Latest PlayBook OS update gives glimpse of future Android app treatment in BlackBerry App World

Android Apps on BlackBerry
By Kevin Michaluk on 7 Jun 2011 10:50 am EDT

Notice the new BB logo on App pages? It's likely we'll see an Android logo for Android Apps 

This morning's BlackBerry PlayBook OS update brought with it a number of feature improvements, most of which were highlighted in the update note RIM sent out. But beyond that, keen eyes have been observing other changes, some of which are pretty noticeable (like the big boost of free working memory) and others which are more subtle.

One of these subtle changes is the new BlackBerry logo that's popped up on app pages within BlackBerry App World. Looking at the image above, what I'm talking about here is that little guy in the top left corner. That wasn't there before. Now it's there. WHY??! To me the reason for this addition is pretty logical. It's in preparation for the support of Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Remember, Android developers will have to submit their Android apps to App World (effectively making them BlackBerry developers and BlackBerry apps), but since the apps will run via the Android App Player, it's important that RIM denote within App World to customers what it is an Android app vs. what is not (especially since based on the demo we saw it seems like you may initially be only have one Android app running at a time in the App Player). I'm expecting that once Android Apps showing up in App World, you'll see this new little BlackBerry logo turn into an Android logo for Android apps.

I guess we'll know with time... but I'm betting that's the case (if I'm wrong we'll make up for it with a contest). So what do you think? Android logos coming soon to a BlackBerry near you?

Reader comments

Latest PlayBook OS update gives glimpse of future Android app treatment in BlackBerry App World


I thought it was simply there as a "Home" button that got you back to the top page, now that there's also a working Back button. I'm sure it can be made to look like the Android dude too, but that wouldn't fit with its function as a home button.

I thought the same thing, though it doesn't act as a home button... it's kind of a weird placement actually.  Tapping on it directly either does nothing or you accidentally also tap the back button and it goes back one screen. But if you're clicking in deep into categories, it doesn't jump you back right to the homescreen like you'd think it would.'

it does seem like it would be more fitting to be just a home button... but at the same time rim does need to put some sort of android app identifier in somehow.  we'll see what happens i guess.

Looks like a home button and works like one.

I go to Business-Business Tools

- click back it goes to Business
- click BB icon it goes to "home" - with featured/categories/my world.

Go to an "App" screen

- click Back goes to previous screen
- click BB icon goes to "home" - with featured/categories/my world.

Is this not working for you?

Yesterday at the Meet The BlackBerry PlayBook event here in Mexico City RIM told that we could see an Android Player beta version until october! If that's correct it sounds terrible!!! They announced Native email within 60 days since April...hopefully we'll get it in a couple weeks.

Sorry. You are incorrect on that one.
Jim said 69 days .... expected on July 4th .. give or take a day.

Well it's certainly a possibility, and I hope you're right as it may mean we get this functionality soon.

However if they were going to go all out and show an Android logo saying that they can now run android branded apps wouldn't that involve some form of licensing fee to Google to for the use of their brand and technology?

I thought this was why they were going down their own route that essentially 'converts' an android app into a Blackberry app rather than just creating what would essentially be an emulator (and hence illegal) thereby making it fine to run on the system. I think deliberately pointing out it's an Android app would = either a lawsuit from Google, or a hefty licensing bill.

I hope I'm horribly wrong and we get a load more Android apps in the next few days though ;)

Yeah I was wondering the same thing, how does saying you can run android apps and then actually running them work legally? I know they are using a player to "emulate" or "translate" the android app into a Playbook ready app, if this is legal, then why not also for iOS apps?

Isn't Android open source? Or free to those who want to use it? Or something like that? That's why so many phone manufacturers want it on their phones as it doesn't cost them anything. Surely if this is the case, RIM can do what they like with it.

I thought, Android is open source and free to use without licensing. Hence they could create an emulator and throw it on the device. Why not iOS, well iOS is closed source and I don't think Apple does any kind of free/paid licensing of iOS, so if they want to make playbook run iOS apps, they need source to implement emulator. Also, Apple will probably sue them as well.

If that's the case, we might as well use marketplace. Google android is free to use but everything else isn't. Google owns that, thats how they make money. Otherwise you would see tonnes of chinese knockoffs using it legally.

Also why would RIM advertise an android logo on the playbook directly. That's never going to happen. It'll show something else like an official logo/icon from rim identifying the app player. They will distinguish it by not even calling it an android app player (hopefully) since all devs on bb app world will essentially be blackberry devs.

Google has to give permission to manufacturers to use the android logo as it needs to comply with the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) which in turn is used for compliants with the android market

The word android is also copyrighted by george lucas (star wars fame)

While that is one possibility i personally think it would be a better idea for RIM to take a slightly more subtle approach to it since putting an android logo in App world only serves to highlight the native app deficiency of the platform.

That and they will also have an app player for BB Java apps.

So personally I think that the differentiation may be more subtle in that when you see the App world logo that means that it is a native app written for Tablet OS and when you don't see any logo at all, that means its EITHER a BB Java app or an Android app that was submitted for approval.

No need to use a trademarked logo of a competitor since as you noted in your post, the android apps need to be repackaged and submitted to app world for approval anyway so essentially after that they are Playbook apps just not native ones. Since it's the developers responsibility to repackage and submit the apps, that takes away any liability on the part of RIM since Android market is NOT open or free. So I would not expect to see ANY little green robots in App World anytime soon especially since RIM has stated they want to make the experience as seamless as possible and thus the more subtle differentiation of an App World logo for native apps and no logo at all for BB Java and Android would seem like the much more logical way to go

Agreed, RIM said the android apps will feel and work the same as native apps. I don't think they will be "highlighting" them with a green android logo or any such thing.

Some subtle hint/difference maybe (hope so).

errr, now we'll need to use the new battery icon and restart pb to force the app world to see update? Don't know if that even clears the app world cache.

Nope .... there will not be an Android logo anywhere on the PlayBook. I will not have any part of that.

If it's for what you are saying it's for .... only the RIM apps will be identified with the RIM logo.
If it is a non genuine RIM app, then no logo will appear. I think that it would be a SIN to advertise a competitor's logo on your product. It's like saying .....,"Hey google .... you won."

RIM is solid ..... they ROCK !

Correct they dont want these fandroids talking about RIM stealing etc i dont think they wanna put the little green man on the playbook

Thats just a home button. I do not think we will get android apps. RIM will come up with excuse like licensing issue, revenue sharing problems etc as their reasoning to not provide Android apps.
I really hope I am wrong, but you heard it her first, this is what will happen - no android apps.

I'm so glad they added the back button in MY WORLD! It was so freaking annoying after downloading an App going all the way back home and losing where you were at. I can't wait to get my new Balckberry Touch woohoo!!!