RIM's PlayBook tablet may port applications from Google's Android Market, giving consumers access to more than 130,000 software programs. The move could boost developer mindshare.
rumor about Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet computer is that the tablet
will run applications developed for Google's Android operating system.
three anonymous sources who said RIM will integrate the technology, which would
give consumers access to more than 130,000 Android applications, with the
QNX-based PlayBook operating system.
RIM and Google
declined to comment to eWEEK, but Bloomberg said the software could be ready as
soon as the second half of this year.
after the company introduces the tablet to challenge Apple's iPad (and likely
the expected iPad 2), Android 3.0-based tablets such as the Motorola
, among others.
7-inch-screen RIM PlayBook, which tethers
to Blackberry smartphones, includes a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
RIM will launch the WiFi version of the PlayBook this quarter, with a
4G-enabled version coming
from Sprint this summer.
PlayBook users access to Google's Android Market would fill a glaring hole that
analysts claimed RIM must address for the tablet to gain traction against the
competition: access to a big swath of applications and content that RIM's
Blackberry App World, which currently includes only 20,000 applications, lacks.
Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told eWEEK a PlayBook bridge to the Android
Market is a bigger deal for developers than consumers.
now, the PlayBook ranks low on developers' list of priorities; having the
PlayBook be Android-compatible makes it much more appealing for
developers," Epps said.
cautioned that while the PlayBook is a solid product, the tethering limitation
means it won't appeal to non-BlackBerry owners. In other words, adding Android
applications won't change that equation.
analyst Rob Enderle doesn't like the move because of the potential competition
it sets up between RIM and Google, which compete in the smartphone and tablet
tried to emulate Intel to get Intel-based software; there have been several
efforts to emulate Windows, which failed; and efforts to clone, without
support, the Mac platform. All, without exception, ended badly. What's
the old saying-those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat
it? I think RIM is going to demonstrate that saying with this move."
He added that
RIM might be better served partnering with Amazon's
, which he said doesn't have a software platform to defend the way
Google may welcome getting Android applications on the PlayBook, as it provides
yet another pipeline for its mobile ads.