Android Apps Coming to BlackBerry, MeeGo Smartphones

Android Apps Coming to BlackBerry, MeeGo Smartphones
It's no secret that RIM's been working on an Android "App Player" for its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. A beta of the App Player was actually leaked to the Internet not too long ago, although getting the Player to work was a hassle since it wasn't quite ready to use yet.

New reports now suggest that Android apps may be coming to BlackBerry smartphones as well ... along with smartphones powered by MeeGo, Bada, WebOS, and Windows.

Let's start with the BlackBerry App Player
Why? Because it's the highest-profile attempt to bring Android apps to other platforms, and the only one that has a major company's backing.

RIM said that it'd be available sometime in the summer. But since fall just started on the 23rd, Engadget's "reliable source" -- which said that the App Player won't be available until late fall -- seems much more reliable now.

One can hope that once it's released, installing an Android app will be a slightly less involved procedure than Lucas Atkins of N4BB previewed, and won't require you to install the Android SDK or put your PlayBook into developer mode. Even at its best, though, it'll have some big limitations: It'll only work with Android 2.3 smartphone apps, and it won't give you access to the Android Market. Unless it lets you install downloaded apps from other stores, Android app developers may well have to bring the apps to BlackBerry themselves.

Coming to BlackBerry smartphones?

Why not? That's the rumor, anyway, and it seems technically sound since the PlayBook's QNX operating system will power the next generation of BlackBerry smartphones. One imagines that Android smartphone apps will look somewhat more at home on a BlackBerry smartphone's screen than a BlackBerry tablet's.

What about other platforms?

That's the promise of OpenMobile's Application Compatibility Layer, which already has a demo video up on YouTube. Its claims border on the hyperbolic; OpenMobile says it runs "every single Android app -- no exceptions", and that it has "full speed 3D graphics". It claims support for a bevy of mobile OSes, including MeeGo, Bada, WebOS and Windows.

The downsides? First, it appears to be aimed at device manufacturers; the marketing copy talks about how it "opens up the market for your device". And second, it doesn't actually open up the market, if by that you mean the Android Market. As they discuss in the comment threads, you have to use a non-Google app market, one that'll actually work with your phone.

Why all the limitations?

A better question might be, how come this works at all?

The reason is because Android's programming code is open-source, which means people can legally reverse-engineer it. Only the code for the "Gingerbread" smartphone version of Android is, though; the "Honeycomb" tablet version's still under wraps. And the Android Market is proprietary to Google-approved smartphones, so the odds are slim to none that BlackBerry will ever see it.

Will BlackBerry (and other phone) owners ever see Android apps? The quickest way is still to switch to Android ...

No comments:

Post a Comment