The next generation of BlackBerry smartphones will be able to run Android apps, according to sources at RIM.

The new BlackBerrys running the QNX operating system, which is likely to replace the traditional BlackBerry OS, are expected to arrive in the early part of 2012.

Unnamed 'in the knows' at RIM told Bloomberg that the company is looking to broaden its appeal by allowing Android app compatibility for its new OS.

Market > App World

So far, RIM has struggled to engage the developer community in the same way that Android and Apple have.

The BlackBerry App World boasts less than 50,000 titles, while the Android Market now has a quarter of a million apps at its disposal.

So it's very easy to see why RIM would consider giving its users the option of using Android apps on their new breed of devices.

PlayBook

The move would be no surprise as RIM already announced plans to port Android apps onto the QNX-running BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

However, despite launching around five months ago, there's no sign of the promised Android App Player for that device.

Link: Bloomberg