BlackBerry PlayBook updated to version 2.0, Android app support is live


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.

[via DroidLife]


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  1. nice that they did this, but they should have done it a long long time ago. 

  2. now this is what I call an update, still won’t get it tho, too small 

  3. Apparently the PlayBook is doing quite well here in Canada, like the number 2 tablet or something. I suppose that results from a mix of patriotism and the fact that they’re practically giving the things away.

    Anyhow, I just don’t see RIM’s strategy here, which leads me to believe they have none. They seem to be putting all of their app ecosystem hopes into the Android player, but their users end up with access to just a small subset of Android apps available (even if it is an interesting and high-quality subset). Moreover, obviously Android apps will be worse on a PlayBook than a real Android tablet. There are significant missing hardware features, and of course they’re unable to integrate with native apps via intents. So you might install an Android app that allows sharing via Twitter for Android, but not via native Facebook or e-mail. Lame.

    And, of course, they’re more than a year behind, supporting only Gingerbread when most tablets run Honeycomb and a small but growing number are rocking ICS. They’ll have to do much more work to keep up with new releases than manufacturers of pure Android tablets, which will be a big drain on already stretched engineering resources.

    Basically, at best they end up with a poor-cousin Android tablet that takes way more effort than just making an Android tablet would have. It’s the worst of both worlds.

    1. I may be misunderstanding this but… I think the beauty of QNX is that its capable of running android apps natively.

      Market wise, I believe they want to capture more user base on their blackberry products. With “Android Market” behind their product, it eliminates one of the BIGGEST criticism on every OS: app selection.

      And with growing user base, I imagine RIM is hopeful that developers will realize BB App World is actually more profitable than Android Market, and will adapt to their app converstion tool and build up RIM’s own app portfolio.

      WORSE case scenario, RIM completely loses the Android’s App market. Least they’re still able to sell their core business.

  4.  I took advantage of the opportunity to port my game for a free playbook… It’ll make a nice tablet for my 2-year old

  5. RIM’s costs include both hardware and operating system.  Android makers only have to pay for the hardware (well, plus a bit of patent extortion to Apple and others).  

    The fork’s still in the Blackberry tablet.

  6. I sold my free paperweight for $208, and just in time, as the avg selling price is still dropping on amazon and ebay.

  7. My PlayBook is an excellent tablet. This latest update is a great improvement over the 2.x dev version I was running.  It does some things way better than my Asus Transformer and of course vice-versa, so I’m happy to own both.

    I guess I’m just not childish enough to drop some lame one liner insult about it just to show others how cool I think I am.

  8. IF I were Blackberry, I would just switch over to Android and add their custome UI and apps to their hardware. This way they wont get left behind, they can even have Android Market installed, AND maybe even sell their own BB apps on android market

  9. Well I have the playbook, was looking forward to this update with the android integration, but this update is a big disappointment.  Yes they have added the email, calender, social network and so on, but this was all already in android devices, and should have been in the playbook from the start.  Mine keeps logging me out of my email and saying I have entered the wrong password which is a bit worrying, also the browser keeps shutting down for no reason, and the playbook has slowed down allot, in fact so much so that under normal situations, i would be playing with the product after an update all day discovering new things, and just enjoying it, but mine is now sat idle and I have no desire to pick it up.  The app market now looks like a mixed up android market, android apps are hard to find, and the market seems to be flooded with apps that have obviously been made to get the free playbook.  

    All in all I for one dont think this will even come close to helping save the playbook from doom.  I know diehard bb fans will claim it is a brilliant update, but it is not.  Best is because of the constant price drops of the playbook, I am now in a position, of having to keep it, or loose out on allot of cash.  

  10. So the Playbook will be running froyo and RIM will be making ICS tablets? Wait, no? They’re still trying to make their own platform work? They are also investing R&D dollars in a steam engine train that will run across the United States? What? The Playbook will help track the Donner party where?

  11. According to recent study, 15% of tablet owners have PlayBook, now rim just needs to start pumping out apps, it’s got amazing hardware and very happy with what I’ve seen and what it can do

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