Research in Motion – maker of the BlackBerry and the upcoming PlayBook tablet – is building software that will allow the PlayBook to run Google Android applications, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that RIM plans to integrate the software with the PlayBook's QNX-based …
Surely that just gives developers an incentive to only develop for android - leaving blackberry with less native apps?
This looks to be "compatible with Android" in the same way that WINE is "compatible with Windows". In other words, only barely and with some fiddling.
Still, at least it will be fully compatible with Blackberry stuff. Won't it?
At the end of the day Android apps largely don't care what OS they're running on. Everything they know about the OS and device comes from Dalvik. Dalvik in turn knows most of what it knows from the C runtime (Bionic) and some other libs that implement OpenGL ES, compression, JNI, logging etc. So if Blackberry ported those to run on QNX, then Dalvik follows and thence the apps.
The native apps might be trickier to work out since they hit the libs in less predictable ways and may be targetted to particular instruction sets. Perhaps the instruction set issue will go away if Android gets LLVM support in the NDK (it has it for something called Renderscript).
I'd note that the opposite is possible too. Android could provide a runtime that supported Blackberry apps, or iPad apps for that matter by doing cleanroom / open source implementations of their respective APIs though the respective platform holders might wig out if it happened.
Is this really a good idea?
I can't help but think this will dissuade developers from actually writing software for the QNX platform. In the long term, I can't see this strategy being a good one for RIM.
Re: is this a really good idea
At least two people have mentioned that this may affect native QNX development, which it probably will. Aside from that I see this as a good thing, isn't the Java mantra "Write once, run everywhere" ? Would this enable (in theory) a given developer to write one application for android and have it work elsewhere in another marketplace; sounds like a no-brainer to me.
Possibly it might affect native QNX development
That's the danger when you emulate a competitor. I remember OS/2 had a licenced copy of Windows 3.1 built-in and later in OS/2 Warp allowed an original Windows 3.1 to be installed alongside. The consequence is Microsoft & other publishers had a convenient excuse for not writing native versions of their apps.
But like OS/2 I expect RIM is in a tough place. If they add emulation they risk native development not happening. If they don't, they risk users preferring Android tablets anyway.
Even *if* it runs Android apps well (esp games), the problem is Google probably will not let it connect to their Android marketplace. Sure, developers can also add their apps on the Blackberry app store, but it's all becoming too complex.
Developers have enough on their plates supporting different platforms, then have to support a range of stores with their own procedures, T&Cs, track sales, marketing and promotions.. it's not really suited for the small, independent teams.
Maybe this is where the Amazon Android app store steps in? However their pricing policy is a bit scary, as Amazon is the one setting the retail price (only promise is developers get at least 20% of what they list it at)
Maybe to Late
RIM should have had this Java SDK ready to go from the start. This would have made a huge difference in developer interest. I guess it's apparent to them now that the whole webkit API thing just doesn't attract the number of developers they thought it would. You would think they would have know this from Apple (web based programming was the only way apps could be written for iPhones before) and the lack luster developer interest in WebOS.
HP, you listening?
An Android emu for WebOS would make WebOS phones/tablets useful.