Though there was previous speculation about the ability to run Android applications on the PlayBook, it had been nothing more than an unconfirmed rumor until now. Three anonymous insiders have maintained that RIM is, in fact, working on software that would give PlayBook users access to the more than 130,000 apps for Google’s OS.
When the rumors first leaked, the explanation of the compatibility was that the new, QNX-based BlackBerry OS would possibly feature software called Dalvik, a Java-based virtual machine that was developed by Google for Android. But two inside sources have now claimed that RIM has decided not to go with Dalvik due to an ongoing patent dispute between Google and Oracle Corp., leading RIM to develop its own software to allow for Android app compatibility, due out by the second half of this year.
An enterprise-friendly tablet, we got our hands on the BlackBerry PlayBook at CES this year and were pleasantly surprised at how powerful and responsive it was. Sporting a 1 GHz TI OMAP processor and a 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, the PlayBook demonstrated its power by running two HD movies simultaneously while allowing us to seamlessly swipe between them.
The PlayBook will also allow for one-to-one syncing with BlackBerrys, becoming an extension of the device and providing access to email, calendar, contacts, and more via Bluetooth over BlackBerry Bridge. When the two devices are not connected via Bluetooth, however, the PlayBook is just a Wi-Fi-only tablet with access to the web, but not the BlackBerry data.
Though pricing and release date details haven’t been made official, Office Depot recently posted a listing for the PlayBook, priced at $499.99, along with an approximate release date of late March or early April.