RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook will be capable of running Android 2.3 apps along with BlackBerry Java apps. This gives PlayBook customers access to 200,000 Android apps apart from the 25,000 apps native to the BlackBerry platform.
Set to launch on April 19 in US and Canada, the 7 inch PlayBook will support cross platform integration by including two players for the two categories of apps. Android developers will have to repackage and resubmit their apps for the BlackBerry platform. They will have access to Unity and Airplay for 3D modeling and animation. RIM is promoting the BlackBerry PlayBook as a tablet that can handle more than one type of developer environment which is why it started with support for Adobe AIR apps and WebWorks.
It will be interesting to see how well BlackBerry PlayBook handles the non-QNX apps. In fact, when asked whether this move will disincline developers from developing for QNX, co-CEO Jim Balsillie stated that Android apps (especially since Honeycomb – the tablet version of Android – is not supported) on the tablet would not run as well as native apps. This may not be evident in simple apps but would be noticeable in more complex ones.
Going by RIM’s inclination towards cross platform integration, we might also see RIM’s popular BBM service on other mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, etc., soon.
The price of BlackBerry PlayBook at $499 is lower than the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 equivalent at $579. RIM is upping its marketing initiatives by selling its tab to twice as many North American retail outlets. Now, that RIM has resolved its one setback – limited content, it is set to win customers with the price, hardware and software specs of the PlayBook tab.
RIM has also announced that its BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Development Kit (NDK), currently in limited alpha release, will go into open Beta by this summer and be demonstrated at BlackBerry World. This will allow developers to create advanced 2D and 3D applications and special effects by leveraging programmable shaders available in hardware-accelerated OpenGL ES 2.0.
Here’s one more reason for you to buy the BlackBerry PlayBook? Is it enough?