With the imminent launch of the iPad 2, and the ever increasing number of Google Android-based tablets taking to stores, one might wonder how well the Research In Motion (RIM) PlayBook might be adopted. Sure, the sheer ease of adoption for businesses already heavily invested in RIM technology may sell some, but with very little buzz in the general consumer market, and with the iPad attracting more and more corporate attention, what is a one-trick pony like RIM to do?
Answer: Learn another trick… and this is what RIM have most likely done. In an “if you can’t beat em’, join em’” move, a RIM employee at the 2011 Mobile World Congress has been caught mentioning that RIM is working on integration of the Dalvik engine onto the PlayBook, allowing it to run applications developed for Google’s Android operating system. Although there are some discrepancies with whether or not it will be the Dalvik engine or a RIM home-cooked version, the end result is the same, RIM wants to support Android apps.
The PlayBook is arguably one of the better tablets currently available on the market, but the relative number of apps available for Blackberry OS is very small (22,000 vs almost 200,000 for Android, and more than 300,000 for iOS). With Android app integration, it will be interesting to see if RIM can regain some former glory, or may simply be too late to the party. What do you think?