.blackberryworld.com).

BlackBerry Tablet OS Development Tools

The BlackBerry Tablet OS already supports an incredibly robust platform with support for Web development standard HTML5, through the BlackBerry® WebWorks™ SDK for Tablet OS, and Adobe® AIR®, through the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR. The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built from the ground up to run WebKit and Adobe® Flash® as well, giving developers a fast and true Web experience to leverage.

RIM is also announcing today that the BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Development Kit (NDK), which is currently in limited alpha release, will go into open Beta by this summer and be demonstrated at BlackBerry World. The BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK will allow developers to build high-performance, multi-threaded, native C/C++ applications with industry standard GNU toolchains. Developers can create advanced 2D and 3D applications and special effects by leveraging programmable shaders available in hardware-accelerated OpenGL ES 2.0.

Other features of the BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK will allow developers to:

  • Take advantage of the QNX POSIX library support and C/C++ compliance for quick and easy application porting and for creating native extensions for both BlackBerry and Android applications
  • Easily integrate device events like gesture swipes and touch screen inputs
  • Integrate the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment into existing code management and build systems using industry standard Eclipse CDT (C/C++ Development Tools)
  • Leverage work done in standard C/C++ to make it easier to bring applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS
  • Find and fix bugs quickly with provided debug and analysis tools

“The response to the BlackBerry PlayBook from the developer community has been exceptional. Our commitment to supporting HTML5 and Adobe AIR development has resonated and spurred developers to create fun and innovative applications for BlackBerry PlayBook users,” said David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion. “The upcoming BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK beta will add C/C++ tools to our repertoire and gives developers one of the broadest and deepest platforms to develop on.”

Gaming Engines

Building on the power of the BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK, RIM is working with leading gaming and application development technology providers such as Ideaworks Labs and Unity Technologies to implement their native engines and application development platforms. Developers will be able to take advantage of these engines when building games and other applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The Ideaworks Labs Airplay SDK is expected to include support for the BlackBerry Tablet OS soon, making it easy for publishers and developers to use their existing code to bring their games and apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook.

“Supporting a new OS can be a challenge for developers,” says Alex Caccia, President of Ideaworks Labs, “however, integration of the BlackBerry Tablet OS with the Airplay SDK makes this a non-issue. We think this is a far-sighted move by RIM: the BlackBerry PlayBook is a great device for games and applications, and combining this with content distribution via BlackBerry App World brings an exciting new ecosystem for developers.”

RIM has also been working closely with Unity Technologies, providers of the highly popular, multi-platform Unity development platform and Union, the firm’s games distribution service.  Through Union, dozens of high-quality Unity-authored games are slated to make their way to BlackBerry App World for the BlackBerry Playbook.
“With a sharp focus on the multimedia experience, very powerful hardware, and fantastic games in the pipeline, the BlackBerry Playbook has all the right ingredients to be a mainstream hit,” said Brett Seyler, GM of Union at Unity Technologies. “Through Union, Unity developers have an opportunity to reach a new audience and grow with another great new platform.”

Availability
The new app players for the BlackBerry PlayBook are expected to be available from BlackBerry App World this summer. More information and demonstrations of the new app players will be shared at BlackBerry World. The BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK will be available in beta later this year and will also be showcased at BlackBerry World.

Useful Links
For more information on the BlackBerry Tablet OS and BlackBerry PlayBook developing, visithttp://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/
To see the BlackBerry Tablet OS in action running conceptual applications from The Astonishing Tribe, please visithttp://www.youtube.com/blackberry#p/c/8D8C3A23664E6761/5/uH7NKhNyygw andhttp://www.youtube.com/blackberry#p/c/8D8C3A23664E6761/0/mWJG-sB7H4Y
For RIM insights into developing for the BlackBerry Platform, visit http://devblog.blackberry.com or follow @BlackBerryDev on Twitter.
Visit the BlackBerry Developer Zone at www.blackberry.com/developers for the latest news, information and updates for BlackBerry developers.
Visit the BlackBerry Developer Video Library at
www.blackberry.com/go/developervideolibrary to view a variety of instructional videos.
Sign up for the BlackBerry Developer Newsletter at
http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/resources/newsletter.jsp.
For the latest news and information about the BlackBerry Developer Conference visitwww.blackberrydeveloperconference.com.

About Research In Motion
Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry® solution in 1999. Today, BlackBerry products and services are used by millions of customers around the world to stay connected to the people and content that matter most throughout their day. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. RIM is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM). For more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.

  • http://twitter.com/vinaykrypton vinay

    Thanks for this information it really useful for me to know. Thanks Vinay from BlackBerry Application Development
    Team, KryptonSoft, India

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  • http://zezel.com/ Salvatiry Carlino

    Oh, Blackberry Playbook is one of the anticipated gadgets this year. The applications are so cool and it has a good connectivity. Well, anyone will really get interested with its features like dual-core processor 1GB RAM, front and rear cameras, and Flash support. 

     

  • http://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/shopping/ Cheap Shopping

    I think apple will lose its place. Android are getting bigger, and Blackberry will get sinking after their crazy genius’s breakthrough.

  • NEwTB

    just bring bbm to android so i can get on with my life, reading other peoples status makes me happy :)

  • Anonymous

    Imitation still remains the sincerest form of flattery.

  • Anonymous

    A Droid user with a Playbook? Might cause a glitch in the Matrix…

    http://www.csectioncomics.com/2010/11/iphone-vs-android-vs-blackberry.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Piotr-Laskowski/100001203033316 Piotr Laskowski

    Great, but android platform consists of services, widgets, data providers, shortcuts and a lot of APIs that goes deeply into platform (like contacts API), alarms, broadcast mechanism.
    So I may be easy to port a “open->use->close” app like a game or TODO list but not an app that runs in background, depends on system events like WiFi connection state, GPS data or allows to make backup of data. In my option those apps shows the power of Android platform that won’t be available on RIM.

  • Mrmojr1

    Don’t have a BB anymore but this will beat out all the other tablets, I’ve seen one in action and its sweet, laugh now but you’ll most likely want one later.

  • http://willsann.com WillSann.com

    NO

  • http://thisisjohncoffey.com GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    Android-powered Blackberry? {{-_-}}

  • Shopbuy11

    So why does a Nook Color with 2 cameras cost twice as much? Oh, it’s a crackberry!

  • Stiwrx07

    its a blackberrry……… lol

  • http://twitter.com/Paulw252 Paul Wiss

    Does this mean we will get BBM on android?

  • http://twitter.com/davidbutlerjr David Butler

    looking for a career at RIM? go to http://rim.jobs

    • Cfry01

      Does anybody want a rimjob?

  • the kidd

    this actually sounds really nice especially since the playbook is running its own form of QNX, doubt you will see any backwards compatibility of bb stuff on android phones, this is honestly something Rim needed to put them over the edge to be considered a solid competitor with the other cutting edge devices, I agree with the comment scout said which was how the apps will work on what seems like it will almost be emulated though Rim has stated its all in the API and have been working with game dev amongst others they were able to implement this into their OS im not sure id buy it but sounds nice i just rock godfather OG-droid and beagleboard XM

    • Marc Sumter

      .

  • JohnPA2006

    This explains why verizon just dropped the price for the ipad 1, 16gb to 299
    because once this playbook comes out, RIM combined with Android apps.
    It will be coming through like a freight train.
    AND IT PLAYS FLASH !!!!

    RIM PLAYBOOK FTW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Fing A !!!

    • Anonymous

      I think the iPad 2 explains why they dropped the price.

  • Anonymous

    you’re right, you would have to be not thinking in order to try this…

  • FortitudineVincimus

    “making this device instantly more desirable.”

    bwaa ha haa.. not to me, not in any way

  • Anonymous

    This shows how desperate Rim is. And here I thought Rim already had “super apps”.

  • Anonymous

    Still waiting for that Toshiba. Good play by BB to bring android apps on board.

  • SL’AmDroid

    does this also mean it’s eas to port the best of BB apps over to Android?

    • Anonymous

      The best of Blackberry apps are worse than the worst of Android apps.

  • http://twitter.com/amd683 AMD Dude

    This won’t last long, lawsuits on the way

    • Anonymous

      Over what? I didn’t read the whole thing because I’m busy buy the general overview doesn’t lead me to believe that might happen.

    • Anonymous

      How so? RIM is just taking advantage of what is essentially a programming language. RIM is making developers resubmit their apps to Blackberry App World, so its not like they’re exploiting the Android Market or any of Google’s apps, just making it easier on developers. Also, Google appealing this would go against the openness of Android. This really isn’t different than an extremely customized version of Android to Google and RIM isn’t asking for the core Google Apps (YouTube, Maps, Android Market, etc.). Android is free, so its not like Google is losing money outside of Android market purchases, which they lose to manufacturers like Archos and Toshiba who use their own app markets anyways. This is mainly for not meeting Android requirements, but nonetheless, Google doesn’t go after them. This will help Android by creating even more reason to develop for Android.

      • Bob

        gOOGLE IS BARery makes no money out of the Android market.

        They only want to takes over the world, and destroy everycompetition

    • Anonymous

      How so? RIM is just taking advantage of what is essentially a programming language. RIM is making developers resubmit their apps to Blackberry App World, so its not like they’re exploiting the Android Market or any of Google’s apps, just making it easier on developers. Also, Google appealing this would go against the openness of Android. This really isn’t different than an extremely customized version of Android to Google and RIM isn’t asking for the core Google Apps (YouTube, Maps, Android Market, etc.). Android is free, so its not like Google is losing money outside of Android market purchases, which they lose to manufacturers like Archos and Toshiba who use their own app markets anyways. This is mainly for not meeting Android requirements, but nonetheless, Google doesn’t go after them. This will help Android by creating even more reason to develop for Android.

  • Rizzidy

    blackberry-life

  • Anonymous

    I think that this is great for the growth of Android Apps, but it does not make me want a PlayBook. I like Android for the operating system, throwing Android apps into Blackberry OS doesn’t make me want their device. I do think it is good news for Android though, just not reason for me to go out and buy a Blackberry tablet, especially with how awesome Honeycomb is.

  • tjhrulz

    So it runs them but it really doesn’t its like as if they are ported over doesn’t sound like much and the devs will have to approve and send them over, I thought it ment that we could just drop the apk file on it and install, you should clarify this a bit kellen

  • Xkartiel

    wow thx a lot BB i was having such a hard choice between Galaxy tab 10.1 vs xoom vs 8.9 tab vs Optimous 3D
    Now you come in the picture not cool not cool at all :)

  • http://twitter.com/RageXicity Mike

    Understandable, how thrilled would iPhone fans be if they could run Android apps with Google

    • http://twitter.com/jbernard703 Jeff Bernard

      not thrilled at all. every app that i’ve used which is available on both iOS and Android is superior on iOS. not sure why i would want to use worse app.

      • Qman

        Google Maps

        • http://twitter.com/jbernard703 Jeff Bernard

          Google maps is not an available app on iOS. There is a Maps apps which is baked into iOS, but yes Google Maps and Voice Controls are superior on Android.

  • Anonymous

    Apps will be available “once approved”. Sound familiar??

  • Scout 247

    Awesome, might have to reconsider this now that it’s true. I am worried bout performance of Android apps though

    • http://www.cheapchanelhandbagssale.com/ chanel handbags sale

      you’re right, you would have to be not thinking in order to try this…