Are you an Android developer? Do you collect obsolete and failed pieces of technology in a museum of electronic sadness? Looking for something to fill the space in between your HP TouchPad, Palm Folio and Nintendo Virtual Boy? Then Research in Motion has a deal for you. The Canadian BlackBerry manufacturer wants to build buzz around the OS 2.0 update for its PlayBook tablet, which includes an easy method to port Android apps over to its native software. Tweak an app for the PlayBook and submit it to their app store, and RIM will send you a PlayBook free, gratis and for nothing.

Alec Saunders, RIM’s Vice President of Developer relations, broke the plan on his personal Twitter account. It works like this: Take an existing Android application, run it through RIM’s supplied tools, submit it to BlackBerry App World (their version of the Android Market/iOS App Store) and do all of this before February 13th. In addition to the coding requirements, apps on BlackBerry App World need to be devoid of mentions of Android and the Android Market, and list “Blackberry PlayBook” under requirements.  Saunders didn’t elaborate on any giveaways or contests, but directs converted developers to email “ ” with the name of your app to collect your prize. Subsequent Twitter conversations with excited developers seem to indicate that he’s very serious. And why not – there’s got to be thousands of PlayBooks gathering dust in RIM storage.

All joking aside, it’s a pretty smart way to get developers excited about your platform. And RIM needs to do so quickly if they hope to keep the PlayBook, and by extension BlackBerry itself, alive in the mobile market. Early developer reports indicate that the porting process is indeed easy. So, Android devs, why not give it a try? If free hardware and the thrill of a new platform don’t sway you, consider that BlackBerry App World is metaphorical small pond at the moment – getting in now before the influx of 2.0 apps could make you the big fish. And not to be disloyal or anything, but BlackBerry does have some exciting things on the horizon


  1. Great article…2011 was a disaster for RIM but 2012, especially the latter half, will be a full throttle ahead if the BB 10 phone looks and acts anything like the leaked photos. The numbers of up-graders around the world will be stunning.

  2. playbook is indeed a brilliant piece of technology, I won’t compare it with Android though. However, they have made a very good tablet within just an year after acquiring QNX.

    Given enough time, it could beat others…. who knows? Then the same site will be writing articles boasting RIM, and even change the address to blackberrycommunity 🙂 


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