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Rumor: RIM Considering Android’s Dalvik Java VM for PlayBook?

PlayBook Java

RIM has already hinted as much at DevCon last year but according to BGR there are folks at RIM seriously considering using Google’s Dalvik Java VM (Found in Android devices) to be the flavor of Java they use on the PlayBook. The QNX team was asked this exact question at DevCon and answered that it is possible but they do not know the exact direction they will take yet.

The move to the Dalvik Java VM for the PlayBook could mean that Android apps would be even easier to port to the PlayBook. Developers would still have to modify their apps to follow RIM’s requirements and use BlackBerry specific API’s but it could be a huge boon for RIM. Many devs are waiting for RIM to decide on a Java solution for the PlayBook to allow for legacy apps to work on the device but I am not sure that is a good idea. RIM has really been held back on app development for legacy apps and they have clearly stated that WebWorks would be the main platform for cross BlackBerry Tablet/Smartphone development.

Only time will tell if this rumor actually pans out but I really hope RIM is considering something like this. It will be interesting to see if RIM simply uses the open source code for Dalvik or makes the even riskier move of teaming up with Google. I doubt the latter but who knows with RIM these days. According to the QNX team they can run quite a few different VM’s for different programming languages on the QNX OS so they might just implement both the legacy and the Dalvik flavors in a combined form.

12 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. That would be pretty huge.

    I remember one of the many videos from CES, the RIM guy was saying how easy the platform would be to incorporate something like this…

    Android Apps on the Playbook would be a gamechanger, what would be the reason not to do it??

  2. Flash/Flex support already makes a fair number of android apps potentially available. However, I do have concerns with using Dalvik — namely that they’d be effectively excluding backward compatibility with any BB OS and j2me apps, unless they port their libraries over to Dalvik (and make whatever modifications are required to support it).

    On the other hand, Java support that’s better than java language spec 1.3 would be spiffy…

    • The loss of BB OS apps would be a blow to current BB developers, but many of those are probably already developing Android apps too so I don’t think it’d be that big of a deal… Frankly, if RIM does this, it’d be really shake things up and I think that’s what they need to do to stay competitive.

  3. Like they said… nothing stopping them from implementing both JVM solutions…. it’s all virtual.

    Have mixed opinions this… not sure if we need this with Adobe Air, Flash, Webkit, and C. Beside the best applications are always written in C, in my opinion.

  4. I think its almost too good to be true. They should do it and take over the mobile device market. What could be better than a BlackBerry with the app catalog of Android? I honestly don’t think RIM will do it but its okay to dream big dreams.

  5. Frankly , I don’t see the point. Certainly Android has more apps, but believe BlackBerry has more quality apps and the Play Book with its QNX, adobe flash can develop apps that are even better. No, I think their better off continuing where they are.

    • They’re going to have a VM anyway to support legacy BB apps, why not have support for one of the largest app markets out there? I don’t really see the downside.

      I also question whether or not the quality of Blackberry apps is higher as you say.

      • Really?? I believe that Blackberry has better messaging apps (BBM), better productivity apps (Quicklaunch, Shortcutme, Versa Tools, Six Tools) and better notification apps (Berry Buzz, Leave the light on). The few Android apps that are better are Google Maps, Voice apps. My concern is that by using these Android apps are: (1.) That it might slow down the process of creating new apps and (2.) RIM would somehow be indebted to Google for using their apps.

        • – I agree on BerryBuzz, I don’t think Android has one that works as well. BBM is a native app, I thought we were talking about third party. Those productivity apps I don’t find all that compelling. There isn’t be a need for quicklaunch or shortcut me for touchscreen devices imo (all androids pretty much) anyway.. I had it before but didn’t install it when I got my Torch.
          o Why would it slow down the process of creating apps? If anything it’ll speed up the process as it would allow current Android developers to easily port to Blackberry QNX. It allows current BB developers to easily port their OS5/6 apps to QNX. Giving more choice to the Developer can only help the quality and number of apps imo.
          o Not sure how they would be indebted to Google. It’s an open source VM.. they could implement it without even talking to Google. I guess they could negotiate some type of “Android Certification” for Blackberries, but I don’t think it would mean RIM is indebted to them. It’d be a win-win for both sides I think.

  6. but running both will be a boost to the app counts and etc no?

  7. As a developer like me, I think Java Dalvik is the very nice choice. Java of the current BB OS is old and very weak to handle modern and future things. That’s why Java Dalvik is successful with Android.

    However, RIM is always smart, they will copy the concept but make better products 😉

  8. The way I see it is that doing it can’t hurt RIM in any way. If anything it will help them with developer relationships as well as consumer app availability.

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