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.