RIM (Research In Motion), the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, is considering a feature that will allow BlackBerry devices to run Android apps.
The company has publicly stated that it plans to run a Java virtual machine on the QNX OS on PlayBook — not so much for future app development, but for legacy support that custom app corporations have deployed and don’t want to recreate, as well as similar instances of backward compatibility.
So far RIM has not yet decided what kind of Java virtual machine it will use, but according to tech blog bgr.com, it is considering the Dalvik virtual machine (VM), which Android OS also uses.
If RIM does pick Dalvik VM, it would allow RIM’s PlayBook and other QNX devices to run just about any application built for Android.
RIM might choose the open source Dalvik VM without Google’s involvement, or it might reach an agreement with Google (by getting its OS certified by the software developer). Which way RIM will go is not clear but whatever its decision, if QNX does support Android apps, the company will create a win-win situation for both itself and Android.
A BlackBerry device running QNX, with a dual core processor, and support for Android Market would be infinitely more appealing than anything in the current lineup of BlackBerry smartphones.
While some voices say that with this move RIM is virtually accepting defeat at the hands of Android, in reality RIM’s plans will reduce the time to market for its devices while depriving its rivals of the first mover advantage.
It will also be a good move for Android as the OS will become more attractive for developers, who will be able to tap a bigger market without having to rewrite applications.