We’ve been hearing about RIM’s efforts to bring an Android app emulator to their tablet platform for some time now. If the functionality had been included out of the box it may have saved the doomed PlayBook, but better late than never. Right? A big update is hitting the BlackBerry tablet today that finally enables the functionality, giving PlayBook users access to as many Android apps as developers feel fit to port. Other enhancements include native email (really? this was missing from a BlackBerry device?), Twitter and Facebook integration, a new keyboard and home screen UI, and improved web browsing.
Can Android save the PlayBook? The changes needed to make an app compatible with the slate’s emulator software are apparently minor, but with the PlayBook pretty much dead in the water it remains to be seen what sort of developer support we will see. Android app emulation is a novel concept, and if the functionality finds its way to future RIM devices it could be a big deal, but we don’t see it salvaging the PlayBook from the bottom of the tablet sea. A $199 paperweight just became a $199 paperweight that runs Android apps.