Research In Motion announced this week that its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will finally launch next month, thus lighting a fire under several analysts excited to resume their PlayBook bashing. Among them was Stifel analyst Doug Reid, who issued a research note on Wednesday suggesting RIM’s first tablet offering will not deliver on the hype. “First, PlayBook’s lack of basic e-mail and calendar functionality (standalone) immediately gates the device’s addressable market to BlackBerry users, a market of only 55 million,” Reid wrote. He also points to the PlayBook’s lack of a substantial app ecosystem as a barrier, but we already know RIM is working on that. In the end, all of the analyst’s points echoed the countless complaints we’re been hearing for months: the need to tether, the small screen size, the app ecosystem, the fact that it’s late to market, and so on. In the end, we still won’t know until we know — though the PlayBook will certainly shock the majority of analysts and pundits if it sees even the slightest modicum of success at this point. More →
Amazon’s new Appstore for Android devices could launch as soon as next Tuesday, March 22, according to sources speaking to Wired. Amazon publicly announced that it would be competing with Google’s Android Market back in January, and in an effort to draw users to its site, the company has plans to offer exclusive titles such as Angry Birds Rio. Wired’s source also suggested that users will be able to download apps not only from the web, but also from a mobile application. Just two days ago shots of the Appstore in action leaked, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see this launch date rumor come to fruition. More →
BGR exclusively reported in January that Research in Motion was hard at work trying to add support for Android applications to the BlackBerry PlayBook and its QNX-based OS. The move would be a major one, as access to the second-largest mobile development ecosystem would give RIM’s new platform a huge jump in the all-important app game. Since our initial exclusive report, we’ve seen strikingly similar claims emerge as well as purported news of an Android app running on multiple BlackBerry smartphones. Now, a RIM representative has apparently been caught on video saying “we will also support Android apps when we release the Dalvik engine on top of QNX,” while showing off a PlayBook. Oops. The newly uncovered video was filmed at Mobile World Congress earlier this month and while we can’t quite call it an official confirmation from RIM, it certainly seems to substantiate our report. Though the RIM representative mentioned Dalvik, conflicting reports have stated that RIM won’t end up using the Dalvik engine, but rather a different option. The PlayBook video can be found after the jump, with the quote in question coming shortly after the 0:14 mark. More →
Mobile app developer ShopSavvy reports that its Android application has recently been tested on multiple BlackBerry devices. BGR exclusively reported last month that RIM may be working on a solution that would allow Android apps to run on its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Now, it appears as though RIM may be doing more extensive testing with Android apps that may move beyond the PlayBook tablet or even the QNX platform. According to ShapSavvy’s analytics data, as tracked by Flurry, the following devices accessed its servers while running the ShopSavvy app for Android:
- BlackBerry 8300 ran ShopSavvy on January 31, 2011
- BlackBerry 8600 ran ShopSavvy on January 17 and 24, 2011
- BlackBerry 8520 ran ShopSavvy on February 7, 2011
We’re not sure why these old devices would be used for testing, but we have a feeling this picture will get a bit clearer in the coming weeks and months. Also of note: according to geographic data contained within the logs, ShopSavvy says these hits came from Waterloo, Ontario in Canada — where RIM is headquartered. More →
As crazy as that sounds, we have been told by multiple trusted sources that RIM is seriously considering a feature that will allow BlackBerry devices to run Android apps. Here is what we know… Research In Motion has been trying to figure out the path it wants to take as far as how the existing Java environment will work on its upcoming QNX tablet and smartphones. The company has publicly stated that it is looking at getting a Java virtual machine running on the PlayBook — not so much for app development going forward, but for legacy support, custom apps corporations have deployed and don’t want to recreate, etc — but RIM hasn’t yet decided what kind of Java VM it will use. Hit the break for the rest! More →
Later this year, Amazon will try to throw a monkey wrench into Google’s plans to be the sole on-device app distributor of importance on the Android platform. As of today, Amazon’s on-device portal is open to developer registrations and developer submissions and later this year, it will begin selling apps. It’s pretty easy to why Amazon would be interested in such an endeavor — selling stuff and taking a cut is hardly a new strategy for the online retail monster. Beyond combining “app store” into one horribly annoying word, however, we’re not sure what Amazon brings to the table with this endeavor. In the end, it’s like we are now in a time machine moving backward. The mobile app distribution market went form a scattered mess run by third parties to single on-device portals that simplified the process tremendously. Apparently that solution left too many hands out of the pot, however, and third parties like Handango, GetJar and Amazon will slowly try to work their way into the picture. But we’re not sure what their value proposition is, and without a reason for existing we may see them disappear as quickly as they show up. More →
Google announced earlier this week that it would soon implement a content rating system in the Android Market. The new ratings will designate appropriate age ranges for each new and existing app in the Market. According to a developer advocate at Google, the new rating system has now gone live within Google’s Android developer tools. Starting immediately, developers will have to select one of four ratings — All, Pre-Teen, Teen or Mature — before they can submit apps to the Market. Developers will also have to go through their current catalogs and assign ratings to each app therein. Ratings are not yet visible to end users while they browse the Android Market, though the system should go live in the next few weeks. Any apps that have not been rated by developers by the time Google’s new ratings become visible for end users will be designated as mature.
[Via Droid Gamers] More →
It’s not every day Google dusts off the trusty old ban hammer and squashes an Android app. After all, the Android Market is an open one, where any developer can bring any app to the masses — almost. Mobile developer DLP Mobile launched an app earlier this week that performed a pretty questionable function; it allowed users to spy on SMS messages by having them automatically and secretly forwarded from a host phone to their own cell phone. The app, dubbed Secret SMS Replicator, was added to the Android Market Wednesday and it almost immediately caused a stir. Before long, Google exercised its ultimate authority and removed Secret SMS Replicator from the Market, saying the app “violates the Android Market Content Policy.” While the removal of this malicious app is seen as a positive move by most, some question whether or not Google’s actions push the Internet giant further away from the “open” descriptor it loves to boast. Most would likely agree, however, that leaving spyware in the Android Market would certainly have been the greater of two evils.
[Via Switched] More →
Android fans on AT&T have gotten the short end of the stick more times than we can count. It took far too long for AT&T to hop on board the Android bus and now that the wheels are going round and round, AT&T subscribers are still forced to deal with a less-than-stellar handset selection compared to the competition. In an effort to make amends, AT&T today announced the availability of its U-verse mobile app for Android handsets. The app gives Android users the ability to schedule recordings on their DVR boxes remotely. U-verse mobile can also download and play TV shows and movies that have already been recorded on a user’s DVR. AT&T’s U-verse app for Android is available immediately for the Samsung Captivate and HTC Aria, with versions for the Motorola FLIPSIDE and Motorola BRAVO set to follow soon. Unfortunately, the app is not available for the ancient OS build still residing on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →