Bloomberg just sourced three people that said RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook will be able to have access to the Android Marketplace, which in turn means it will run Android apps. It’s not a new idea, having surfaced as a rumour back in September 2010, but it is still a weird one.
The latest news, which seems confident that RIM is definitely headed down this route, says that RIM is making their tablet on the QNX platform, which shares the Posix standard with Android devices. However, that in itself shouldn’t be close enough to have Android apps run on the PlayBook without some serious modification, or another virtual machine layer on top of the PlayBook OS that mimicks an Android. Having a virtual machine is how Macs can run Windows simultaneously through Parallels or VM Ware Fusion, for example. But it also means Android app performance will be slower.
At this point, with the RIM app store being the way it is (not good), having Android apps run at all, even slowly, is a better idea than having not a lot of apps. Locking in to a competitor’s ecosystem while still keeping RIM’s strengths in email seems like a decent hybrid tablet that might do decently for business-folk.
The only question now is whether or not Google is OK with this idea. They’ve been stingy in the past in certifying what devices can have access to their marketplace, with the Nook being one device that technically has Android underneath, but no access to apps. [Businessweeko]