RIM has demonstrated Android apps running on the BlackBerry PlayBook, the company’s strategy for significantly boosting the number of titles available for the QNX tablet later in 2011, and giving Android developers another outlet for their coding wares. Demonstrating the functionality at BlackBerry World 2011 this morning – in an event that also bizarrely saw Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer take to the stage – RIM confirmed that gestures on the PlayBook would be mapped to the various Android button-presses.

Each app will run in its own virtual machine, loading from the standard file rather than any sort of recompiled binary. To the user, it will be completely seamless: they will simply have Android app shortcuts mixed in with native BlackBerry app shortcuts.

As for distribution, rather than putting the Android Market onto the PlayBook, RIM will be distributing titles through its existing App World. Developers will have to submit their titles to RIM for approval, independent from Google’s approval process.

Video via Ewan MacLeod

Update: CrackBerry has another demo video:

  • Mr Zuloo

    I don’t get it. Why build an OS from scratch only to use Android Apps. Why not just use Android and create a UI overlay to make your tablet stand out like other companies do.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry they will be developing a new Android Blackberry phone by end of year! RIM adds Android. Is an Android Blackberry phone, next? http://exm.nr/je23dK

  • Well at the OS level there are a lot of similarities between the RIM Playbook’s QNX based environment and the Android’s Linux environment so being able to run Android apps is really childsplay. Why do you think the apps between iOS and Android that they have in common are so similar.. because you don’t have to change much more than the interface to get it from one platform to the other. iOS uses Objective C in it’s Cocoa environment because iOS is a derivative of Mac OS X. Objective C isn’t a lot different than what you would use to write an Android app. You can start on either of the three platforms and port to the others without a lot of effort and then be running on 3 platforms with a common yet forked code-base. It’s really not that complicated for a developer. So you ask why someone would bother.. only because it can be done and puts them ahead in the market. Now that they’re going to run Android Apps the real question should be.. Will developers bother to write native QNX based Playbook apps? Or will they just let people run everything in the virtual machine?

  • Yan S.

    I always saw RIM as a company who made nice hardware, not software.  They got one thing right and that was the blackberry phone with the keyboard, as for the secure email, well….everyone does that to some respect and unless you have a paranoid IT dept most are ok with PGP, VPN and other technologies many OS’s offer.  Their OS has always been not only sub par but antiquated.  Yet another company who was fat dumb and happy on a single invention for way too long.  The blackberry phone is still #1 as a work horse but the shine and luster of the iPhone moved me over a year ago and I am not going back, love it too much to leave it.

    Tough call for a CEO of a company in the spiral of death, but I would abandun the hardware race and certainly the software race…maybe secure email as an ASP for the iPhone/Android is the only survival for this company, otherwise it will go the day of the Nokia OS (Symbian was it?), Trio phone and their web OS and other dodo birds of the 90’s