RIM has certainly had an interesting week, but when doesn’t it? A few days ago, Alec Saunders, the Vice President of Developer Relations for RIM, informed a RIM enthusiast that “we’re removing sideloading [of apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook] for consumers. Pretty sure we’ve got a solution for devs.” This created somewhat of an uproar in the development community, prompting Saunders to clarify his statement in an official blog post.
According to Saunders, Twitter’s character limit made it difficult for him to accurately convey the details. RIM is not removing sideloading. Rather, it is merely limiting it for developer use only. The company is very concerned about pirated apps, claiming that “we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of [the] Android Market” (now known as Google Play). Saunders promised to work closely with the development community to ensure that the testing of apps on BlackBerry PlayBook hardware is not hampered.
Speaking to The Verge, a RIM representative noted that the company hasn’t even made its final decision yet. ”We are looking at different options including removal or evolution of our current side loading functionality. In the event that we do decide to go down that path, we will definitely work with developers to ensure we have a fully functioning way for them to test applications on hardware. However, we haven’t finalized or officially announced any plans yet.”
Research In Motion (RIM) President and CEO Thorsten Heins revealed on Thursday that his company has sold more than one million BlackBerry PlayBook tablets since they were introduced to the market. This announcement comes on the eve of the PlayBook’s first birthday. The tablet was initially released on April 19, 2011.
The PlayBook tablet, BlackBerry brand, and RIM as a whole have struggled as of late. During RIM’s fourth quarter earnings call–the same one which highlighted the aforementioned PlayBook statistic–the Canadian company disclosed revenues of $4.2 billion, 19% less than the previous quarter, and a loss of $125 million before adjustments.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom in Waterloo. Since taking on the role of President and Chief Executive Officer in late January, Heins has managed to make a number of changes to the struggling company, most recently letting go of three RIM execs–Jim Balsillie (board member), Jim Rowan (global operations COO), and David Yach (software CTO). With the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system and “over one million” PlayBook customers, RIM might have a chance to turn things back around.
We have some unfortunate news for those looking forward to getting PlayBook OS 2.0 on their BlackBerry tablet Research In Motion (RIM) announced on Wednesday that it has delayed the exciting update until February 2012.
David Smith, the BlackBerry PlayBook Senior Vice President, confirmed the delay in a rather detailed post on the BlackBerry blog. Thankfully, some people won’t have to wait very long to get their hands on the update. “Select enterprise customers” in RIM’s Early Adopter Program (EAP) will have the opportunity to test multiple PlayBook OS 2.0 betas over the next few months leading up to its release. Developers, meanwhile, can get started writing apps for PlayBook OS 2.0 with the finalized version of the software development kit (SDK).
BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will finally bring email, calendar, and contacts directly to the PlayBook, and it will also strengthen ties between the PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphones. Unfortunately, not everything made the cut. Smith did confirm that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has been removed from this release. Integrating it with the PlayBook proved difficult, so users will need to continue using the BlackBerry Bridge for the time being.
Research In Motion (RIM) is working on a way for developers to easily run their Android apps on a BlackBerry PlayBook. The company previously announced that PlayBook OS 2.0 will include support for running Android apps, but an on-stage demo at BlackBerry DevCon 2011 showed off the feature in action.
As you can see from the video, multitasking with Android and BlackBerry apps on the PlayBook works quite well. This feature could be very exciting for BlackBerry users. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to just install an Android app store and start playing around. Developers won’t have to modify any code, but they will need to “repackage [the app] using the BlackBerry Nature wrapper.” That being said, it’s a very simple process and it’s a lot easier than starting from scratch.
One has to wonder if developers will begin porting their Android apps to BlackBerry once PlayBook OS 2.0 launches. If enough developers jump on the bandwagon, we could see an explosive increase of apps in the BlackBerry app store.