What was promised by Research in Motion, back before the launch of the PlayBook, was apps…Android apps at that. The PlayBook launched and immediately took a vertical nosedive due to missing important features such as a native e-mail, calendar and even contact support. The spotlight was quickly taken away while RIM fended off anonymous employee letters describing their downfall. It’s hard to imagine things are about to change with leaked software, especially when employees are moving to competitors.
The well talked about, but never seen, ‘Android app player’ for the PlayBook has been leaked by N4BB, a BlackBerry enthusiast site. In what can only be described as a “boneheaded move” by RIM, pertinent package information containing links to the unreleased player were stored within an easily accessed file for an update to their desktop managing software.
The app player provides a secure chrooted environment containing Dalvik runtimes to allow the PlayBook to seamlessly run supported Android applications atop their QNX platform. The technology works extremely similar to Myriad’s Alien Dalvik which was demoed on a Nokia N900 in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Although it is a poor substitute for actual native applications, leveraging the ecosystem of a competitor is a move that has many analysts curious as to what is going on inside RIM. A good experience with Android apps on the PlayBook may drive users to purchase one of the many Android tablets available, tossing away their mediocre BlackBerry paperweight. On the other had, a poor experience with Android apps on the PlayBook will leave users shaking their hands on the way to purchase a real Android tablet, again, tossing away their mediocre BlackBerry paperweight. RIM has some serious decisions to make as to their future.
If you’re one of the (un) lucky few with a PlayBook, the leaked file is hosted on servers managed by RIM, so if you’re planning on getting the “real deal” make sure you act fast before it’s pulled. Hosting mirrors will allow you to get it no matter what, while keeping RIM busy, but to be sure you’re getting a vetted installer, you might want to wait until it’s publicly available.