RIM has now officially confirmed that its forthcoming BlackBerry Playbook tablet will be able to run both Android and Java-based applications.

Using optional app players, RIM will allow users to download the applications coded for the other platforms from BlackBerry App World.

This won't mean that the entire Android ecosystem will be available at the BlackBerry Playbook launch, as developers will need to re-submit their applications for approval.

Exposure

However, it seems the process will require very little in the way of re-coding the application, so developers will be able to double the platform exposure for an application they've already created.

RIM has stated that only applications created for Android 2.3 and above will be used, which will rules out a fairly substantial number as well, although the SDK for the app players will be released shortly.

While previous speculation that the PlayBook would run Android apps was met with scepticism from some quarters, and the official confirmation was seen as a surprising move.

"The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today," said Mike Lazaridis, RIM's Co-CEO.

Versatile

"The upcoming addition of BlackBerry Java and Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook on BlackBerry App World will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform."

The app players will be available to download this summer, according to RIM, which should give some much-needed time for Android 2.3 applications to be developed, ready to be ported over to the BlackBerry Playbook whenever it finally gets its UK launch - currently rumoured to be around June.