RIM Turns to Android Apps to Compete

RIM is hedging. Its new tablet the Playbook will cost the same as Apple's lowest-priced iPad. Given all the tablet competition however it's going to have a very tough time. RIM is be hoping its enterprise legacy will give the new tablet a leg up among corporations vs. others.

Now in a bid to overcome the weakness of its own apps ecosystem the QNX-based Playbook will reportedly run Android apps. This may help boost the appeal of the device for some people. QNX is to be the basis for BlackBerry devices going foward -- across the board.

What that probably means is that RIM handsets will also eventually run Android apps. In turn that will likely mean the end of BlackBerry's own App World. If developers can gain access to RIM's users by creating Android apps, they'll have no incentive to separately develop BlackBerry apps. Even the perception that Android apps will eventually run on BlackBerry handsets will kill interest in App World. 

A Q1 developer survey from Appcelerator and IDC found flat interest in BlackBerry as a platform (although there was some interest in the PlayBook):

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Now that Microsoft and Nokia are aligned we may see interest in Windows increase because of anticipated market reach. Windows will become a third contender after the iOS and Android. As I said, I assume that BlackBerry as an independent apps platform will go away. 

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The embrace of Android apps is like RIM adopting Android without really adopting Android fully. We'll have to wait and see whether it emerges as a half measure, too little too late, or is a shrewd move that enables BlackBerry to remain competitive in the future.