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Latest PlayBook Android Player Details Confirm What RIM Has Shown

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We know that RIM is launching the BlackBerry PlayBook Android Player shortly after DevCon in October but details around the Player are limited. Thing.co.uk got some details from DroidCon at the Easter European Mobile Monday Developer Summit in Romania and they show some of the limitations of the Android Player. Some publications are saying these limitations will be off putting but they sort of make sense for a virtualized player that is divorced from Google’s proprietary Android apps and services.

The thing is the whole purpose of the Android Player for the PlayBook is to bring the HUGE chunk of apps that would run just fine and make them super easy to port to QNX. I remember at BlackBerry World they were showing off 10+ apps that they didn’t even need the source code to run on the PlayBook. These are a majority of apps that are created for Android like the WordPress app I want or the IMDB app. The list could continue of apps that don’t use these API’s like: Twitter, Weather Apps, Amazon.com shopping, Radio streaming apps, sports apps, eBay, eBook readers, and much much more! Most of these apps would run just fine or would require small tweaks. I am truly hoping RIM creates a 1 click port and submit to App World app for Android devs… :)

Here are the details of what wont work:

  • Live Wallpapers
    • This seems sort of obvious since they cannot give the Android Player control of the wallpaper
  • SIP and SIP VoIP
    • This one is a shame but I doubted that RIM would allow it. I am hoping RIM adds their own SIP API. These API’s are simply helper API’s on Android for creating a SIP application which hopefully RIM can find a way to replicate.
  • Anything built using the Android Native Development Kit (NDK)
    • The whole idea of the PlayBook NDK is to allow developers to port games and such NDK C++ apps to the PlayBook. They would lose the performance of the Android NDK and low level hardware access if it was virtualized.
  • Apps containing only App Widgets 
    • Another relatively obvious one since the whole idea of the Android Player is to keep it segregated and not core to the homescreen.
  • Apps containing more than one activity to the Android Launcher
    • I have been trying to dig into this more but it seems that these are apps that try to change how Android acts natively which is not something you can easily virtualize.
  • Any apps that rely on Google Maps, Google Marketplace in-app billing, Google Android text to speech engine, or the Android cloud to device messaging system
    • These are value added services that Google adds to Android only on their Google Powered Android devices. There is no way RIM could include them without a deal with Google. Hopefully RIM will at least give developers an easy way to tie into App World in app billing.
7 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. With a little luck, the sales will hit Amazon.com soon enough and I’ll be finally able to buy my PlayBook.

    @BlackBerry_BR said there would soon be news about the PlayBook in Brasil… Could it be they are waiting for 2.0 to deploy globally?

  2. As I read through all the Android-player session topics for DevCon’2011, I’m starting to wonder if RIM is planning to position the Android player as “The supported Java SDK” for the PlayBook (and the future QNX-based phone OS).

    But I’m also quite a bit worried that they’ve been *really* quiet about the BlackBerry Java “player” that was also mentioned when the PlayBook launched. (And despite RIM trying to shove WebWorks down our throats at every opportunity, it is *not* a complete solution to the cross-RIM-platform compatibility/porting problem.)

    • I agree with you completely. I assume that you also noticed the session for teaching Android Java to BlackBerry Java developers as well? At this point I would say that the odds are against RIM supporting BlackBerry Java apps on QNX.

      It may not matter for the tablet, but when they start shipping QNX phones people are going to be pissed when 90% of their apps are not compatible.

      • Frankly, I’m already pissed at just how many developers couldn’t be bothered to simply “check the box” on OS7 support for their existing “works fine on OS6” BlackBerry Java apps. (I think it may be a side-effect of people treating mobile apps as “one-off” projects, and not being in any position to support them later. Oh, and too many people deciding to not care about BB in response to all the recent bad press.)

  3. This is probably a stupid question, but does anyone know if QNX supports widgets?

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