Those rumours about BlackBerrys running Android apps? They were true. Well, partially. RIM says users of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will be able to install Android 2.3 and BlackBerry Java apps on the device.
Developers will have to submit their apps to RIM's BlackBerry App World in the normal way, so don't expect all 200,000 Android apps to be available for the PlayBook from day one.
"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," says co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.
You'll run the Android and Java apps using a pair of 'app players' that provide an application run-time environment, as had been predicted in earlier rumours about RIM taking this step. RIM will be showing off the app players at its BlackBerry World conference in early May.
The players won't be available until the summer, a few months after the PlayBook goes on sale. This at least gives Android developers time to test and submit their apps to RIM. What we don't know (yet) is whether the new app players will ever be available for BlackBerry smart phones too -- or indeed when (if ever) Android 3.0 Honeycomb apps will work on the PlayBook.
Separately, RIM is also working hard to make the PlayBook a tablet fit for gaming. It's inked deals with two game engine companies: IdeaWorks Labs and Unity Technologies. They'll be making their tech available for developers who want to make PlayBook games (or, more accurately, for developers who want to port their iPad and Android tablet titles over).
"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," says Unity's Brett Seyler.