BlackBerry PlayBook owners will soon lose the ability to sideload applications onto their tablets. RIM will be pushing an update to all existing PlayBooks that will remove this option to prevent application piracy. RIM’s VP of Developer Relations Alec Saunders broke the news via Twitter, stating that the move is geared at curbing application piracy, an issue Mr. Saunders claims is a large on on the “chaotic cesspool [Google Play Store].
Consumers who choose to sideload applications onto their PlayBooks likely are doing so to fill some rather large holes in the BlackBerry App World. Sideloading allows these customers to install from the 500,000+ applications currently available on the Android platform.
Developers are also showing concerns over the move to remove the sideloading capabilities, which developers rely on to test out applications they’re building. Mr. Saunders indicated that the lockdown was only targeting consumers, and that he’s “pretty sure” they have a solution forthcoming for developers.
Hopefully with the move RIM will be encouraging developers to develop more applications for the BlackBerry platform, though at this point these folks are likely holding off to see what the requirements are for BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry 10 will represent a major upgrade for the BlackBerry platform, and should be launching later this year.