Blackberry officially announces PlayBook compatibility with Android apps
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Android app support on the Blackberry PlayBook has been rumored for some time, but Research In Motion never officially confirmed the rumor. However, it appears confirmation is at hand, as RIM's President and Co-CEO, Mike Lazaridis, announced Android app support through a press release earlier today.
According to the published release, the Blackberry PlayBook will be able to run Android applications via two “App Players” that will be released through the Blackberry market. It appears that these players are actually virtual machines that will emulate the Android environment and make it compatible with the Blackberry OS; similar to Macs running Windows via a virtual machine.
Although this does appear to be great news on the surface, it does provide some causes for concern. Those concerns include the absence of the “App Player” upon the PlayBook’s launch date (they will be available through the market later this summer) and performance issues that could result due to the virtual machine environment. It also appears that the only apps compatible with the App Player are Android Gingerbread 2.3 apps, which are not customized for tablets and could be distorted on the PlayBook’s 7” screen. On the other hand, RIM hasn’t exactly shut the door on Honeycomb app support down the line and that could be a big plus for sales.
Unfortunately, even with the news of Android App support on the PlayBook and impressive 4th quarter numbers, RIM shares dipped around 11% to reach $55.78 a share. However, RIM is hoping that the PlayBook’s April 19th debut will be enough to boost numbers and put the company back on track.