September 19, 2011

Rim bringing Android apps to PlayBook soon, then smartphones?

by Darren Allan

Things haven’t been going so well for Rim of late.

After some initial decent interest and sales, its PlayBook tablet has slipped quite badly. And aside from the UK, where its smartphone market share has increased slightly over the last year, its phone business has fallen considerably across the globe.

This led to a recent Q2 fiscal 2012 earnings call which pitched up 10% lower than the previous year’s revenue, below analyst expectations. And following that, leading up to the weekend, Rim’s stock slumped by 20% as investors lost confidence in the Canadian firm.

So all is not well, but there is at least some good news on the horizon. Engadget reported that at the close of that share-scaring earnings call, Rim made an interesting announcement regarding its PlayBook tablet.

The company said that at its developer conference in October, it’s expecting to push out an update for the PlayBook which will bring much-needed native email, calendar and contact apps to the slate, plus there’ll also be an Android app player.

That will let BlackBerry tablet users access the Android Market, giving a far more diverse selection of apps than the current offerings from BlackBerry App World.

And the potentially better news is that this is a functionality which is rumoured to be coming to Rim’s smartphones, or at least the next-generation of the devices, which will also run on QNX (as the PlayBook does) rather than BB OS7.

That could well make the BlackBerry smartphone a more attractive device, depending on what Rim can produce on the hardware front to match it, of course.

Still, the firm is doing well enough in the UK anyway, currently holding a 21.5% market share in terms of smartphones. It’s just the rest of the world that’s suffering…

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