The whispers our pals at CrackBerry first planted in our heads last May are true (and again this spring) -- Android applications are coming to the BlackBerry Playbook via BlackBerry App World.
We'll let that sink in for a minute.
Here's the deal: Any app that runs on Android 2.3 will work, RIM says. There will be a pair of optional "App Players" that provide the runtime for the android applications. There will be compatible APIs, so developers should be able to easily port their apps. The apps will be downloaded from RIM's App World and run in a secure sandbox. So we're not talking low-level stuff here.
From the press release:
Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World.
The PlayBook goes on sale April 19, but Android applications won't be able to run at launch. Instead, RIM will show off the new App Players and demo Android apps at BlackBerry World in Orlando on May 3-5.
Said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis:
"The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today. The upcoming addition of BlackBerry Java and Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook on BlackBerry App World will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform."
So, yeah. Android applications will be able to run on the PlayBook. But the apps can't be all that deep, and will be running in some sort of emulation layer. But perhaps it's a all a middle ground to entice Android developers to go all-in with the BlackBerry NDK and do real ports, and not just emulation. We'll just have to see. Full presser's after the break.