A ton of apps
RIM has officially announced what has been rumoured for a while: its BlackBerry Playbook tablet will support Android apps.
But there are several caveats. Firstly with is achieved via two optional ‘app players' that provide a separate run-time environment, and allow developer to port their Android apps to the BlackBerry tablet OS. Secondly this only applies to Android 2.3 apps, not tablet-optimised Android 3.0 ones.
In a conference call reported on by Business Insider, co-CEO Jim Basilie made it clear that this is a grudging concession done primarily so the BlackBerry tablet platform doesn't get too slated (excuse the pun) for not having enough apps. But he still thinks developing natively on the BlackBerry platform will produce better apps.
"There's no compromise here. You've got the tonnage of apps. And you've got the performance," said Basilie, showing a fondness for question talking. "Do I think the tonnage is overplayed? Yes. But if you think it's about having a couple hundred thousand apps, there you go.
"If you want to work on Android, great. Do we think people will want to migrate web assets? Yes. Do we think they're going to want super high performance native assets with the SDK? Absolutely. You think they're going to want to use their Flash based stuff for an offline Flash/AIR type environment? Yes."
And so on. In essence he's saying people will want to develop specifically for the tablet platform, so he doesn't see what the big deal is about the total number of apps available. But now there are loads of apps so can we please change the subject. Incidentally, this measure will apply to future BlackBerry smartphones too.
In contrast here's the official line from the other RIM CEO, Mike Lazaridis, in the press release: "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."
In other news, RIM reported revenues for the last quarter more or less in line with expectations, but offered disappointing guidance for the current quarter. Its shares are suffering as a consequence.