BlackBerry PlayBook and future QNX-based BlackBerry Smartphones to run Android Apps too?!

BlackBerry PlayBook and QNX-OS to run Android Apps
By Kevin Michaluk on 26 Jan 2011 12:10 pm EST

Pure awesomeness. Back on August 25th on CrackBerry Podcast 057 (jump to minute 52), prior to the PlayBook ever being announced, we spent a bunch of time weighing in on the BlackBerry tablet rumors of the day. I squashed a bunch of them - like the fact it would NOT be called the BlackPad (I still chuckle at that one) nor would RIM brand it the QNX OS (it was introduced as BlackBerry Tablet OS). I also talked about the QNX-based operating system, and how it would definitely be on BlackBerry Smartphones down the road (now confirmed). And I also made a bet with our own Bla1ze that the QNX OS would be capable of running Android apps down the road, should RIM choose to make that happen (obviously they want to build out their own app ecosystem via App World, but if you can support another one, why not?). And well, I don't usually make bets that I won't win - even in August I had heard RIM's new tablet could run Android apps, but the big question then and now is whether RIM would want to do that, even if the platform could do it. 

Today Jonathan Geller followed up on this, stating he's confirmed with multiple sources that it's looking like the BlackBerry PlayBook and future BlackBerry Smartphones running the QNX-based OS may be able to run Android apps via a Java Virtual Machine. RIM has stated a Java VM is coming to support legacy BlackBerry apps, and it seems RIM may choose to implement the Dalvik JM which Android utilizes (the final decision having yet to be made). Assuming RIM goes this route, you may just be able to run Android apps on your next BlackBerry. You can follow the link below for BGR's full take on it.

Be sure to sound off in the comments on this one. How would you feel about a BlackBerry PlayBook or Smartphone that could ALSO run Android apps?? Could be pretty awesome, don't you think? Let's make it happen RIM!

Source: BGR

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook and future QNX-based BlackBerry Smartphones to run Android Apps too?!


This would be pretty awesome indeed..not only for Playbook users who would instantly have access to all of Android's nice apps, but would also be a boon for developers.

Possible compatibility issues aside, this would be awesome.

I would be wary of speed issues too. The current BB smartphones run a JVM and apps are incessantly slow due to this. Don't expect newer android apps, or even things such as Angry Birds to run particularly well. Interpreted code usually sucks for non-productivity apps or anything that relies on speed.

The article states that current Android apps on their NATIVE devices run through this Virtual Machine, plus the Playbook has some pretty impressive specs as well, so I don't think speed would be an issue.

Wrong, the native Android apps can be directly ported over to QNX as both QNX and Android are POSIX complaint and they need no VM to run native Android apps on QNX. Apart from this Android has Java and Adobe Flash support too, now that QNX had added Flash support to the core they are deciding on which Java VM to use, a BB OS 6 one or Dalvik which is Google's. If they add Dalvik support they will be able to run all kinds of Android apps. Lately the hardware evolved so much and performance should matter if they run Java and java has got it's own advantages over only being native. Already we have seen PB rocking QNX with Flash, Mobile java is light weight too..

This would be BlackBerry's only saving grace if they could run Android apps. But at the same time, If a bunch of BlackBerry users get a taste of what other devices OS's can have, A lot more would just switch devices because of the possible compatibility issues. QNX sounds promising, but in the time we wait for it to come out on a Phone, other devices will have also made advancements to their devices, still leaving BlackBerry behind.

That's weird, I'm pretty sure I've read many posts on here about people leaving the other OSes and coming to Blackberry. To each their own. People need to stop whining and just choose what works for them.

It would only be a saving grace to current BB users. If RIM is trying to lure the Android crowd with this tablet, I smell failure. The PB is really meant to be used in conjunction with a BB, and Android diehards don't give a rat's behind about that.

I don't think android die hards exist. Almost by definition and Android user wants the latest tech without being roped in a la Apple. If QNX lives up to its supposed potential they'll drop andoid like a flaming piece of $%^&.

Yeh I think the playbook would lose its strength as a brand. Nd bb as a whole. I don't understand why bb devs couldnt b able to make innovative apps like apple nd android has. When u think about it , would bb app world even compete with androids app market If they allow android apps to run. Bb would probably lose devs.

Android left a vial taste in my mouth. My wife with iphone 4 wants my torch. But yeah people will leave blackberry if they get pointless aps(flash makes apps such a waste but maybe just me)

Some people still can't get over this naming thing??? It was kinda insightful comment during the first week after the announcement of the official name but two months later?

it was brought up in the article, so i was commenting on that. i don't really care what they call it.

Now this is something we can actually legitimately be excited about . Innovation and thinking outside of the box instead of more of the same.... Refreshing past models.

If RIM and Google partner, it is a win-win situation for both, RIM wants phone business and Google wants Ad business. Of course very bad for MS and Apple as the Android dev support explodes further. BES/BIS/QNX/Tat at the core will differentiate RIM from gazillion other Android sweatshops.

Sounds really cool! I've always been happy with the apps for the Blackberry, but i'm getting a little tired of hearing people defend their phones on the basis that "their apps are better". REALLY great idea!

Yes, RIM needs to make this happen. This would be hugh for RIM and put pressure on Apple. Both of which I would love to see happen.

What is the deal with angry birds? I played the game and think it stinks. Good ol american culture one person hypes something up and everone jumps on the bandwagon.

Agreed. (Except I wouldn't say it stinks.)

But yeah. What's the big deal about this game??? Every other person mentions it when talking about apps as if it automatically tags the person a "cool trendy guy" because he mentionned "Angry Birds".

The majority of people I've talked to, enjoy the game when they need to kill a few minutes. I don't really understand when someone says they flat out hate the game or that it stinks... are we so lazy now that we don't like solving puzzles? It's a simple puzzle game, yeesh...

I think that's great and all, but what about Google's take on this? I"m sure they won't just sit there and watch RIM take all their apps from them. We'll also have to see how that Oracle lawsuit goes through before we can get excited. We should also keep in mind that we won't be seeing the QNX OS get on a mobile device for a long while.

That's apple think. Google wants as many people as possible using those apps as they'll get more eyeballs. IMO they have no interest in a closed system.

Somehow it sounds stupid to me...
I mean, Mike said at D:
"RIM, bla, bla... it´s STILL a buisness company... bla, bla... we don´t care about consumer devices, that´s thing that happend itself that a consumer... bla, bla, bla..."

So? Why are they going that way now?
Was it only an excuse for being behind?

Don´t get me wrong, that are great news - but the things Mike said and they do (after that) don´t fit.
Did he only say that, because he had no other excuse?!


Your Android apps? Unless you are a developer who is displeased with your app targeting an audience you didn't have intentions for, your comment is very ignorant. BlackBerry apps are simple? I assure you there's nothing in that statement that holds water, you're stating your opinion, and i'm sure no one here really cares much for it. RIM is actually being very original with it's QNX OS platform, so I think you should refrain from trolling. Thanks bud!


Said just like the child you are. And why are you on this site. What you don't get is that current BB apps runs on BB OS, BB Apps for playbook are going to be much better than Android apps. Yes it's good for playbook users to have access to Android apps but they are probably going to come across as second rate compared to apps made for the playbook.

For me, the big unknown for the PlayBook is the ability to use the Bridge for internet/data connectivity (and not just PIN-related functions). Lack of that would make it easier for me to NOT spend the money on the PB right now (will likely down the road).

I do think this could help swing a lot of people to the PlayBook from at least other droid tabs. And perhaps some folks who were thinking of the iPad.

A good, bold (ha ha) move RIM!

Definitely a first for any platform without emulating a virtual environment via 3rd party software. This could be a huge step in the RIGHT direction, let's hope it's ON at launch

It's funny since everyone always makes fun of Android and Apple apps as 'toys' and 'for kids' and 'fart apps', yet here the same people are going squee about getting access to them.

That's because having a BlackBerry PLUS the fun apps WOULD be awesome. Having a toy without the productivity is not worth it.

I think this would be pretty cool. Being able to play some cross platform games with Android users would be nice. I'm a little concerned though because I hear a lot about android apps that actually have some malware inside of it. I never felt like i had to worry about that on my BlackBerry but if i'm downloading Android apps will i have to?

I can care less. The number of useful Android Apps are... pitiful to say the least. The only thing I've paid for is Trillian (available for Blackberries) and Beautiful Widgets (I'm going to go out on a limb and say Widgets are out...).

There isn't much else to buy.

I guess TouchDown would be a good candidate since RIM is afraid to build a decent Exchange client for their phones/tablet...

If they had said iOS apps I would have been incredibly... joyous..

But Android apps? Meh... They're crap anyways. Nothing to see here, moving along.

Well, I agree most apps are pointless, android does have some apps that would be a great help. I personally want a Google Analytics app, app, to name a few, useful apps, which should have been released for bb as well. There are others as well, but those are key for business, or at least small business and personal finance. The only google analytics app we had was 10 bucks and got pulled off App World, because I can't find it anywhere. Android has cheaper and more powerful options available in this segment.

You can care less? That's an odd thing to say.

Now, if you said you couldn't care less, that would be quite a statement.

that would be awesome! i personally think the current blackberry apps are seriously lacking so this would be a major plus for me!

Sounds great - so long as the pb will run the apps properly, the last thing RIM needs is - "I have that app on my andriod... Only it runs much faster and has no bugs" suddenly the pb will look like a large pile of pooh, even though it has awesome hardware... Beeeeeee careful RIM (as I'm sure they will be)

I think this is another feather in the blackberry cap. Now when everyone is like my droid is so much better cause of blah, blackberry can say we can do that and all of this better than your crappy phone book sized phone. This is great and I hope it becomes true.

The consumer market loves fart apps & Angry Birds. Offer them a smartphone with an OS stability that Android lacks (sorry trolls, but Android 2.2 should barely qualify as a beta), long battery life and security of a Blackberry, coupled with their favorite games and fart apps and its pretty much a major win for BB.

I still can't believe RIM's naming of the PlayBook as I really don't see anything business-like in the name. Sounds like a toy which isn't what they're aiming for. Although BlackBook may sound a tad lame, it would fit it much better as a business device.

The name is not changing. PlayBook - where you come up with a plan to achieve a desired result. It's a great pun for both business and fun.

I wasn't expecting it to change. I'm just surprised at the type of name they chose. They've always been good at choosing names that were neutral in this respect.

I really like your rhyme you've got going on there, so good work on that :-)

That sounds awesome. But the question is how the implementation would be coz BB phones are a different platform altogether. In Android itself we have so much fragmentation. So if we have BB phones theoretically able to run Android apps how would the experience be? Also would that stop software developers to code for the blackberry separately??

yikes yet another short term blow to the BB ecosystem. who in their right mind would spend any money now to develop any BB apps if in a year the RIM BAndroid :) phones can run android apps?

Any developer is going to build for iphone and android and then wait and see if they will build for BB...(of course as i write this I realized it is likely happening this way anyhow)

Sure.. might as well ignore the 50+ Million BB users. More than enough user base for developers to target, no?

I guess we'll see if a new app comes out for BB now that you've decided all devs will wait for QNX BB phones.

Interesting as Google just announced they are not happy with the sale of Google apps. BTW, can someone tell me again how an iPhone or Android phone is not a productive business device? Because I can assure you my storm 9530 is a PoC and entirely unproductive.

Android Apps are OK. There are a couple I've heard of that I want. BUT...


1. Copy Google's Speech-to-Text functionality that can be used just about anywhere.

2. Tether (for browsing, installing apps, downloading podcasts, Pandora and other internet Radio services) through an existing Blackberry, so I don't need to buy a second data plan.

Since the PlayBook hardware is locked down, I won't make hardware requests, but for future versions:

3. GPS that doesn't say, "Cannot get GPS signal" just before I am coming to a difficult intersection.

4. The ability to "hot swap" batteries, so I can keep going. (providing I remembered to put the spare in the charger.

I'm in the planning stage of adapting a shop management front end tool to a tablet format for a national automotive brand and this could make the platform decision simpler. Guess it won't be the iPad :-)

To say the truth: It's very very easy to port apps from android to BB QNX OS.

But it's impossible to load apps direct on android market...

Hehe...talking about what was in the sleeve. And the marathon continues. Look's like ppl at Mike's company are not as dumb as whiners have been stating lately. Looking forward to change my 9700 for a QNX smartphone, RIM! Keep up the GREAT work!

If they can simply add a jit to the kernel to run android apps.. Why not do it up?! Not only will it rock the android world, it will still be a blackberry!

For all those people saying, people will switch over to android or apple or windows, because blackberrys are so far behiend can go right ahead. What about all the features that other phones lack compared to blackberrys such as in BES, email, BBM, nice keyboard ect. which is why most people like blackberrys so much. Addidng android connectivity to the blackberrys is just a bonus for all those BB addicts, who will never switch regardless,

Just my 2 cents.

I think it would be highly unlikely for RIM to allow Android apps on the Playbook - certainly not downloaded from Googles app store if such a thing were possible. Because by doing so they'd be handing a huge source of revenue to Google.

They could allow the apps to be uploaded to App World by Android developers. But that would mean using a variant of Googles JVM and SDKs which are clearly different to the custom JVM RIM currently uses. That's the licensed JVM with support for RIM's hardware (see below).

And SOME native apps might run on QNX. Assuming you have access to load them and provided they didn't use Google specific libraries. Not recommended if RIM wants to manage its platform.

Finally, RIM could use the Google JVM, but they'd be crazy to do so because Google has been hit with a massive patent violation penalty because of their JVM. There is no way Google will win Oracles patent suit because Google clearly breached the Java license. The cost will be immense. Just not sure who will pay it.

If RIM allowed Android apps to run on their devices they become irrelevant as a company so I doubt it will happen. If you buy BlackBerry its probably for BlackBerry features, not for Android apps that are likely as not to be available on BlackBerry anyway (or similar apps at least).

What would be much better is to provide cross compilers for Android Java code to make porting Google apps to BlackBerry much easier. You could do it for iPhone too if you felt so inclined.

That approach allows RIM to keep the own JVM and protects their platform from rogue code.

Don't know where Crackberry got this story but I doubt it was from a RIM developer.

Yeah let Apple and Google battle it out for.....well whatever their beef is this week. We'll just stay on the right side of the RIM and watch the fight from our PlayBoox!

This would get Blackberry back to the fore front of the tech pages!! Blackberry has been forgotten in some of the best apps!

I like this monopoly RIM has adopted, there is nothing rewarding then giving your fans the ability to test the competition's apps on your own device. Given the shear power of the PlayBook, hopefully this move (if the final go is given) will turn some Android followers into BlackBerry PlayBook converts.

I wouldn't mind it. I currently have a DINC and a 9650 and it would be nice to have some of the Google apps on mg BB. Like a better GMail, Google Maps etc

While I agree that most of the apps in the Android market are pointless so are the ones in the iTunes store. However the good thing about this would be the amount of support they would most likely get from developers

Now what I REALLY want to see is BBM on Android. Each device has its own pin of sort so im sure it could be done.

Sigh. What a dumb speculation.

Dalvik is a tiny part of Android, created primarily to avoid paying royalties to Sun (now Oracle) for Java ME. Because, well, Android was meant to be free and paying royalties for every copy would make it impractical.

To port all of the Android layers that Dalvik actually needs in order to run apps would be a huge and pointless undertaking. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Notice that BGR was only told Dalvik might be used. The rest is just a wild and ridiculous speculation.

if Blackberry can run Android Apps its really a wonderful news, imagine the power of
Blackberry messaging capability and security with android multimedia prowess.

Look at the bigger picture. They are expanding their reach in a very competitive market and the bottom line is, that is great news. I will certainly move the Playbook up to the must consider list as the tablet race plays out for the next several months. Galaxy had a good lead until Zoom jumped out. Price ultimately pushed those back. PB can solve that issue. I'm all for it. No one is going to kill BB with a few gadgets. Especially when RIM can easily step on them with an adaptation such as this.

Wanting this Playbook thingy more and more, but I must say, the potential ability to run android apps on it would NOT be one of the attractions. Just like deciding in the end to get a Torch rather than an iPhone or Legend, etc, it's a decision which is based just as much on practical utilitarian factors ('how useful will this phone be for me in my job' is a pertinent question I asked myself) as it is on subjective stuff too. Mostly by the latter I mean the need to differentiate myself somehow from iPhone and Android mania. Yeah I know BlackBerry is merely a different fashion, but for me it feels less slavish. And that looks to be something of a common theme amongst BlackBerry users. So, RIM if you're contemplating enabling Android apps for the purposes of widening popularity, that might be a gamble you don't even need to take.

They should do this, now!

Give me a 4 inch, capacitive touch screen, dual core, 1GB of ram and lots of ROM BlackBerry running QNX with the Android Market, and I'll give you my money in a heartbeat.

Long Live the Fighters!...
Apple and Steve Jobs can bite me, meglomanic bastage!

The playbook is cool, but cost prohibitive for many, so is the torch. QNX running Android is like the old IBM Warp Running Win 3.1 apps, except there is no one stopping BB from doing it. for the phones, the tech specs need to be raised quite a bit, so you have headroom to run the things you want. BB combined with Android, would make it two to one against Apple. As as Blackberry users we would win, we are used to the BB Os, and get addition of Android. We also still get the support from BB, instead of the quaqmire of andoid companies.

If I was blackberry I would put as many developers I Could find behind closed doors, and work like mad men to make QNX solid as a rock running both, then release it to the other companies.

Just my two cents.