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Unlikely, running Android applications requires more then just the virtual machine, it requires all the APIs that go with it and those APIs in turn depend on functionality provided by Linux. I suspect this is more about RIM getting a JVM that is highly tuned and optimized for a mobile environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
RIM Expands Application Ecosystem for BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry PlayBook to support BlackBerry Java and Android apps
Native C/C++ development support added, in addition to HTML5, Flash and AIR support
Support from leading game engines: Ideaworks Labs (AirPlay) and Unity Technologies (Unity 3)
BlackBerry PlayBook becomes a new market opportunity for all the developers who have already created over 25,000 BlackBerry Java apps and more than 200,000 Android apps
WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2011) - Developers wanting to bring their new and existing apps to the highly anticipated BlackBerry® PlayBookTM tablet will soon have additional tools and options to enhance and expand their commercial opportunities. Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced plans to greatly expand the application ecosystem for the BlackBerry PlayBook. The BlackBerry PlayBook is scheduled to launch in the U.S. and Canada on April 19.

RIM will launch two optional "app players" that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java® apps and Android v2.3 apps. These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook.

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

Support for BlackBerry Java and Android Apps

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

Developers currently building for the BlackBerry or Android platforms will be able to quickly and easily port their apps to run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS thanks to a high degree of API compatibility. The new optional app players will be available for download from BlackBerry App World and will be placed in a secure "sandbox" on the BlackBerry PlayBook where the BlackBerry Java or Android apps can be run.

Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World.

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

BlackBerry PlayBook users and developers who are interested in seeing the new app players for BlackBerry Java and Android apps can see demos at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida (May 3 to 5, 2011) (www.blackberryworld.com).

BlackBerry Tablet OS Development Tools

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

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

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

Take advantage of the QNX POSIX library support and C/C++ compliance for quick and easy application porting and for creating native extensions for both BlackBerry and Android applications
Easily integrate device events like gesture swipes and touch screen inputs
Integrate the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment into existing code management and build systems using industry standard Eclipse CDT (C/C++ Development Tools)
Leverage work done in standard C/C++ to make it easier to bring applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS
Find and fix bugs quickly with provided debug and analysis tools
"The response to the BlackBerry PlayBook from the developer community has been exceptional. Our commitment to supporting HTML5 and Adobe AIR development has resonated and spurred developers to create fun and innovative applications for BlackBerry PlayBook users," said David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion. "The upcoming BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK beta will add C/C++ tools to our repertoire and gives developers one of the broadest and deepest platforms to develop on."

Gaming Engines

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

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

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

RIM has also been working closely with Unity Technologies, providers of the highly popular, multi-platform Unity development platform and Union, the firm's games distribution service. Through Union, dozens of high-quality Unity-authored games are slated to make their way to BlackBerry App World for the BlackBerry Playbook.

"With a sharp focus on the multimedia experience, very powerful hardware, and fantastic games in the pipeline, the BlackBerry Playbook has all the right ingredients to be a mainstream hit," said Brett Seyler, GM of Union at Unity Technologies. "Through Union, Unity developers have an opportunity to reach a new audience and grow with another great new platform."
 

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RIM will launch two optional "app players" that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java® apps and Android v2.3 apps.
But won't tablet users want to run V3.0 Honeycomb apps? When I'm using my iPad, I hate iPhone apps because they are too small and not optimized for the larger screen.

The problem with v2.3 apps is that they will gradually become obsolete and they are made for 4" not 7" screens.
 

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I'm sure Honeycomb apps will eventually be supported, there is no reason why they wouldn't be, just not right off the bat.
 

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So if I'm a mobile software house and I have a product to build what do I most likely do?

Realizing that resources are limited:
1) I support iOS, it's the largest paying market.
2) I support android as its probably the second largest.

Now - do I spend my limited resources making a special playbook version? Or do I go..meh I'll spend a little time tweaking my android version.

If that's true, then why have 4 SDK's + 2 Virtual Environments? Too much variety is rarely a good thing in development communities.

I think if they were going to go this route they should have picked one of the two 'native' platforms. Webworks or Air, I'd guess Air probably has more useful support if they manage to pull the flash developers in and then they should have supported the Android virtual environment.

I think supporting the blackberry thing is silly unless their plan is to just directly move their internal apps over (which I think is a horrible idea, they're poorly implemented in their native environment and it can only get worse in a touch screen only environment.)

If they'd not supported all these different environments they more likely could have gotten out the native environment as part of a more unified single native SDK which would have helped them greatly in app creation. People often knock Apple for using ObjectiveC, but allowing C code gives your developers access to a huge existing library of tested code.

All these choices really smack of someone unwilling to make hard decisions and that's never a good thing.
 

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there is no reason why they wouldn't be, just not right off the bat
If so, then why not support it now or at least say you will support it as soon as its technically feasible?

I think a lot of buyers could be disappointed because they hear "supports android apps" and realize later its only V2.3 apps.
 

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NeilN, that's the first thing I thought, too, when I heard that Google was closing the door on Honeycomb.

In the space of 24 hours, we have heard that Google is closing the door (temporarily?) on Honeycomb, Motorola is developing their own OS to compete with Android, and RIM is implementing functionality to piggyback off Android Marketplace.

Things are getting complex in a hurry!!

But back on topic, Android app support is a very good thing for Playbook stakeholders, as RIM has never been able to incubate a compelling AppWorld experience. Prior to this confirmation, I would have speculated that Playbook was doomed to fail, but now I think it at least has a chance of commercial payback.
 

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Let's not lose sight of one important issue with regards to the Playbook running Android apps. Since the Playbook is running a non-Android OS (QNX), it's going to run Android apps through some kind of emulation software layer.

In my 25+ years of working in IT, I've seen lots of these kinds of products over the years that allow software from one platform to run on another. They all have on thing in common: they all suck.
 

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I've seen lots of these kinds of products over the years that allow software from one platform to run on another. They all have on thing in common: they all suck.
I hear that brother. RIM had better put some effort into an app creation tool for developers that's as good as XCode 4 from Apple (now $5)
 

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The Playbook has much more powerful hardware than any Android Smartphones so I doubt an Android V2.3 will appear to run slower.

The big issue is lack of being able to run Tablet (i.e./Honeycomb) apps at any speed.

Of course, if you want to run Honeycomb apps then I would suggest just getting the Samsung device.
 

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Realizing that resources are limited:
1) I support iOS, it's the largest paying market.
2) I support android as its probably the second largest.

Now - do I spend my limited resources making a special playbook version? Or do I go..meh I'll spend a little time tweaking my android version.
I agree. I do contract iOS and Android development and started ramping on Playbook in December using Adobe Air. Now, I think I'll just wait until Android support is available.

I think support for BlackBerry Java was added to protect the investments of existing business customers with in-house BlackBerry apps, with the goal of preventing them from adopting the iPad and Android tablets. I doubt consumer app developers will use BlackBerry Java (which I've read is more difficult to learn).

 

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Wow, that's an eye opening link....

The other caveat to this deal is that it will require developers to manually port their apps to BlackBerry App World; it's not as if a user will be able to hop over to the Android Market (or, for that matter, third-party markets like GetJar) and directly download whatever Android app they wish.
So Playbook users cannot access an Android Marketplace and download apps that interest them.

RIM has made it easy to port apps to their platform, but developers must still do some minor conversion work and put their apps on BB AppWorld. That's a helluva lot different than being 'Android compatible' !! I don't think RIM was entirely forthright about this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
From the press release:

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.
 

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So how does one load movies, songs, pictures etc onto a Playbook? Is there an application similar to iTunes for your computer?
 
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