BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion has confirmed that its PlayBook tablet PC, due for release later this year, will support applications built for Google’s mobile operating system Android.
RIM announced yesterday that it will provide an "app player" that allows Android applications to run on PlayBooks. "Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their… Android apps to [RIM’s application store] BlackBerry App World," the company said in a statement.
Many business that Information Age has spoken to are postponing their decision on what tablet to buy until the PlayBook has been released as RIM’s back-end device management system, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, is already commonly used to secure and manager employee BlackBerrys.
However, there are a number of concerns to be addressed. One example it that the PlayBook uses a version of QNX operating system, a Linux-based platform designed for embedded systems. It was not clear that RIM would be able to convince software developers to build applications for this lesser-known OS. Yesterday’s announcement goes some way in addressing that issue.
Another concern remains, however. RIM also confirmed this week that PlayBook users will not be able to access their emails on a PlayBook unless it is used in conjunction with a BlackBerry, at least until a software update is released later in the year.
RIM says the PlayBook will be available in the US and its native Canada from April, but has not given a price or release date for the UK market.
Also this week, RIM released financial results for its most recent financial quarter. Revenue increased 36% year-on-year to $4.1 billion, while net income grew 2.5% to $934 million. As always seems to be the case, RIM’s guidance for the coming quarter disappointed investment analysts, and its shares fell following the announcement.