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RIM Confirms Android Apps Will Run On Playbook, Through Intermediate Players

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the when-fruit-meets-robot-companion dept.

Blackberry 113

angry tapir writes "Research In Motion has announced that users of its PlayBook tablet will be able to run Android and Java applications. The PlayBook, which becomes available on April 19, will have two optional 'app players' that will provide run-time environments for BlackBerry Java apps and Android 2.3 apps. The players will let users download BlackBerry Java Apps and Android Apps from BlackBerry App World."

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113 comments

efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608176)

i'm curious to know how fast the code would run with an intermediate player on limited hardware

Re:efficiency (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 3 years ago | (#35608308)

I'm not sure limited hardware is fair. Dual core 1GHz, 1 Gig of ram is going to be pretty much on par with dual core smart phones or smaller tablets.

The software side of things... I'm skeptical but you never know. Though RIM is aiming for the business crowd, not home users, so if its gaming performance on android apps is horrid I'm not sure that's a huge problem.

Re:efficiency (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 3 years ago | (#35609224)

I don't think intermediate player is as bad as the GP believes either. When I saw "intermediate player" I assumed that was market speak for Dalvik for BB OS. If this is the case, then the performance should be on par with the other Android tablets.

Re:efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35610580)

When the iPhone was demo'd, RIM thought it was all smoke and mirrors -- no device could get that kind of performance at that weight at that price with that battery life. At least no device that they built. I played with the playbook a couple months ago -- it's significantly heavier than an iPad and the performance is abysmal. It can't compete with an iPad let alone the iPad2. I've heard the battery life sucks, too, although I didn't use it long enough to verify.

Re:efficiency (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35610262)

Should be similar to running it an android phone, which uses a VM anyway. There is no "bare metal" system per se.

Re:efficiency (1)

rwven (663186) | about 3 years ago | (#35612288)

I'm guessing that by "intermediate player," they actually mean "Java Runtime Environment" or something to that effect.

Quality (4, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 years ago | (#35608178)

I wonder how the quality of the BB ecosystem will go over time though, sure it's a boon to have access to all the Android apps but will people develop native PlayBook apps knowing that they could just develop an Android one that runs on the PB *and* on Android devices?

Re:Quality (0)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 years ago | (#35608186)

I think the 2.3 limitation may give them a little lead time. The vast majority of Android devices out there right now are 22.1 and 2.2. Devs probably won't want to toss such a large potion of the user base.

Re:Quality (5, Informative)

TD-Linux (1295697) | about 3 years ago | (#35608210)

No, when they support the 2.3 API (revision 10), they also support all API versions below that. In fact, Google encourages developers to target the lowest possible API level to support needed features, to maximize compatibility.

Re:Quality (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 years ago | (#35613104)

I think I misunderstood the summary ... it would have been more clear if they'd said 'up to 2.3'. This is what I get for posting early in the morning.

Re:Quality (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#35608264)

Don't forget that for you to be able to load an app, it HAS to be from the BlackBerry Store. Even if it's an Android app. No side loading one yourself. No downloading from Amazon or the Android store.

So you can ONLY download an Android app if:
-it's designed for use on a phone [no Android tablet apps]
-the developer has signed up as a BlackBerry developer, signed and faxed the various documents to them, then uploaded their app to the store
-RIM has approved their app for sale

Somehow, I don't think most of the Android apps will be uploaded to the Blackberry store, and I don't think users will give a great value to having access to only the Android phone apps on their shiny new tablet. And people with Android phones will be doubly annoyed at having to repurchase any apps they want to use on their Playbook [assuming the apps are available, and of course, I see this group being very small, as the Playbook still seems to want to be tethered to a Blackberry phone].

Re:Quality (2)

narcc (412956) | about 3 years ago | (#35608348)

Don't forget that for you to be able to load an app, it HAS to be from the BlackBerry Store

Sorry, where did you run across this? You've been able to load apps of all sorts from virtually any source on BB for years -- why would this change on the PB?

I've been following this pretty closely, and RIM has certainly not mentioned anything remotely like this.

No, I don't believe a word of this. Your post is FUD, plain and simple.

Re:Quality (3, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35608410)

It's a pity Slashdot linked to some pay-per-click summary instead of the actual press release [rim.com].

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.

At least for Android, it sounds pretty clear that they're cutting Google's store out of the picture.

Re:Quality (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#35608430)

Yeah. It's possibly that RIM might enable you to side load it for end-users, but the press release makes it sound like RIM wants their 30%...

I really hope RIM lets developers side-load Android apps for debugging as the "high-degree of compatibility" should keep developers on their toes. This should also boost early sales of the Playbook.

And I wonder how running 2 different Java VM's along with separate native apps have on battery life...

Re:Quality (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35608572)

I wonder how running 2 different Java VM's along with separate native apps have on battery life...

It's possible they don't use Dalvik at all but have adapted their existing JVM to exhibit multiple personalities for both their existing Java ME applications and Android.

e.g. Implementing class libraries for both Java ME and Android but running on the same virtual machine architecture may reduce the footprint through shared libraries.

Re:Quality (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 3 years ago | (#35611330)

Dalvik bytecode isn't the same as Java byecode. If they use one executable to handle both, it's effectively 2 VMs anyway.

Re:Quality (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35612582)

the bytecode might not be identical but is sufficiently interoperable. Volunteer developers from the IcedRobot project have in a matter of weeks produced a java classloader to dynamically run a hello world application directly from a dalvik dex file with an eventual goal of running the entire android API minus dalvik VM.
i.e. Unmodified Android app binaries running atop a regular jvm.

Re:Quality (1)

narcc (412956) | about 3 years ago | (#35608492)

Thanks for that. I should have checked out the original source first

Still, it sounds like the signing process is just for App World. I just can't imagine that they'd do something as stupid as to only allow Android apps via App World. As it stands now, on just about any current BB smartphone, you can install any app you want from your computer, the web, or (at least in OS 6) from an SD card.

The walled-garden approach would be a huge mistake for RIM.

Re:Quality (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35608586)

It depends on how Android apps on QNX actually work.

(1) If they've ported dalvik from Linux to QNX then dex binaries might work unmodified from the Google App Store.

(2) If they've adapted their existing JVM, a translation from dex back to standard java bytecode may be required. (Android translates java bytecode into a special format for execution on dalvik)

The second scenario imposes a technical limitation on repackaging an app for BB. The IcedRobot project is using a special Java classloader, 'Daneel', to interpret 'dex' files on the fly - whether RIM are doing something similar is anyone's guess.

Re:Quality (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 years ago | (#35610882)

You've been able to load apps of all sorts from virtually any source on BB for years -- why would this change on the PB?

Well RIM has to adapt to the new business model that Apple has made so successful. Blackberry has had apps for at least ten years but it was difficult to find certain apps because each ISV had to market their software individually. Hanadango [handango.com] (founded in 1999) capitalized on that problem starting in 2003 for the Symbian [wikipedia.org] platform and adding new platforms as they materialized.

Add to that the fact that the PlayBook is running QNX [wikipedia.org] and not legacy BB OS and it's not hard to see them making it difficult to install or sideload apps.

Re:Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35609688)

-the developer has signed up as a BlackBerry developer, signed and faxed the various documents to them, then uploaded their app to the store

That cant possibly be right. Where on earth is the developer supposed to find a fax machine?

Re:Quality (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#35608202)

Uh, not sure if you've ever used a Blackberry but there's almost no apps available for it currently despite the fact that it has the largest installed base of all smartphones. I installed more useful apps the first day I had my Android phone than I had in the previous five years of owning an array of Blackberries.

Re:Quality (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 years ago | (#35608296)

I support Blackberry's all the time. RIM has a great business model in how they cater to their corporate base users. Their OS however leaves much to be desired. It would not suprise me if they (at some point in the future) move to a core Android OS running a Blackberry framework to maintain the GUI, BES, and BIS functionality.

Re:Quality (1)

tycoex (1832784) | about 3 years ago | (#35608334)

This would actually be really cool. A blackberry phone running Android as it's OS.

Re:Quality (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35609288)

Such a device would also have full Exchange support without having to have fscking BES. That would be amazing. The only reason we buy Blackberries is because of their international roaming rates, not the devices themselves.. which are generally awful.

Re:Quality (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 years ago | (#35611176)

Such a device would also have full Exchange support without having to have fscking BES. That would be amazing.

That would be amazingly awful. There is a reason companies go with RIM's solution and it has everything to do with the BB/BES (client/server). For starters it is so secure not even your companies IT department or RIM itself can easily intercept data (They can still get to it easily on the Exchange server). Add to that the near bulletproof reliability (yes there have been notable exceptions and they are so noted) compared to Activesync (goes down at least once a month here) and the fact I frequently get emails on my BB BEFORE I get it in Outlook (Good luck with that on Activesync).

Re:Quality (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35611760)

We've never had a problem with DirectPUSH/ActiveSync here. We did however have a problem with BES not playing nicely with the DNS server. Likewise whenever I've left DirectPUSH active on any of my phones, they beep before Outlook gets new mail. Anecdotal evidence is pretty pointless.

Any IT dept can "easily intercept data" just by logging into your Exchange account. IT in fact need to be able to access employees' email if someone is off sick, dies, whatever. Acting as if your IT dept is somehow your enemy is moronic.

Likewise if RIM want to read anyone's email, they will be able to do it. Even if it is currently not possible for them to do so (highly doubtful), it wouldn't take much to modify their system to make it possible. All BB emails go through their private network.

The only compelling reason for us to use Blackberries are the cheap international costs. Using reasoning like "my phone gets an email half a second before Outlook" to say that blackberrys are better than any other mobile email capable devices is incredibly fanboyish - it has very little relevance to the real world. Likewise, DirectPUSH works over HTTPS and so the connection from ActiveSync devices to the Exchange server is just as secure as from Blackberries to BES/Exchange Server.

In addition to all that, once an email is out in the real world it is no longer secure anyway, unless the message has been encrypted somehow. Email is not a secure protocol..

Re:Quality (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 years ago | (#35612212)

It's clear you are not aware of the primary reason most companies use BES. If you are interested here are some links that should be enlightening.

RIM's security encryption explained
http://us.blackberry.com/ataglance/security/features.jsp [blackberry.com]

India threatens to shut down Blackberry service because they cannot snoop on BB users.
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/blackberry-encryption-too-secure-national-security-vs-consumer-privacy/5732 [zdnet.com]

Re:Quality (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35612682)

It seems more likely to me that you are unaware what's actually going on in that diagram. I would expect a slashdotter in the 6 digit range to understand this stuff (I already knew how it worked before looking at the diagram just from what others have said about it), so maybe I'm just interpreting what you're saying wrong, but it seems to me that you're just falling for marketing hype without looking into it. How about explain to me in your own words why it's more secure, rather than just linking to a pretty diagram?

From the sounds of it, BB encryption only applies between the device and the BES Server (which is often the same as the Exchange server, especially for small businesses). It is no more or less secure than Exchange<-->mobile communication (which is over HTTPS). BES encryption is not end to end unless both the sender and receiver are Blackberry devices. Likewise anyone sending from one Exchange enabled device to another has the same level of encryption, only without having to pass through 3rd party (ie RIM) servers - apart from your ISP's servers.

The Indian government wouldn't be able to snoop on any company's exchange Exchange<-->mobile communication, any more than it would be able to snoop on any other HTTPS traffic. In our own organisation we use a self signed cert, so nobody else will be able to snoop on us (unless MS have left some weakness in certs issued by Windows servers, but you'd think that would have been discovered by now..).

The main reason we use Blackberries is for the cheap international plans, like I said.

Re:Quality (2)

narcc (412956) | about 3 years ago | (#35608370)

It would not suprise me if they (at some point in the future) move to a core Android OS

I doubt it. RIM bought QNX [wikipedia.org] last year which will debut on the PlayBook. Rumor has it that RIM will adapt the OS for use on their upcoming line of smartphones, putting an end to their aging OS.

Re:Quality (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 3 years ago | (#35608214)

I wonder how the quality of the BB ecosystem will go over time though, sure it's a boon to have access to all the Android apps but will people develop native PlayBook apps knowing that they could just develop an Android one that runs on the PB *and* on Android devices?

It depends how well they can get the device to run Android apps. Android is all open source, so they could probably just use a lot of the Android code outright -- which means that the Android apps will effectively be running natively on Blackberry devices. At that point there might be some small advantage to a native app vs. an Android app, but it's got to be smaller than the benefit of having all the Android apps that never would have had native Blackberry versions.

Re:Quality (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | about 3 years ago | (#35608354)

The store will immediately get spammed by fart apps, e-books, calendar apps and all sorts of usual crapware. To have lots of mediocre apps might actually be a problem, users might bump into series of bad apps and overall experience is made worse. This move also discourages serious developers as they would need to compete with all the gimmicky devs. Hopefully the native BB apps will have another section in the App World store just to set them apart.

Re:Quality (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#35608464)

will people develop native PlayBook apps knowing that they could just develop an Android one that runs on the PB *and* on Android devices?

Very likely. There are two official frameworks for PlayBook apps. One is HTML5 - and this is easily made portable to iPad right now, and those upcoming webOS tablets shortly. Another is Adobe AIR, and the attractive thing about it is that there are many existing developers and designers familiar with it, which can now apply their skills directly on a mobile platform with first-class support (as opposed to, say, AIR on Anrdoid).

Re:Quality (2)

yuri benjamin (222127) | about 3 years ago | (#35609492)

I wonder how the quality of the BB ecosystem will go over time though, sure it's a boon to have access to all the Android apps but will people develop native PlayBook apps knowing that they could just develop an Android one that runs on the PB *and* on Android devices?

I think this was one of IBM's mistakes with OS/2 Warp. It ran Win3.1 and DOS apps so well that no-one made native apps for OS/2.

Re:Quality (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#35609992)

yes they will if they want to make better programs than the competition - and they will have to do that. however it'll be interesting which vm is fastest on the device.

Sideloading (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 years ago | (#35608180)

I hope they're not afraid of a little competition and allow side-loading and other app stores. It's be a shame to see yet another device that you don't really own.

Sideloading is possible for BB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608960)

Sideloading is absolutely possible for Blackberries now. This is how I distribute my GPL licensed app [goo.gl] (to not to be bound by warranty obligation). So I do not see a reason why RIM should forbid that for apps to be running in a sandbox.

Re:Sideloading is possible for BB (1)

egork (449605) | about 3 years ago | (#35609272)

this was my comment, did not notice that FF4.0 have not took over the cookies from the 3.6

Re:Sideloading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35609188)

Well, the N900 (phone) lets you do what you want with it. It comes with a flavor of Debian, it can even run Android Froyo (NitDroid) along propietary Maemo 5, and it will get Meego (1.2 developer version already exists). Therefore it has some kind of support for Ovi applications, Android app store, Maemo software set, Debian / Ubuntu software repositories and the upcoming Meego support, if such exists.

It still didn't sell that much, only because it didn't maintain the coolness factor like Apple devices do. It was too complicated and a bit unpolished for the general public (I bet UTF-8 contains the proper bug symbol somewhere...). People just want to buy good looking devices with simple UIs, as they want to look cool and smart after paying 600 dollars/euros on some shiny gadget they prefer for social status. This applies to phones, tablets, netbooks, cars, etc. They don't use their devices to do the things they are actually able to do (big news!). All of this leads to the fact that the PlayBook's app store feature is useless, as nobody bothers to set it up, unless they want to show it off to their friends. I am not an Apple fanboy (or is it fanboi, I never got this one.. :/ ), I use the N900 daily (To trolls: yes, Nokia executives should kiss my feet before I forgive them for abandoning me & Qt/Meego strategy).

I wish the user interface design taught to sw engineers would contain more UI layout design and content placement design. I was constructing a CSS stylesheet for MythWeb to use N900 as a remote control for my MythTV PVR. Sadly (?), I was awed of the quality the existing iPod UI has. It is pleasant, simple and informative. Most of developers don't seem understand the value of this. Adoptable user interfaces can be built without crippling the extendability.

For the record, I'm an Anonymous Coward, because it just is too complicated and boring to set up a Slashdot account (or any web page account for that matter). The OS should provide a general interface for this and the web pages should use it. Computers exist so that we don't have to do these things twice.

TRG

Re:Sideloading (1)

egork (449605) | about 3 years ago | (#35609294)

Having an app signed is a good thing for business devices. It takes away the burden of verifying every single one developer of that 99cent flashlight app yourself. On the other hand I totally get the GPL3 motivation. So may be there is a meaningful way that resolves both challenges - the one of a user and of a tinkerer.

Re:Sideloading (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 years ago | (#35610204)

The Canonical repositories do a wonderful job for Ubuntu, I think. I still don't want them to be my only option of course. I think Ubuntu has a nice compromise.

"Complicated and boring" (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 3 years ago | (#35609752)

You're a developer and you find registering for a web site too complicated and boring? And you create css stylesheets? You then propose that the OS should create boilerplate and provide auto logins?

Who was it said that UI interface designers mostly wouldn't recognise security if it stood in front of them with its name in big red letters an a T-shirt and hit them with a clue bat till they got the point? Probably me.

Re:Sideloading (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 3 years ago | (#35613168)

It still didn't sell that much, only because it didn't maintain the coolness factor like Apple devices do

Yes, I'm sure that's the only reason, and not the fact that it was not available in any US carrier's store.

People just want to buy good looking devices with simple UIs

What's wrong with that? Simple is good.

They don't use their devices to do the things they are actually able to do (big news!).

Like what? Who are you to tell me what I want to do on my device?

For the record, I'm an Anonymous Coward, because it just is too complicated and boring to set up a Slashdot account (or any web page account for that matter). The OS should provide a general interface for this and the web pages should use it. Computers exist so that we don't have to do these things twice.

In other words, you're lazy. It takes 2 seconds to create an account, and afterward, your browser is going to remember who you are.

Re:Sideloading (1)

tooyoung (853621) | about 3 years ago | (#35612970)

I hope they're not afraid of a little competition and allow side-loading and other app stores. It's be a shame to see yet another device that you don't really own.

Like the Wii, PS3, X-Box, and the various handhelds?

This is a great move for RIM (5, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 3 years ago | (#35608188)

Doing this gives Blackberry devices a chance to compete on merit instead of on how many apps they have. And it gives developers a unified target for app development -- make an Android app and it will run on both Android devices and Blackberries, which strengthens both platforms at the expense of their other competitors.

This is what Nokia should have done.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 3 years ago | (#35608318)

Amen. The question becomes how they are going to handle sideloading and competing markets. That recent Slasdot story about the guy trying to register & develop for them sounded like a nightmare.

/Also, I'm in no way biased. :)

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

furiousgeorge (30912) | about 3 years ago | (#35608408)

>>The question becomes how they are going to handle sideloading and competing markets.

If you read the story, you'd know why it's not an issue.

YOu can't use the android market.

Apps have to be repackaged for BB.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 3 years ago | (#35608514)

See that sounds like an issue to me as a developer. All these different stores, with different approval processes, is far from ideal. Anyways I did read it but things change. My hope was that a lackluster number of Android developers willing to repackage their app for one specific device would make them rethink the policy. If they make it too much of a hassle they will end up with the same 1000 apps that you can get on any device. Netflix, Pandora, Where, NYTimes, NPR, Angry birds, etc. Which to me seems like it defeats the purpose of adding Android to the mix.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#35608696)

YOu can't use the android market.

RIM don't have a choice on that one. Google wouldn't license the Market to them.

I can't see any reason why a common app store couldn't be used by both platforms though. Don't forget there are already a handful of competing app stores on Android. It would be a big competitive boost for one of these to support Android + BB. Unless RIM blocks side loading (for the app store app itself) I can't see this NOT happening.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (-1)

furiousgeorge (30912) | about 3 years ago | (#35608374)

If by 'great' you mean terrible.

So to recap, they want you do to app development with :

-Adobe Air.
-Oh yeah, or BB java apps.
-And have a runtime for some Android stuff at some unspecified point in the future (and if you didn't bother reading, apps have to be repackaged for BB).
-Also have the "WebWorks SDK for Tablet OS".
-Oh yeah, and they're bringing out a native C/C++ API.

The phrase"'rudderless ship" comes to mind. 4 completely different API's to get on the thing.

Clusterfuck. No third party is going to take them seriously until they can get their story straight... and the thing hasn't even shipped yet.

No wonder their shares fell 10% today. If i owned any I'd be looking for the exits.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (2)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 3 years ago | (#35608448)

You understand that you as a developer can just pick one to use and not worry about the others, don't you? More is better.

And the idea that apps have to be packaged for Blackberry is no real impediment if the packaging process is sufficiently automated. If they can get it to where all an Android developer has to do is check the box that says "package for Blackberry" then there won't really be any reason not to do it.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

furiousgeorge (30912) | about 3 years ago | (#35608528)

>>You understand that you as a developer can just pick one to use and not worry about the others, don't you? More is better.

Yeah. I also understand pragmatism.

I also understand that most things in the world are finite. Especially development resources.

Worring about 4 different ways 3rd parties can get code on the platform is a nightmare for RIM. Thats a huge amount of wasted focus, effort, and resources.

And as an outside developer, I *know* it's untenable. Something will have to get cut loose at some point. And the question is, do I feel confident enough on the gamble that the API I pick isn't the one that gets the shaft?

You may not agree with it, but I guarantee thats the calculus a lot of folks are doing.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

narcc (412956) | about 3 years ago | (#35608540)

Clusterfuck. No third party is going to take them seriously until they can get their story straight.

I seem to remember a lot of outrage here on Slashdot last year when Apple tried to "get their story straight" when it came to iOS development:

Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs

It seems developers want to have lots of options.

No wonder their shares fell 10% today. If i owned any I'd be looking for the exits.

That would be a bit short-sighted. They're still the #2 smartphone producer in the world, and have been growing rapidly over the past three years. With Nokia (#1) likely out of the game for the rest of this year, RIM is well positioned to expand into Nokia's territory.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608660)

"...make an Android app and it will run on both Android devices and Blackberries, which strengthens both platforms at the expense of their other competitors."

Right. Make a least-common denominator app that runs across both platforms, and which fails to showcase the technical advantages of either one.

Sounds to me like it's a great way to commoditize your platform, not strengthen it.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 3 years ago | (#35608914)

Doing this gives Blackberry devices a chance to compete on merit instead of on how many apps they have.

What merits? The android apps run in what amounts to an emulator. And they have to be repackaged to do so. And no Honeycomb apps. (You know, those apps that are actually designed for a tablet.) They are only now releasing the "real" SDK, so native apps are a long way off. I can't imagine who besides a BB lover would want to buy one now.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (3, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 3 years ago | (#35609180)

Doing this gives Blackberry devices a chance to compete on merit instead of on how many apps they have. And it gives developers a unified target for app development -- make an Android app and it will run on both Android devices and Blackberries, which strengthens both platforms at the expense of their other competitors.

Seems like a poor idea to me as it means developers won't specifically target the playbook, instead relying on their existing Android developments.

OS/2 suffered the same problem with it's Windows compatibility. No-one actually wrote anything for it as they just targetted Windows instead knowing that it running on OS/2 was an addition benefit.

Whilst it may mean they get access to hundreds of applications immediately, the longer they leave it, the more dependent they are on maintaining compatibility with Android in order for their platform to succeed - and they could have got themselves into that mess far cheaper and easier by just releasing an Android tablet.

Compatibility didn't kill OS/2 (1)

Comboman (895500) | about 3 years ago | (#35609912)

OS/2 suffered the same problem with it's Windows compatibility. No-one actually wrote anything for it as they just targetted Windows instead knowing that it running on OS/2 was an addition benefit.

That is the frequently cited reason for OS/2 having few native apps, but I don't believe it. Windows95 ran DOS apps. OSX ran MacOS apps. Playstation1 compatibility didn't stop developers from writing games for PS2. Being able to keep their old apps after making the transition helped all those platforms immensely. In my opinion the reason developers didn't write native apps for OS/2 is simply because it had a very small installed base compared to DOS or Windows 3.0/3.1. IBM could have fixed that by lowering the price and doing bundling deals with computer manufactures like Microsoft did. Hell, even most genuine IBM PCs didn't come with OS/2 unless you paid a lot extra; you'd think IBM could at least cut itself a good deal. Eventually IBM started wising up, but by that time Windows95 was entrenched and OS/2 was no longer compatible with current Windows apps. At that point they couldn't even give it away (I have a free copy of OS/2 Warp somewhere in my basement that I never installed).

Re:Compatibility didn't kill OS/2 (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#35610414)

3rd party programs and hardware support.
those are the reasons we ditched os/2 at home after a short while - and you know what, it didn't actually multitask up to it's reputation that much better than win32. and finding free programs was actually a bitch. which is actually what j2me and bb's java are pretty good for, finding some small programs to do some small thing, exotic unit converters for example and android support helps with this too.

however! the most interesting thing here is that they're proposing to run android apps OUT OF LINUX, on QNX(just running them on other mobile linux platforms is already a proven concept).

the qnx access on playbook though seems to be totally closed.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 3 years ago | (#35609732)

I disagree. This is an admission of defeat. This move will drain any and all remaining motivation from developers to develop native BB apps. Why develop an app for BB (and iOS and Android) when you can just focus your effort on iOS and Android? Yes, it's good for Android, which I'm sure many people here will love, but it pretty much spells the death of BB as an OS - desire to develop apps for BB will vanish which will lead to it's demise.

Now, if Blackberry intends on becoming just a hardware company, than this move helps them in that effort but I suspect that's not their desire...

Re:This is a great move for RIM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35613222)

This presumes that the only reason to use Blackberry software is for the apps. As Blackberry users have noted above, RIM platforms have NEVER been strong on apps. So why are they so popular?

Security.

RIM has a reputation for top-notch security in both its hardware and software - that's why businesses invest in Blackberry devices.

As long as you can still run the apps you want, who cares whether they were developed for the Playbook specifically? But if you had to give up that trusted security to use those apps (such as by using a native Android platform, which does not have the same reputation), that would be a deal-breaker for many businesses.

It's important to see here that RIM's focus here is not to displace Apple/Google in the apps market, it's to keep current in the device market.

Re:This is a great move for RIM (1)

intheshelter (906917) | about 3 years ago | (#35610024)

The big problem BB has is that competing on merit will leave it bankrupt in short order. I've had several for work and they are the worst POS phones (from a usability standpoint). I'll grant they are tough, but a tough POS is still a POS.

java is a success story (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608220)

Since its introduction, it has taken the world by storm. Applications run perfectly anywhere.
Write once. Run on Mac, Windows, Linux. Works great. Threads, networking. And it is
also very secure as applications are sandboxed.

Combined with XML, RMI, JB, servlets, SWING, ACID, JVM, WORA, API, JRE, JEE,
JIT, JDK, CORBA, IIOP, JDBC, AWT, NIO, etc. it offers a powerful environment.
And it is object oriented that is OO!

And pretty much all universities teach it. Did you know even Oracle is partly written
in Java, it has improved their product tremendously! All desktop computers com
with Java preinstalled - working perfectly. And most applications these days
are also in Java - if nothing else this should prove its superiority.

Also java made everything simple. They banished unsigned types. Thread
based networking, very slim runtime, easy web applets that are everywhere
these days, everything is an Object, no memory corruption/crashes so even
a monkey can write code (you don't need to know what you're doing
to be a java programmer, isn't that great), take threads, so easy anyone
is encouraged to add them into their application. Java code is also
very easy to read but still very compact.

The creators of Java did the industry a great service. I salute them!

Re:java is a success story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608378)

None of my desktop apps are written in Java. Java is the Walmart of languages - it's cheap and you can find it everywhere, but the quality is mediocre. If you want the good stuff you write native.

Re:java is a success story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608404)

It's amazing how you packed so much wrong or misleading information in a single post. I guess that was the point.

Re:java is a success story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35609970)

While your points are valid, I disagree that java web applets are everywhere and that most applications are written in java. Were you being sarcastic?

Amazon App Store? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35608226)

What about it?

Terrible (1)

makubesu (1910402) | about 3 years ago | (#35608282)

There's no way Android apps could possible run on some intermediate (or shall we say virtual) machine.

Let's wait for the benchmarks, shall we? (4, Interesting)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35608440)

It's possible Dalvik apps could run *faster* on the new Blackberry than on Android!

QNX is an embedded RTOS that's allegedly light years ahead of Linux for certain things. If RIM have managed to port Dalvik to QNX minus the design choices of Google's Linux-fork, Dalvik could seem just as 'native' on QNX than the 'official' Android.

iOS app player (2)

lazyBob (324923) | about 3 years ago | (#35608286)

With iOS app player, PlayBook can be the real iphone killer :)

Re:iOS app player (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | about 3 years ago | (#35608428)

You mean a real iPad law suite. Last time I checked, the iOS API was proprietary to Apple, possibly under copyright and trade secrete IP laws. Although, an interpreter or emulator doesn't seem all much of an issue though.

Clever (3, Insightful)

ieatcookies (1490517) | about 3 years ago | (#35608358)

Wise choice

Re:Clever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35610586)

Wise choice

But not even remotely good for consumers. This means they'll inflate their number of apps, but only because half of them will be emulated awfulness.

Definitely sticking with iOS. Native apps just work, is there anything else that really matters?

questionable move (2)

LodCrappo (705968) | about 3 years ago | (#35608502)

We've seen this strategy before (sort of) in OS/2.. running your competitors software seems like a good thing when you don't have much native software, but in the end it just undermines the market for native software and leads to the obvious question of why someone wouldn't just buy your competitors platform in the first place.
Maybe RIM will be able to provide enough unique value to maintain sales, they do have a massive presence in the business world. OTOH, IBM had a pretty big influence in business computing and OS/2 had a lot of unique capabilities.

Maybe they figured they were screwed anyway and this is just a move to extend the platform's life a while longer.

Re:questionable move (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35608674)

If Android apps run just as well on Playbook and (via IcedRobot or Myriad Alien) Meego, Bada or WebOS, then you have the advantage of the native ecosystem + android.

Each of these niche OSes compete on various strengths - their challenge is to create a compelling Ux (User eXperience, as seems the term in vogue) on which to host native apps. If the native environment provides a nicer, more intuitive shell than the stock Android from Google then you're getting a superset of functionality.

e.g. Wine on Gnome/KDE is far from ideal due to the closed source nature of the Win32 original - But Android is free to modify, so seamless integration into BB/Meego/Bada/webOS is possible. The non-RIM alternatives have the advantage of leveraging Android's Linux roots even.

Re:questionable move (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | about 3 years ago | (#35608778)

That's a really big "if". Historically operating systems that attempt to run other platform's applications tend to do a more or less crap job of it.

I'd be more interested to see an Android device from RIM where they have ported/adapted the good things about the blackberry platform (which does not include running it's apps :), rather than a blackberry where they've tacked on part of Android.

Re:questionable move (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 3 years ago | (#35608694)

"...leads to the obvious question of why someone wouldn't just buy your competitors platform in the first place."

Right. "See this, it's the new RIM PlayBook and it can run Android apps!"

"Cool! So I just go to the Android Marketplace and... what?"

"Well. No. It will run some Android apps. Sort of. If they've been ported to the Dingleberry App World and..."

"Stop. If I want to run Android apps, why don't I just buy an Android?"

Re:questionable move (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | about 3 years ago | (#35608758)

yep.. sounds like RIM's approach with Android apps is a lot like the way OS/2 ran Windows programs, but only certain programs, and not quite as easily as Windows did. expect the same issues with compatibility and lack of full functionality to come up here.
for instance, will the playbook support android widgets on its home screen? that's a huge advantage of the android platform imho. also, will you be able to share data between android apps using the share button and/or the filesystem like you can on a real android device? they talk an awful lot about sandboxing.
it seems difficult to create something that runs android apps as well as an android device without being an android device, and even if you did, you still have to come up with some compelling advantage or you've wasted a lot of time and effort compared to just running android in the first place.

Re:questionable move (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#35610564)

it wouldn't be that difficult if google didn't withhold the sources.

android on qnx kernel though, that would be an interesting experiment(their bionic library solution actually might make such a port simplish).

Re:questionable move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35610402)

But its much easier to emulate an Android environment than the near impossible job OS/2 had emulating Windows.

Re:questionable move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35613342)

"...it just undermines the market for native software and leads to the obvious question of why someone wouldn't just buy your competitors platform in the first place"

Because the competitors' platforms don't have RIM's security record. Apps aren't everything - RIM holds its massive market share because of the security of its platform. This isn't a huge deal for consumers, but for many businesses an uncertain security picture is a deal-breaker.

This can only shake out one way! (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about 3 years ago | (#35608614)

When you think about it, the tablet situation can only end in one way. There can be only one major platform in the end. Sure, you will have you niche products, but developers dont want to develop for 3 or 4 competing platforms. It costs time and money to do it.
This is what RIM understands. This is why they built in support for Android Apps, and too be honest, it just makes sense.

Looks, we all love apple products right? (I personally hate the company and wont give them a dime, but hey, I do like the product)
BUT, and it's a big but, who stands to make money from Apple products in the long run? Apple. Who else? Ah...Apple?
There is a clear reason why Apple cannot win this battle. They are greedy bastards. They want to tie their SW to only their hardware. It's their right you say. Yes, of course it is! But who here thinks that Apple will beat collectively every other company in the world?? Not a chance.
So..RIM says, there is no F'ing way that we can do it when apple can also not. So...bring on droid.
I say, while driod may not be the final platform, it has a damn slight better chance of anything else right now. Well played RIM. Well played.

Re:This can only shake out one way! (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 3 years ago | (#35608678)

"BUT, and it's a big but, who stands to make money from Apple products in the long run? Apple. Who else? Ah...Apple?"

You do remember that moment in the iPad 2 announcement when Steve announced that Apple has paid out two billion dollars to iOS developers, right?

Re:This can only shake out one way! (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about 3 years ago | (#35609148)

You do know that two billion does not hold a candle to the combined sales of every other hardware maker in the world right?

Re:This can only shake out one way! (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 years ago | (#35610030)

You do know that two billion does not hold a candle to the combined sales of every other hardware maker in the world right?

I think if anyone else distributing applications for mobile devices had paid an amount anywhere remotely near two billion dollars to developers, we would have heard about it. We haven't.

Re:This can only shake out one way! (1)

robus (852325) | about 3 years ago | (#35610172)

They're not hardware makers any more - they're hardware designers that outsource manufacturing to Chinese and Taiwanese contractors - (in fact the same people Apple use) - and mostly outsource software to Google (we'll see what comes of WebOS - but seeing how HP missed the opportunity to get behind consumer Unix in the past I'm not hopeful).

Apple at least control their destiny on software and are locking up hardware supplies to control that too... The rest are left scrambling for scraps...

Re:This can only shake out one way! (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | about 3 years ago | (#35609968)

Apple never entered this market to be the majority player. Being majority comes with plague (stupid users doing stupid things and ruining the fun for everyone). Mac OS X is already at a tipping point, where clueless users are buying Macs because sales people advertize it as easy to use, no viruses or problems of any kind. Actually Mac users are the most polarized bunch of all computer user sets. You have alpha geeks and clueless fucks using it and very little in between.

I think it's much better to fill a niche with high end high margin product, that's well put together and caters to certain less populous audience, like it used to be couple of years ago with OS X. I don't know where all this is going to end, but I do know one thing. The only solution to stupid user is to restrict them to using a guest account on their own computer (which is effectively what iOS does), and that's not the version of computing future I'd like to see played out, but unfortunately it is happening already and it's happening fast. Soon enough having a general purpose computing device may become so rare that it is going to get costly to own one.
 

Re:This can only shake out one way! (1)

robus (852325) | about 3 years ago | (#35610132)

Here's the weird thing about hardware manufacturing - it's pretty much all contracted out to third parties - meaning Apple (unlike Nintendo say - who are an anachronism) have access to pretty much the entire tablet manufacturing capacity of the planet. This is very different from when Apple (and HP and whoever else - seems most computer manucturers are gone) had their own factories that limited their capacity.

So the other tablet "manufacturers" are competing with Apple for those resources - except Apple is the one with the mind-share and the deep pockets. So unless Apple misses big with a product no-one wants to buy, there's no manufacturing reason why Apple can't beat all the other companies IMHO. It's all about design and network effects - which Apple has in spades.

It's going to be an interesting next few years... (reaches for popcorn).

Re:This can only shake out one way! (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#35610816)

**There can be only one major platform in the end.**

what is this end you speak of? 2012? or perhaps 2032? that there will be one dominant end platform is an investor day dream, of an investor who was born yesterday. platforms come and go. operating systems come and go. stupid ui fashions come and go, sdk's come and go, middleware vm's come and go. code styles come and go. chipsets come and go. companies and their assets come and go and get sold and resold.

but rock'n'roll is forever and some things last longer than others, which is handy so I can run a 10 year old program that I want to run, in a modern os with modern graphics acceleration that makes the program work better than ever before for me. and I wouldn't bet that android is going to be a platform that surprises me like this the next time.

as for the tablet ui's and solutions coming to market now, they're just short-live toys tied to the hardware they were sold on. it's all temporary even more so than the stuff in the 80's.

the only mobile programs that I wrote ~7years ago or so that still work on devices I can pick up from any mall are the j2me progs that I made back then(without any changes, too. the games were resolution agnostic to a point, and some touchscreen phones, like from nokia, make do with onscreen buttons for legacy apps).

Seems like its first game, then... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 3 years ago | (#35608894)

So if it can run Android and Java, its first game should be lawyers who can never die trying to waste each other...might call it something like "Oracle Vs. Google".

Re:Seems like its first game, then... (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 3 years ago | (#35609008)

The difference being that BB licensed Java. Google did not.

Re:Seems like its first game, then... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 3 years ago | (#35609658)

The difference being that BB licensed Java. Google did not.

I see you've already created a weapon for my proposed "game": A legal logic bomb, wherein one side's lawyers claim that something is "open" and available for one and all to use - and then when the game's opposing lawyers permit their side to use it, it blows right the hell up.

The blood...the gore...the squandered wealth...

Lovely idea.

Good for Android, developers, consumers, and RIM (1)

RighteousRaven (998592) | about 3 years ago | (#35611068)

This is a great move for opening up the mobile market, and preventing unnecessary vendor lock-in. Right now people buy closed hardware because they like the closed apps that developers have written for the ecosystem. But when you can start to mix and match hardware and software, you'll be able to buy the device that you want and still get the apps that you want. It also reduces the overhead for developers, will bring business apps to android, and brings an app ecosystem to RIM. Great move!

Re:Good for Android, developers, consumers, and RI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35611114)

Did you even read the article?
> It also reduces the overhead for developers
Developers need to port their Android apps to PlayBook, code-sign and upload to the BlackBerry App World. I'm fairly sure having an app in there costs developers money. Maintaining multiple ports and stores is exactly everything wrong with Android today. Unless there is a AAA quality app pulling in a ton of money (like Angry Birds), nobody will bother with the hassle.

Dumb. (1)

sootman (158191) | about 3 years ago | (#35611236)

They're just doing this so they can claim that it runs tons of apps.

Are these the words of a cynical, Android-hating, iPhone-loving twit? No, they are words of RIM's CEO. [businessinsider.com]

"You've got the volume of the handset apps, so if you're looking for the tonnage of apps, or some kind of long tail stuff, you've got it. At the end of the day, people are going to want performance. You're just not going to get things like gaming and multimedia, you're not going to get the speed going through a VM interface."

Also note that it's only 2.3 (phone) apps, not 3.0 (tablet) apps.

This might be awesome... (1)

brouiller (1934318) | about 3 years ago | (#35612024)

If Blackberry plays their cards right, this could be the best tablet on the market. You could get Blackberry's reputation for integration and security in a corporate environment, Android's plethora of apps, flash support, and maybe, just maybe Netflix would make a Blackberry native app since it can have DRM. The iPad lacks Flash. Android lacks Netflix. Playbook might be the answer to both of these problems.
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