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RIM confirms Blackberry PlayBook Android integration, with a catch

playbook androidFinally, there’s been some confirmation on a very important PlayBook rumor that’s been around for months now. RIM has officially stated that it will open up the PlayBook for BlackBerry Java and Android-based applications – but of course, it can’t be quite that simple. In a press release, RIM explains that the Android Market itself won’t be operable on the PlayBook. Users will only be able to access Android apps via BlackBerry App World. And there’s another catch: Only specific Android apps will run on the tablet. For now, the PlayBook will only support Android 2.3 apps.

“Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users.”

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It’s definitely a coup for the PlayBook: A launch that includes a hearty amount of apps is always beneficial, and tying itself to the established Android ecosystem doesn’t hurt. The QNX OS BlackBerry has chosen to use for PlayBook doesn’t have the recognition Google’s mobile OS does, not to mention the sheer number of applications. It also makes the tablet more attractive to developers. While there’s been increasing interest in creating PlayBook applications, it doesn’t have the pull Android does, and now developers will be able to market their programs to both easily due to what RIM describes as “a high degree of API compatibility.”

RIM revealed in its earnings call (via BBC) today that shares fell 12 percent, saying the sagging numbers were caused by “investments in the future.” But good news, as RIM CEO Jim Balsillie also revealed there are “many corporate clients that have approached us about, you know, each wanting tens of thousands, several tens of thousands of PlayBooks.” The PlayBook launches April 19.

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