RIM Is Half-Apping It With Android Apps On The PlayBook
It's official. Android Apps are coming to the BlackBerry Playbook. But, as with everything RIM does, it's not as simple as installing your favourite app from any market you choose. Developers have to repackage their apps and submit them to the BlackBerry App World store in order for PlayBook users to gain access. It's not entirely clear how BlackBerry is making the PlayBook compatible with Android (there are a few options,) so it will be interesting to see how well RIM will be able to keep up with Android's rapid development cycle.
If RIM's implementation of Android doesn't allow for seamless app upgrades and compatibility, all this talk of access to Android apps is for naught. Android's dominance in the smartphone market is almost a foregone conclusion at this point, and RIM is taking a big gamble by allowing access to apps only after developers recompile, repackage, and submit apps for approval. It's a strategic move that might backfire and could seal the demise of the once mighty BlackBerry brand.
I thought it would have made more sense for BlackBerry to join the Android ecosystem as a full partner, selling their BBM instant messaging software to anyone who wanted to use it and concentrating on their core strengths. They have a compelling new OS on the PlayBook and a chance to recapture some of the market share they have lost. But, BlackBerry clearly wants to have tight control over every aspect of their product. The trouble is that recently, it hasn’t worked out so well for them. As a consumer, what’s the compelling reason to buy the PlayBook over the wide range of Android tablets that have already started to flood the market? I'm not sure there is one.
More details will be announced to developers at the BlackBerry World Trade Show in May, which probably means we won't see Android Apps on the PlayBook until the mid-summer at the earliest.
But, by summer time, will anyone care about the PlayBook?