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BlackBerry Devices May Run Android Apps

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the western-civilization-would-be-a-good-idea dept.

Android 158

crankyspice writes "RIM is allegedly prepping the QNX-based operating system running their forthcoming PlayBook tablet to run Android applications, according to a Bloomberg article. As RIM has stated that the QNX platform will run at least some of its upcoming smartphones as well, this could cinch Android's status as the lingua franca of smartphone application environments, especially with BlackBerry's current market leadership and Android's explosive marketshare growth."

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what i'd like (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189378)

Is a job at RIM. You know what that is called?

Re:what i'd like (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189390)

A bad pun.

Re:what i'd like (5, Informative)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189398)

You joke, but their jobsite url is actually http://rim.jobs [rim.jobs] .

Re:what i'd like (2)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189418)

Oh, that's hilarious.

But back on topic, as a blackberry user I'm not sure I'd want Android binary compatibility. Maybe I would, but the Blackberry really has a much better security record than Android, and serious malware in Blackberry App World is rare, which can't be said of the Android Market Place.

Re:what i'd like (2)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189490)

Yeah, with an actual on-topic comment from me now, speaking as a former BlackBerry user who moved onto Android, some Android apps could be just what BB needs. Most of the stuff on App World was simply useless to me, whereas the Android Market has had lots of very useful stuff in the short time I've had the phone. A real pity, since what the BB does it does very well (communication, email, phone etc - Android doesn't hold a candle to the BlackBerry).

Re:what i'd like (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189526)

The interesting thing will be to see how it is implemented. More specifically, how they handle the sharing of phone-related resources(address books, dialer access, memory card contents, etc.)

Merely getting Dalvik, or a JVM tweaked enough to act like it, up and running on QNX would take work; but wouldn't present fundamental challenges. Nor, unless you really screwed it up, would it be more dangerous than the potentially-untrusted java applications you can run on Blackberries.

However, that also wouldn't be too terribly useful. A fair number of phone applications depend, for their usefulness, on access to some amount of the outside world. Having a completely separate address book on the blackberry side and the "android" side would get really old, really fast. On the other hand, Mr. Corporate IT, MCSE, is going to be very, very unhappy if he learns that some skeezy android application is siphoning off the internal company directory to some offshore FTP site because RIM has provided the android environment with a link to the Blackberry side.

That seems like it will be the really tricky bit(both in terms of security, and in terms of user experience elegance). In principle, the technical difficulty of dumping a tame android-compatible environment in all sorts of places isn't that high. Making it worth using, and making sure that it plays nicely with the host environment, requires more finesse....

Re:what i'd like (1)

Fuzion (261632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189624)

On the other hand, Mr. Corporate IT, MCSE, is going to be very, very unhappy if he learns that some skeezy android application is siphoning off the internal company directory to some offshore FTP site because RIM has provided the android environment with a link to the Blackberry side.

What prevents a blackberry app from doing this right now? I don't see this as a new problem introduced by android support so much as an issue with any malicious app whether for blackberry or android.

Re:what i'd like (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189832)

Fine grained security model where every action requires you to either trust the app or approve the specific action kind of like cookie tracking in browsers with a locked down policy. Also on the Blackberry you often can't just install any old app but have to have it approved by the BES Admin. Personally as a big fan of the BB platform and the backup BES admin for my company I think this is a great thing, the small app library is one of the biggest downsides to the current Blackberry solution so if we can use the huge library of software available for Android while keeping the better central management, security, and email capabilities I'm all for it =)

Re:what i'd like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190106)

That isn't effective at all when the app you downloaded uses its authorized connection to piggyback unwanted data. Until you audit the protocol and stream, it can't be assumed to be carrying only legitimate data.

Re:what i'd like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190080)

The existence of malware in the Android market hardly tarnishes Android itself; that would be like saying that Linux has a poor track record because you can download, chmod +xs, and run a rootkit binary. It shows that both are real operating systems, not TSA-like compounds with imaginary security measures.

"It's secure because it's hard to get in" is only hope-based faith meant to placate businesses. I should know: I RE viruses as part of my job. Pre-approved app stores which scan binary apps are a complete joke to any semi-competent malware author.

Re:what i'd like (1)

PhilipTheHermit (1901680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190504)

Yeah, but look at it from a developer's standpoint... This means that if you program for Android, you can serve 2/3 of the smartphone platforms out there with one code base. That's pretty sweet, you've got to admit.

The malware issue will probably be solved with updates over time, as Google figures out what people are getting up to and deals with it. Remember, Android is still pretty young. I'm sure it'll get better.

I think this is pretty cool, myself. I've already decided my next tool's going to be android, this makes it even more fun.

Thanks, Rim! Good job!

Re:what i'd like (0)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189450)

Jobs will stay at Apple.

Re:what i'd like (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189904)

Only if they build a Mausoleum on the Apple Campus.

Not meaning to be ghoulish. Just sayin'.

Consumer Victory (0, Troll)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189404)

Now if only RIM didn't make horrible hardware. If this is true, nothing but good news for the consumer. I'm not so sure we're going to like a Google response.

Re:Consumer Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189444)

I can't imagine Google isn't thrilled by this. It'll give them the one thing they really haven't quite been able to compete with Apple on: app-developers. Yeah, maybe RIM will staunch its bleeding a little, but this gives Android a huge leg up over the real competition, iOS.

Re:Consumer Victory (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189502)

Why are you still surprised when you're getting RIMmed, that the results are shit?

Re:Consumer Victory (3, Informative)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189520)

Horrible hardware? My ex's BB Curve got dropped into water about 5 times and survived. My old Bold suffered so many drops and pummelings I'm surprised it's still alive. Both had excellent keyboards which I now miss immensely having an Android phone.

It's underspecced, granted, but for communication, social networking and the like Blackberry is incredibly good at what it does.

Re:Consumer Victory (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189560)

But does it run Angry Birds?

Re:Consumer Victory (2)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189598)

If so I'd be overjoyed the hardware could handle a pummelling, given how much that damn game frustrates me.

Re:Consumer Victory (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190204)

The only problem I have had is the damn trackball, with my first curve the ball actually fell out and with my second it just stopped working...overall though the rest of the phone was great..I did notice the new ones ditched the trackball for a joystick so im assuming I wasnt the only one with trackball problems.

Re:Consumer Victory (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190236)

It's a quality build, sure, I'll giver you that. but it lacks in features and performance. Every argument about the hardware being great for RIM can be summed up with 1) It takes a beating 2) it has a keyboard. How about capable hardware with quality features. HTC and Samsung blow anything RIM has out to kingdom come. Arguing that RIM makes great hardware because it's a quality build is like arguing that a pioneer wagon is a great vehicle because it can handle rough terrain.

Re:Consumer Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190356)

My ex's BB Curve got dropped into water about 5 times and survived.

Bad breakup, was it?

Re:Consumer Victory (1)

anexkahn (935249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190388)

I have been known to throw my blackberry curve across the room when it wakes me up on Sunday morning. It still works as well as the day I got it. It also has 3x the battery life of my Motorola Milestone. (Yes I have two phones, Work and Personal).

There are not very many phones with the battery life, durability, and functionality of my blackberry.

Re:Consumer Victory (2)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189524)

Now if only RIM didn't make horrible hardware.

Actually, RIM hardware is quite good quality compared to most of the Android phones I've seen. Not the highest spec hardware, but reliable, solid, and with reasonable battery life. My friends' Android phones have dreadful battery life and feel clunky and toy-like in comparison.

Re:Consumer Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189946)

Reasonably battery life? It has the best mobile battery life/and carrier signal among all mobile devices. One of the reasons why people prefer BB over other devices is:
1) Battery life
2) BBM
3) Signal

Re:Consumer Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190184)

I've intentionally thrown Blackberries against concrete and they continue to work perfectly. No joke.

Re:Consumer Victory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189758)

It's ok they now have horrible software to go with it.

Horrible Hardware?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189940)

I don't like the current Blackberry OS, but horrible hardware?!
I'm not sure you know what you're talking about. RIM hardware is pretty darned well-designed. It may not be state-of-the-art (Torch) or anywhere close to pretty (8800, yuck), but the build quality is better than that of many of the phones I've used.

Blackberry market leadership? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189412)

Who knew?

Bistro Math [netdna-cdn.com] says Gartner.

Re:Blackberry market leadership? (1)

florin (2243) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189496)

Like TFA [wirelessan...lenews.com] says, they're talking about market leadership in North America.

It could also be said they're market leaders in corporate messaging devices.

Re:Blackberry market leadership? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189522)

More importantly, they're talking about manufacturer market leadership. Android just beat out Symbian, but Android=Moto+Samsung+HTC+... No single hardware manufacturer using Android beats out RIM. However, while RIM would be a big win and essentially cinch the Android marketplace as THE place to be, RIM probably needs Android more than Android needs RIM.

Re:Blackberry market leadership? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189574)

How is it germane who made the device?

Especially with regard to a story such as this where it is clearly the OPERATING system inter-compatibility that Rim is shooting for when making Android Apps run on Rim systems. The story isn't about making HTC apps run on a Blackberry.

The whole point of the article is about how Number Three is going to ride the coat tails of Number Two's apps in a desperate bid to preserve market share.

I seriously doubt Rim finds any consolation in the fact that they are getting beat by 4 or 5 manufacturers all wielding the same stick instead of one single competitor. Its pretty hard to put that on the bottom line in a 10K.

Re:Blackberry market leadership? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189578)

Like TFA [wirelessan...lenews.com] says, they're talking about market leadership in North America.

It could also be said they're market leaders in corporate messaging devices.

Quick, call J D Power and Associates. They will dream up a specific category that Rim can Dominate. Bring your wallet.

Re:Blackberry market leadership? (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189970)

The article show market leadership by manufacturer - not OS. That only makes the summary misleading, since it refers to the Android OS as comparable. They're two different things.

But, at least the firms creating these numbers have their terminology correct. Nielson ignorantly refers to installed base as "market share," which makes everything they put out suspect.

Did someone with IBM help them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189438)

Because this strategy really helped OS/2 claim the desktop market. Oh wait, it didn't? OS/2 is dead now?

Re:Did someone with IBM help them? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189586)

Actually, that's what killed OS/2 (and yes, I was there). It had no Win32 compatibility, nor did it have device driver compatibility. Hence, it could never gain any traction, especially with Microsoft developer-friendly policies (and IBM's developer antagonistic policies). When IBM started selling PCs with both OS/2 and Windows 3.1 (!!) installed, and you had to actually go through a number of steps to change over to Windows 3.1, people still chose 3.1 simply because of the application and hardware compatibility.

It is true that IBM licensed Win16, but that was pretty much headed out the door at the time.

Re:Did someone with IBM help them? (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189922)

What killed OS/2 was that it had Win16 compatability, which let a lot of air out of the tires of any vendor tempted to build a native port of their app to OS/2. Then Win32 came along and the apps that would run on OS/2 slowly aged and faded away.

Re:Did someone with IBM help them? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190046)

You really think OS/2 would have done better with *less* compatibility? Developers would've flocked to re-writing their applications because the OS/2 API was so superior and their applications would be so much better that they would make oodles of more money?

I'm just not seeing how developers would've been attracted to rewriting their applications for a (very) minority product.

Versus this scenario: IBM makes OS/2 Win32 and device driver compatible, and then advertises that they're "Absolutely, positively, 100% Windows compatible, except better in way A, B, C, ...."

The reason Microsoft won and everyone else lost is because Microsoft has always understood that backward compatibility is essential to success.

Re:Did someone with IBM help them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190650)

Lunix with WINE has Win32 compatibility. How is that working out for you?

Re:Did someone with IBM help them? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190686)

When Linux has Win32 compatibility that's "absolutely, positively 100% compatible" then we can talk.

Not using Dalvik? (1)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189446)

RIM had considered using Google's Dalvik, the Java software used in running Android apps, and decided against it for reasons including an ongoing patent dispute between Oracle Corp. and Google over the software, two people said.

Would a clean-room implementation of an interpreter to run Dalvik bytecode actually evade the legal issues with Dalvik itself?

Presumably they have licensed Java properly for their mobile devices. Are they just going to translate Dalvik bytecode back to Java bytecode, and run Android applications that way?

Re:Not using Dalvik? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189554)

My understanding is that(unlike copyrights) patents are unaffected by cleanroom/non-cleanroom status. A patent confers a monopoly, for a limited time, on whatever it covers, period, whether the other party is copying you, an independent discoverer, or cleanrooming.

On the other hand, since Blackberries have traditionally run a JVM, Sun licenced and all, they would presumably have a license to use the patents at issue. I don't know whether the license under which they have that use would preclude their producing a "Dalvik mode", which would be mostly the same as their JVM; but with the necessary changes to run Android stuff...

Re:Not using Dalvik? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189582)

Considering in the about section of the phones list sun Java I'm pretty sure rim licensed it properly

Re:Not using Dalvik? (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189692)

Are they just going to translate Dalvik bytecode back to Java bytecode, and run Android applications that way?

It would have to be something like that, though I doubt it will be on-the-fly. And Android isn't just Dalvik, it has its own set of APIs and a core Linux kernel as well. I posted some thoughts on this [infoworld.com] a couple weeks back over at InfoWorld.

Re:Not using Dalvik? (2)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190024)

I don't think the problem is the Java license.

In order to be able to be able use of the Sun/Oracle patents, the VM (Dalvik or a clean-room version of it) must pass the TCK (compatibility suite). Since Oracle will not license the TCK, passing this compatibility test is impossible. Therefore, shipping a VM without this would would violate the Oracle patents (just like what Google is being sued about). In order to implement a JVM on the BB, they would have to use the certified Java ME, which is crap and pretty pointless since it won't give them the Android platform their looking for.

The only way I can see BB pulling this off is to use Java ME for the JVM, implement the Android API on top of it, and translate the Dalvik binaries back to bytecode as you suggest above. From what I know about the Dalvik format, that would be quite a challenge, but who knows.

I suppose it's possible that BB could be getting some special dispensation from Oracle to get around the patent issue, but I find it highly unlikely that Oracle is going to help anyone wanting to put Android on their platform.

Re:Not using Dalvik? (1)

eyegone (644831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190108)

I can imagine that Oracle would be quite happy to accept RIM's money for an "Android patent license". It would be exactly the (market) precedent they want.

Re:Not using Dalvik? (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190618)

BB already uses a JVM.. that's what BB OS is

Re:Not using Dalvik? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190052)

I won't speculate on what RIM are doing behind closed doors but I suggest you read up on IcedRobot [jroller.com] , announced this week by a handful of IcedTea/OpenJDK enthusiasts. Mario Torre specifically mentions replacing Dalvik with OpenJDK's Hotspot VM, targetting QNX and, yes, decompiling Dalvik to standard JVM bytecode.
Java SE is heavier than Java ME but for the current generation of 800+Mhz CPUs, it's less of a burden. Of course the Java ME APIs would need to be emulated [microemu.org] for 'legacy' blackberry apps but if the QNX-based Blackberry OS represents a paradigm shift, legacy support mightn't be such a priority.

We need Apps that behave like any other "content" (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189454)

We need apps that truly are "content", the same way text, sound, and video are.. ie, playable pretty much anywhere. If Android can be that "format", we're saving a lot of sweat and tears.

Re:We need Apps that behave like any other "conten (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189528)

We're close to that already. With AJAX type apps, Java, Flash, etc., it's possible to run apps on different platforms and still look the same, use the same code, etc..
I've been running Chrome as my browser recently and have used the app store. Whether running on Win7 or RHEL6 or Ubuntu 10.10, it looks and feels the same.

Game changer (1)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189460)

Now this is a game changer. If the PlayBook has all the enterprise-y features it claims, nice hardware as specified AND supports most of the Android Marketplace apps, I think I wouldn't want any other tablet device but that.

Further evidence (2)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189462)

This may be more proof that Nokias action to become subsumed by Microsoft (and that's what it is) is a losing course of action for them.

Re:Further evidence (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189614)

You have to wonder why they went that way.

If they wanted to shed the cost of development of their own OS, the logical thing would have been to adopt Android.
Instead, they will send all that money to MS, and still have nothing of their own.

I was pretty disappointed to hear that news.

Re:Further evidence (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190728)

Really foolish of them to put themselves at the mercy of one of the most ruthless tech companies in existence.

If MS suddenly decide they don't want to sell WP7 to them or decides to price gouge them, Nokia is utterly fucked.

All the apps are reliant on WP7 not Nokia's hardware, your users will be MS's customers not yours.

I find it ironic that Nokia CEO list fear of commodization as the reason to join MS instead of Android, when all they will be doing soon is providing generic (and commodized) hardware for WP7.

Re:Further evidence (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190722)

Was going to post just this.

This is the way to do it IMO.

Nokia jumping in bed with MS was a retarded idea.

emulate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189466)

if you cannot beat them - emulate them

Very, very stupid idea (4, Interesting)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189492)

This is a horrible idea. Why would anybody outside of RIM bother to write apps for Blackberry if this happens? If they're really doing this, it just proves that RIM doesn't care about the user experience for Blackberry users. To have apps from different platforms mixing will mean that there's no consistency in look and feel. Native Blackberry apps will dry up (even more than they already are). Soon, people will say, "Why buy a Blackberry when I'm just running Android apps?" I don't really care whether RIM does it, because I don't use Blackberry or Android. (I'm an iPhone user.) I just think it's a really stupid business move. It's going to be hard for RIM to survive as an independent company, but this certainly won't help.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (2)

Alarash (746254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189530)

RIM's core market are business users. This market is safe. They are only trying to expand it to the general public, and for that you need apps. I guess it takes longer to fix your whole API than just throw a VM in.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189660)

This market is not safe. Business use is definitely RIM's core, but it is being chipped at tooth and nail. We currently have over 4,000 smartphones deployed, but according to our ticketing system for the last six months, we've only had 61 new BB devices activated as opposed to 170 iPhones and 282 Android devices. I expect as more of our older BB devices come up for renewal we will continue seeing this trend.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189664)

RIM's core market are business users. This market is safe.

No, its not safe.

Android is going after business as well. (Apple pretends to, but then insists you install a music player to manage a phone).

There isn't a single mainstream business platform that Android can't interact with, securely. Sometimes with built in apps, in other cases third party apps are better. Look at TouchDown some time as merely one example.

Rim was/is the leader in this, but they can't rest on their laurels.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189680)

are you fucking kidding me? rim is circling the fucking drain.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190740)

I guess it takes longer to fix your whole API than just throw a VM in.

Actually, I think it's a matter of setting the right class library used.

In the really old days, a Blackberry was an embedded 386 processor that used a special SDK that let you use Visual Studio to generate a bunch of DLL's (yes, the same DLL's that Windows uses) that were the apps. Since then, RIM went Java and Blackberry apps really are just Java apps.

Thus, running Android apps isn't much more work than implementing the Android classes and switching between the Blackberry classes and the Android classes.

Of course, non-market Android app selections are really thin - without the Google Marketplace (which requires licensing from Google), there aren't that many apps out there for easy download. Try it - try finding apps without using the Google Marketplace and it's not easy. There are other stores (SlideMe, APKTor, etc), but they don't have the coverage of the Marketplace. The only way around this on Android devices without Google is to pirate the marketplace app...

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189542)

Soon, people will say, "Why buy a Blackberry when I'm just running Android apps?"

I've said it twice in this thread so far: because for actual communication - SMS, email, phone, IM and the like - the BlackBerry absolutely spanks the iPhone and Android hands down.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

joh (27088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189584)

Soon, people will say, "Why buy a Blackberry when I'm just running Android apps?"

I've said it twice in this thread so far: because for actual communication - SMS, email, phone, IM and the like - the BlackBerry absolutely spanks the iPhone and Android hands down.

But you could implement those as well as Android apps (and/or add features supporting these to Android). What makes a Blackberry special (in a useful way) is not the OS. What people want is the features and maybe some aspects of the hardware. Maybe the "brand" or things like enterprise/business support. People don't buy Operating Systems.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189704)

What people want is the features and maybe some aspects of the hardware. Maybe the "brand" or things like enterprise/business support. People don't buy Operating Systems.

They do when the features they want are baked into the OS. BlackBerry's push infrastructure is still the best around, and it remains so because RIM has a lot of patents in this area which it defends vigorously. You "could" implement the same thing as Android apps ... and yet no one has.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190624)

What makes it special is that Blackberries CURRENTLY do those things well. Arguing that android COULD is irrelevant; its battery life and overall communication experience is not as good as blackberry's right NOW.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189662)

Soon, people will say, "Why buy a Blackberry when I'm just running Android apps?"

I've said it twice in this thread so far: because for actual communication - SMS, email, phone, IM and the like - the BlackBerry absolutely spanks the iPhone and Android hands down.

Okay, I used to own a Blackberry (a real one, not one of the consumer-grade ones). And I challenge the notion that it's superior for said purposes.

I find the keyboard on my Galaxy S phone to be eminently more usable than the Blackberry keypad.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189876)

I, personally, find the Android keyboard to be OK compared to the BlackBerry one. Not brilliant, not awful, just... OK. I definitely can't type as fast, and I'd say it restricts what I can do a little - I'd think nothing of banging out a few paragraph's worth of email or forum post on the BB Bold, but I find my Defy a bit clumsy for anything longer than a text message.

There's also the actual OS itself where the BB wins - I can't tell you how much I miss having a unified messaging list with texts, all my email accounts, Twitter mentions etc in one (although this is most likely a quirk of Motorola's thoroughly crap customisation of the Android system...)

To each their own, I suppose.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190156)

Android keyboards are hardly universal. Just to my knowledge there was:
- 1.6 virtual keyboard
- 2.x virtual keyboard
- 2.3 virtual keyboard
- Droid virtual keyboard
- Droid X virtual keyboard
- probably more device-specific virtual keyboards...
- a great many different hardware keyboards

2.3 was supposedly considered the most usable, which took a lot of ideas from Swype. And BB certainly is not better than Swype.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189954)

No it doesn't. Blackberrys have stupid little keyboards, whereas my Desire has a large, usable onscreen keyboard. Phone? Why is a Blackberry better than an Android for phone calls? "the like"? What's that? App support? Games? Ease of use? Blackberries are for girls, or people who get given them to use at work because their company is run by idiots who just don't get it.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189636)

Actually it's a decent idea. It gives them access to a large number of apps. With a quality ranging from "superb" down to "damn terrible".

Most of the decent BB-native apps are from RIM-proper. The third party environment comes in three classes.

Damn Terrible, OMFG!, and "Fuck this, I'm going to get an iPhone!"

I know of at least one app (essentially failed now) that used no less than SEVEN JAVA ENVIRONMENTS during initial implementation. Each of the various components of the app was written using a different one.

RIM's line of hardcore business users is (mostly) safe. Their current infrastructure can keep them going a long, LONG time. This just gives them another tool in their bag.

As for those who don't use the RIM infrastructure, these aren't really BB customers that RIM wants to (or will) cater to anyhow.

This way these people get some functionality out of their expensive paperweight. And if they migrate off to a native, gee whiz, Android phone, it's no skin off their noses.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189750)

To have apps from different platforms mixing will mean that there's no consistency in look and feel.

From what little I've seen from Android SDK, it seems that your average UI application should pick up the L&F from the system, for the most part - so Blackberry could just feed them its own.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189860)

Why buy and Android when I can get the same apps on my Blackberry?

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

orient (535927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189982)

It's a very good idea. I would be glad to add the Android apps that I need while keeping my Blackberry with its great enterprise integration.

Thinking the other way (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190126)

Actually, I was thinking it was the opposite - very good for Blackberry, and somewhat harmful for Android.

Here I'm speaking specifically of the Playbook. What Android tablet right now looks very compelling if you can run Android stuff on a Playbook later this year?

To me it seems like it could impact the momentum of the wave of Android tablets about to hit.

Re:Very, very stupid idea (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190718)

Why would anybody outside of RIM bother to write apps for Blackberry if this happens?

That's the point, with this idea they wouldn't have too.

Blackberry Playbook (1)

funky49 (182835) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189540)

I was at a Blackberry event earlier this week (stuffed myself mad with shrimp, clams & crab legs!) and noticed that the Playbook could run multiple environments and not just BB6. One of the other environments was Webkit. Well Chrome is made from Webkit and on Monday I got a CR-48 from Google so I asked the guy if the Playbook would be able to run ChromeOS. He hemmed and hawed and I interjected that I had to ask something good because my boss was in the crowd. He ended up telling the crowd to watch for upcoming news about what exactly the Playbook could run.

I was amused.

Ask IBM (3, Interesting)

joh (27088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189568)

They know very well how it "helped" OS/2 to be able to run Windows software... which meant that nobody wrote native OS/2 applications -- it ran Windows apps after all.

One thing I'm always wondering in these OS wars: You can take Android, leave out the Google App market and other Google apps and add your own instead. OK, this is some work but you're free from Google then, you don't even have to pay them license fees, and whatever you have to do yourself you had to do for your very own OS anyway: Write apps, supply services, build an ecosystem.

Microsoft could have done this: Build on Android, use Bing instead of Google, supply cloud services, offer an app market. And offer a port of MS Office. Instant victory.

RIM could have done that: Build on Android, add all the RIM messaging magic and some security features: Hit.

Nokia could have done that: Build on Android, adapt for low-end hardware (and Android *comes* from low-end hardware, at first it even didn't support touch screens), offer some high-end smartphones. They have 2500 developers working on Symbian (unbelievable but true). Discontinue Symbian, let those devs work on Nokia Android.

I mean, Android is Open Source, isn't it? OK, all the Google stuff isn't, but base Android is. Even if you don't get access to the Google Market it's easier to be fully compatible and just get the app developers to sell through your store instead of forcing them to outright port their apps.

I just don't get it.

And where's the Free Android distribution? With an own market with only Open Source apps? No, there's MeeGo instead... yet.

Re:Ask IBM (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189674)

And where's the Free Android distribution? With an own market with only Open Source apps? No, there's MeeGo instead... yet.

How about this? [openmoko.org]

Re:Ask IBM (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189764)

Microsoft could have done this: Build on Android, use Bing instead of Google, supply cloud services, offer an app market. And offer a port of MS Office. Instant victory.

It's more complicated than that. It would also entail Java as a development language, and Eclipse as the IDE (or else adding Java support to Visual Studio). After the past history of dabbling in Java, and given the ongoing Oracle-Google lawsuit, it doesn't sound like a good idea.

Re:Ask IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190474)

Android's Achilles' heel is Java. They should have provided a decent native API right out of the box. Something that could compete with iPhone in terms of performance and bare-metal development.

You can do that kind of stuff on Android (it is just Linux after all) but it's not easy and it's definitely not part of the intended design (the design relies heavily on the Java sandbox for security). In the end (as always) Java just can't quite do what native apps can.

Re:Ask IBM (1)

getNewNickName (980625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190704)

RIM could have done that: Build on Android, add all the RIM messaging magic and some security features: Hit.

Wouldn't that mean that RIM would have to open source their changes if they decided to use Android because of GPL? I don't think they want to divulge their secrets.

Re:Ask IBM (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190734)

No harm really.

Unlike Windows, Android is open source. Whatever changes comes to Android you can follow up in your own OS.

Your OS is effectively Android (from the view point of developers and users) in all but name to be honest.

So why run QNX? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189630)

If the shell is going to be the same as Android you may as well run android.

Re:So why run QNX? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190058)

Ok - that statement is just so funny I shot ginger ale out my nose.

QNX - hard real time, secure, micro-kernal that's been used about 30 years in a variety of circumstances
Android - Google's not hard real time, not-so secure, not micro-kernal mobile phone development foray with a few years of use

Re:So why run QNX? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190674)

Great! Where's the source code so I can verify that QNX is hard real time, secure, micro-kernel?

Sorry Nokia (0)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189718)

You aren't the Wright Brothers. You're not going to get off the ground, much like a turkey. Walled off in MS's garden, you'll never experience love like this...

Re:Sorry Nokia (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189774)

What the hell does Nokia have to do with TFA?

RIM win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35189744)

RIM =10 / Nokia=fail.

Hooray! Another platform for Android apps... (0)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 3 years ago | (#35189762)

...to crash on.

Lingua Franca? (0, Flamebait)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190038)

Lingua Franca? Yeah, except when it's not.

99.4% of all smartphone apps in 2009 were sold for iOS devices. The App Store recently passed its 10 Billionth download. Other competitors have come onto the scene and carved up the pie, but Apple is still in the lead.

Percent of App market (2010):
Apple App Store : 25%
Blackberry App World : 16%
Verizon Application Store : 15%
AT&T Application Store : 12%
Sprint Application Store : 10%
T-Mobile Application Stores : 8%
Windows Marketplace : 4%
Android Market Store : 2%
Palm App Store : 1%
Handango : 1%

While PC Magazine predicts that Android apps and downloads will one day surpass iOS, it is not there yet.

Re:Lingua Franca? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35190240)

where did you get these numbers from?
Please share the link to the source.

In this case for all that matters Android is Lingua Franca for 2 platforms, because both can run their code and sideload apps without "jailbreaking".

For all that matters, are they differentiate sold from just downloaded?
This is an interesting case for IOS and Android, most of the most famous apps for android are not paid but ad. supported. On the flipside IOS lets you use "lite" versions and everything else is mostly paid.... it'll be interesting to carve into these numbers before go out and said that IOS is bigger now feb-2011.
Even your own numbers dissected:
Android Market Store: 2% + Verizon app Store (Verizon caters to Android and BB, I will assume 50% to each) 7.5% + Sprint App Store (that also caters to Android and BB, I will assume 50% to each) 5% + Tmo (same logic here) 4% and ATT that has the 3 enviroments, hence 1/3 of the sales can be android 4%
This is 2+7.5+5+4+4=22.5% by adding BB into this mix it's larger by far.

The comparison here is not equivalent because the amount of devices in circulation is not the same among platforms; it'll be more representative if we weight the sale of apps by the number of devices in the market.

Re:Lingua Franca? (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190400)

Huh? Lingua Franca has nothing to do with how many people speak it natively. With Alien Dalvik and now this development you will be able to write one Android app and have it run on all platforms. ('cept iOS maybe... unless you jailbreak).

If iOS apps continue to only run on iOS, then it will be a parochial dialect no matter how many apps are written for it.

Re:Lingua Franca? (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190654)

Troll.

First, cite a fucking source. I call bullshit.

Second, you mix like half a dozen bullshit numbers together.

Third, your bullshit numbers don't even fucking make sense. If iOS sold 99.4% of all smart phone apps in 2009, and the very next year they had their lunch eaten by apparently everyone and are down to 25%, I would say that they are pretty well fucked. Going from near 100% of the market to a quarter of it in a single year is a sure sign that you are flat dead. Better sell you stock in Apple and buy some in RIM, because they apparently had at least 2600% growth from 2009 to 2010 according to your clearly non-fucking-sense numbers.

Emulating, pros and cons (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190066)

Maybe "emulating" is a too strong words for this. But anyway, is running programs made for one platform in another. And isnt the first case, you have wine, plenty of console emulators, virtual machines, and other approachs to make layers of compatibility.

As a clear pro, you have more apps/games/whatever. You have all the advantages of your current platform (stability, security, multitasking or some special native apps), and being able to run apps made for another. But as con you make devels to not develop for you platform too, and also somewhat say what your platform is not, and if the compatibility/emulation layer is not 100% perfect always will be something that will not run that could press your consume to "downgrade" to your competitors offering.

Of course, if the alternative is not to have those apps at all (at least not until getting popular enough, and you can get there into a chicken-egg situation) probably the best move would be to go forward with that.

THIS could cinch it? (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190218)

THIS could cinch it? The company I work for moves at the pace of a glacier. We're still running windows XP, office 2003 and and just got through a 2 year approval process to finally stop using IE6. But about a month after the first Androids were out they were approved and and deployed to nearly every manager in the company. It seems pretty cut and dry to me, Blackberry is dead and apple never really had a chance anyway. Whats sad is Microsoft could have had this market sewn up a decade ago but it seems like they've spent the past 10 years figuring out just how much fail they could stuff inside a PDA sized device. The fact that Palm Inc was kicking their ass back then with what could only be described as an OS slightly more sophisticated than an Atari 2600 (minus the color) should have told them something. Android, like all good ideas is something that you look at/use and then say "Oh yea, this is what everyone should have been doing all along." If I'm paying hundreds of dollars for a small device that I'm surely going to end up destroying in my washer at some point, the damned thing better do WHAT I want WHEN I want and HOW I want. I don't need Apple or Microsoft crawling up my ass, and for christs sake I don't need MS Office or iTunes on every god damned computer on earth. I know they make you guys a lot of money but for fucks sake, if I want that shit I'll put it on myself. Microsoft at least should have learned from their success, you make your software free, easy, unobtrusive until it becomes ubiquitous. Then when the whole world is dependent on you, you bring out the Vaseline and inform them that what follows will be just a tad less uncomfortable than what they'd have to go through to migrate away from your shit.

Embrase and extend and extinguish (0)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190284)

This sounds like RIM are performing an embrase and extend with the final step being inevitable on them selves !?!?

RIM has it backwards (1, Insightful)

Degrees (220395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35190308)

We're going to be dumping our BlackBerrys and our BES CALs because the Android and IOS devices can do almost as much, with far less security. The reality is that the big bosses want the latest high-tech jewelry, and the BB is The Old Stuff.

But RIM is fixated on selling the hardware of it's BB phone. The PlayBook is a large screen and keyboard for the BB phone. Your corporate email is still kept in the BB phone - not the PlayBook. I've got bad news for you RIM: no-one wants to wear two phones, one for work and one for personal. Even though the personal phones aren't nearly as good as the BB from a security standpoint, they are good enough. And frankly they are better at email/calendar/PIM/chat. Bye bye BB. And with that, I don't need a PlayBook either.

As an admin who has the duty to protect our information assets, I would far prefer to have those assets protected by our BES. It's an established solution and works well.

Instead of trying to make the PlayBook drag the BB along as the second phone (three devices total (are you serious RIM???)), they should be trying to give me the protection of the BES in my IOS or Android device. One device plus high security - that is an easy sell. At least this way they could keep that BES CALs revenue coming in.

Another thing wrong with switching over to personal phones is the mixing of personal data with the corporate data. But it will happen because the personal phone apps see integration as a good thing - it increases the data mining potential.

RIM is trying to make the walled garden larger by importing Android apps. I would far far prefer that my IOS or Android be able to launch the tiny walled (fortified with extreme prejudice) garden of my corporate data protected by the BES.

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