Research In Motion is developing an Android App Player for its QNX-based PlayBook tablet, and it's expected to be available before the end of summer. A beta version of the player was inadvertently posted on the company's BlackBerry site and has since been removed, RIM confirmed Friday.
However, the 143.28MB sys.android.bar player file was uploaded to several mirror sites around the world. RIM is advising PlayBook users to not download the file.
"We recommend that users refrain from downloading and installing this software since it is outdated and nonfunctional in many respects," a RIM spokesperson said. "The official beta release of the Android App Player for the BlackBerry PlayBook is on track for release later this summer."
Open To Alternatives
RIM's goal is to enable PlayBook users to graze the 250,000 apps at the Android Marketplace. RIM's BlackBerry World is sparsely populated by comparison.
"Supporting the Android ecosystem is an interesting move because it can be interpreted as giving up on building its own ecosystem," noted Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC. "But in reality, using Android as a middle layer shows that they are open for alternative approaches and run an open and welcoming platform."
Still, running Android has to be implemented properly so apps are attractive and usable, Hilwa observed. "I don't believe we have seen exactly how this is going to happen yet," Hilwa said. "If RIM moves ahead with supporting Android apps, it will be one of many things that RIM is doing to improve the PlayBook -- all of which would also pay dividends with its crucial phone OS transition."
RIM is doing the right thing in pushing the developer story even as it tries out new things, Hilwa observed. "RIM has to develop an ecosystem which can generate a critical mass of apps [for] the Playbook as well as their future phones based on the QNX system," Hilwa explained. The problem for RIM is that all the developer oxygen is currently "being sucked up by Apple and Android, with tapping its existing .NET base to generate some activity around Windows Phone," Hilwa added.
RIM acquired JayCut this week to bring the Sweden-based company's online video editor and cloud-based services to the PlayBook, which features dual HD cameras for video capture and video conferencing, HDMI output, and high-resolution video playback, RIM CTO David Yach observed.
"By working with JayCut to add video-editing capabilities to the BlackBerry platform, we can further enrich our customers' multimedia experience with BlackBerry," Yach wrote in a blog.
However, internal dissension within RIM's employee ranks continues to roil the company. The senior product manager for RIM's PlayBook effort, Ryan Bidan, is reportedly leaving to join the North America division of Samsung Electronics.
RIM's Android App Player may give the BlackBerry maker breathing room as it works to move its entire device line to the QNX OS it acquired last year. Among other things, it may help to temporarily assuage growing investor concerns about RIM's strategy.
But RIM's BlackBerry brand is bound to face higher competitive pressure in western Europe and elsewhere once Apple rolls out its latest mobile-device refresh in September. "Apple's new devices will play an important role in its strategy to tackle the midtier price bands that are currently dominated by Android, BlackBerry and Symbian devices," said IDC Research Manager Francisco Jeronimo.
Posted: 2011-12-22 @ 7:29pm PT
I look at this and say wtf - it's already December and nothing has been said about it! RIM should get it out much faster,
Posted: 2011-07-25 @ 2:01am PT
Hmmm, took the time to read the article, and I expected a more impartial viewpoint, so a bit disappointing. Having spent a good week with a Playbook using it instead of a laptop while overseas, it is my opinion that the screen size is right for any BlackBerry user....why? Because you can thumb out messages on the Playbook, ala BlackBerry method (thumbs). I for one would not be interested in a larger Playbook (screen size now is huge compared to a BlackBerry). As for no native email application, again for any BlackBerry user, this is more or less a moot point....why? What BlackBerry user doesn't always carry their Blackberry around, so with BlackBerry Bridge, they have their emails, tasks, calendar, contacts, notes, BBM, and access to all files on their BlackBerry (right from their pocket). As for consumer focus, seems to me that RIM focused on BlackBerry users, whether consumer or enterprise.....and 52,000,000 active BlackBerry users is not a bad demographic to chase. As for lack of apps, using Android apps, the jury is still out on this one, and I have adopted a wait and see approach here. Public feedback that I have experienced while showing off the Playbook has been overall very positive, especially the screen resolution and multitasking, and every single person thought the BlackBerry Bridge was a solid benefit.
Posted: 2011-07-25 @ 1:16am PT
Here is a similar story:
Some like it, some don't. The BlackBerry PlayBook has been a love-hate device since it was first rumored a few years ago as the BlackPad. Running QNX, a software made by the like-named company recently acquired by RIM, many hoped the PlayBook would be a refresher and a device that could pull RIM back into the race. Unfortunately, it's effects have been minimal.
The PlayBook took longer than it should have to reach shelves. When it finally arrived, it was still not quite ready and faced some pretty stiff competition. The original fanfare that surrounded RIM's ninth-inning rally device quickly dwindled to a slight murmur. So what was it exactly that made the PlayBook's launch so underwhelming? Well … a few things, actually.