One of the questions I asked RIM execs back at BlackBerry DevCon during our Android Apps on BlackBerry press session was in regards to third party Android app marketplaces. I was wondering if RIM, in addition to allowing individual developers to submit their Android apps to BlackBerry App World, would try and work on injesting apps from some of these other Android app sources in volume. The response I received from RIM was that "yes, this is something they have thought about". Whether they would or not was still a question.
But today we have evidence that not only did RIM think about this, but is actually doing it, thanks to this email we received from our friend Wayne (@wjddesigns) at WJD Designs:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anna Golosovskaya
Date: Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM
Subject: Android Apps for BlackBerry PlayBook
Dear WJD Designs
Some good news from your friends at Handster! Starting December 7, 2011, Handster (a division of Opera Software) will begin submitting your applications to BlackBerry App World. Your apps will then be made available to BlackBerry PlayBook users through the BlackBerry App World storefront in early 2012. This will increase the distribution opportunities for your apps from Handster. For more information on the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook, check out developer.blackberry.com/android.
There is minimal maintenance required from your side. Handster will take care of the verification process on apps, the conversion of APK files to BAR files, apps signing and retesting on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. All you need to do is resize your application entry icon to 86 x 86 pixels to meet requirements for BlackBerry App World submission and submit us your updated APK file. We will start porting apps as soon as they come in and begin readying them for distribution, so be sure to be one of the first to submit your Android app for conversion.
If you have any new Android apps, please do let us know. Freeware apps can be updated by our content management team automatically. As for paid apps, please update them in your Handster developer account or send them to me via email. Our content managers will upload them in your developer account, and save you some time.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Handster/Opera Software | Content manager
This is pretty huge news for BlackBerry PlayBook owners, as well as BBX, I mean BlackBerry 10, phones in 2012. It's critical for there to be a BIG app selection for launch, and this sort of initiative is one of the ways that RIM is going to meet that goal. Word is, Handster actually submitted some of these apps long ago -- over 7,000 in fact, that have been internally tested by RIM employees for a while now. I can see some big PROs and potential CONs to this strategy, which we'll follow up with in another post, but for now this is pretty exciting news. I'll be curious to see if RIM does deals with any other Android App Market places in similar fashion, or if Handster will be the only. If you're an Android developer out there and come across any emails or info in similar fashion, be sure to send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org.