The BlackBerry PlayBook on its own will run a brand new operating system based on QNX, which is built for stability, multitasking, and multimedia. It also has the architecture in place to support multiple development environments, which already spans Adobe AIR
, WebWorks, and native C++, and will eventually include Java ME so old BlackBerry smartphone apps will be able to run on it. That being said, it’s not a big surprise that it’s technically possible to get Android apps running on the PlayBook, but the fact that RIM is planning to openly embrace what has until now been a competing platform is still a little unexpected. Android has a huge stockpile of apps that’s beginning to rival the iPhone App Store, which RIM would be smart to make use of, since their own BlackBerry App World still has comparatively slim pickings for smartphones, nevermind tablets running a brand new OS.
Hardware-wise, the PlayBook should be able to handle running Android apps just fine. It’s got a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 7-inch 1024 x 600 display, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and 3 megapixel front-facing camera, HDMI-out to shunt video out to your TV, ship in 16, 32, and 64 GB storage options, and come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Cost is expected to start at $499
, and launching by the end of March, with 3G and 4G versions launching later on. Until then you’ll be able to tether to a BlackBerry smartphone for 3G connectivity, but similar tethering will be necessity if you want access to native PIM apps like e-mail and calendar
. Take a look at our hands-on with the BlackBerry PlayBook for the full tour
BlackBerrys running Android, Nokia phones running Windows, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria – it’s a crazy age we’re living in.