Android app player could be heading to smartphones
Research in Motion (RIM) is considering adding Android apps to its BlackBerry devices in an attempt to pick up flagging sales, according to reports.
According to Bloomberg, BlackBerry devices running its QNX operating system will be Android compatible, enabling users to download apps designed for Google’s open source operating system. QNX smartphones are expected to be released early next year, source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Android Market currently has around 250,000 apps available, compared to around 50,000 on RIM’s App World.
This lack of apps, as well as a long period between new devices, has been cited as one reason BlackBerry has been losing market share to rivals such as Apple and Android. According to recent Gartner figures its share of the smartphone operating system market dipped to 12% during the second quarter this year, behind Apple on 18%, Symbian on 22% and Android on 43%.
The company recently announced a new music service for its handsets. The cloud-based BBM Music (BlackBerry Messenger Music) features songs from some of the biggest record labels such as Sony and EMI as well as the ability to share songs and play tracks offline. It also released a number of new devices recently, focusing on integration with social media platforms.
RIM had already announced that its PlayBook tablet – the company’s attempt to take on Apple in that market – would run Android applications via an App Player. At the time the company said the move was designe to help it expand the RIM application ecosystem.
It was reported earlier this year that Android apps would not run natively on the PlayBook – they will run via the App Player – and that the Android Market would not be available to PlayBook users. Instead users would still have to download the apps via App World. Developers would still have to follow RIM’s guidelines when writing Android apps that could be made available on PlayBooks.