With Android and iOS being the main focus of application developers of late, it seems that any new entrant in the tablet market would start with a sore disadvantage due to the low numbers of apps available. Tablets are expected to have hundreds of thousands of apps at launch, but for anyone who does not already have an ecosystem this seems almost impossible.
The upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is rumored to have solved this problem in a somewhat unorthodox way: by supporting Android applications.
This information is not official and actually comes from a free-speaking spokesperson. Hear him say the magic words for yourself 0:14 into the video below.
Evidence has also been found of BlackBerry phones pinging an Android app company's servers.
Running Android apps on platforms other than Android is not a totally new idea. Nokia's N900 runs Android apps through a program known as Alien Dalvik; their process takes the Dalvik virtual machine that runs Android and runs it on their own Maemo. So knowing that it is technologically possible, it is not surprising to find out that RIM would at least like to run Android apps on its Playbook.
What is interesting about this information is that Google has not yet responded to these rumors. Android is open source, but Google owns the Market and some rights to the apps within, which means that they may not be happy about this freeloading.
Obviously, they would like their platform to be on many devices so they can serve ads. But if RIM and Nokia can use Android apps without the Android OS and thus bypass the Android system's ads, then Google could lose money. On the other hand, having Android apps available in even more places could spur developer interest and result in a stronger Android Market.
Google now has a tough decision to make. Will they attempt to restrict Android app use, or let everyone run free? Personally, I think they should allow free apps to run on non-Android devices, because although it may not make sense as a business decision, it lines up with the "open" philosophy of Android.
Do you think that Google will allow others to use their apps, and if so will it hurt their platform?[BGR]