So RIM has been talking up its Playbook tablet device for a while now, but today an interesting possibility is developing. RIM is considering which Java VM to use in their upcoming device, and they are looking heavily at the Dalvik VM — the same one Android uses.
If they go the open source route and pick up Dalvik VM, there’s a good chance that the Playbook will be able to run Android apps, provided that you are able to track them down from their sources. Obviously, you won’t be able to just download apps from the Android market on the Playbook. However, according to BGR, who broke the story, RIM is also considering “courting” Google to get some sort of licensing agreement, which would give the Playbook access to the Android Market, Gmail apps, and other Google services.
So, right now this is firmly in the “rumor” category. It makes sense for RIM to be looking into this avenue, but will it pan out? Google seems very unlikely to “license” a non-Android device to run the full gamut of Android apps and the market — especially given that some Android tablets don’t even have full Google support. I’m sure RIM is willing to throw some money at Google in this equation, but they have to be picky about how much they can offer, because while full support of Android apps would definitely help the Playbook sell, they still don’t know how successful it will be in the market. And it seems to me that if people are REALLY buying a tablet based on the ability to run Android apps…well, they’d probably buy an Android tablet. But if RIM can’t provide access to the Android Market, I don’t know how much of a bullet point that would really be for them, even if they could run “sideloaded” apps. So their situation is a tricky one.
All that said, it’s kind of interesting to think about. There’s really no reason they couldn’t go with the open-source Dalvik VM, and that would most likely allow access to at least a lot of the Android apps out there. What would this do for them? Would it hurt Google at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!