Research and Motion announced that in a future firmware update they are going to remove the ability for users to load in Android files. This shocking announcement came from Alec Saunders of RIM who said Android developers will not develop for the Playbook unless this feature is removed. Talk about bait and switch, one of the reasons why RIM moved so many Playbook tablets in the last quarter was sales people hyping you can load Android apps in. It looks like Blackberry cares more about wooing a few big name companies then it cares about its user base.
The announcement on Twitter sparked a huge consumer outcry and various RIM staff members mentioned our own Good e-Reader App Store, by name. It seems we get more downloads on average on our Android apps then App World gets and the company is irked. RIM goes on to say that 25% of all Android apps available in the App World and other websites are pirated.
When OS2 came out a few months ago, one of the big selling points was the built in Android Emulator. RIM hyped this at CES 2012 and other conferences trying to stir up demand for this platform. All of their speakers and tech people were mandated to hype Android Emulation to everyone who stopped at the booth. Many customers were swayed to give RIM another chance because they had more control over their experience. Many sales representatives at Best Buy, FutureShop and other companies hustled a ton of tablets, convincing people they can run Android Apps.
So whats the deal with loading in your own app and why is our own store is so essential? Many Android developers could care less for a paltry Blackberry QNX platform that requires apps to be developed for a singular device. Android, iOS, Manga, Meego and others can be used on a slew of devices. What developer wants to seriously for 1 tablet, when they can do a range. Our own APP store gives customers a wider option then RIMS own App World. The Good e-Reader App Store is focused on quality apps, whereas App World has no quality and control. Finally, our store fills a huge void and focuses on international customers that RIM often does not care about. Many of App Worlds most popular apps do not work outside the USA or Canada.
I will agree that most Android apps converted to Playbook format are pure garbage. This is mainly because the Android Emulator does not have a recent update of Flash and is incompatible with Adobe Air. Furthermore any apps that require the usage of the MIC and Camera will also not function. This limits the amount of popular apps like Instagram, Netflix and any Google apps.
It really seems with this announcement RIM is going to do away with one of the largest selling points of its tablet and stick it to savvy owners to have more flexibility. The company seemingly cares more about courting begging a handful of developers to make apps for their platform.
RIM has bragged about 25,000 apps being submitted to their store last quarter but have you had a look? Most of the programs are pure garbage and are a blight. There is only a spartan number of quality apps available and no serious developer will even touch the platform. RIM can limit their hardware all they want, but Gameloft, Zynga and others will never touch the platform in any serious capacity.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.