RIM is gearing up to show off the Android app player for their PlayBook tablet next month at BlackBerry DevCon, but that hardly means they’re adopting Android wholesale. In fact, at a Romanian developer event, RIM engineers explained just some of the Android features we won’t be seeing in QNX 2.0 for the PlayBook: live wallpapers, widgets, SIP, any apps made with the Android NDK, apps that embed Google Maps, in-app billing, apps with multiple Launcher options, anything using Android’s text-to-speech engine, or cloud messaging system.
That closes doors for a lot of apps, but RIM has already been up-front with the fact that developers will need to run their Android apps through a separate development kit and re-submit everything for App World. The PlayBook still runs QNX at its core, and with that are going to be some limitations. Still, I suspect that most apps will be able to find work-arounds or simply cut features with minimal fuss, considering the bulk of the app is already written and should transplant cleanly. RIM’s in an interesting spot, trying to tap into the popularity of Android while still advancing their own platform. While that might seem like they’re giving up ground to the competition, the Android App Player will certainly address an ongoing demand for quality apps on the PlayBook. With any luck, these rebates knocking the price of the base model down to $300 will stick around until after the App Player goes live.
In any case, here’s a demo of the App Player from a few months ago, and as you can see, it’s running fairly well. I’m excited to try it out, but is the feature too late coming to really sell the PlayBook?