Disappointing Android apps for PlayBook functionality detailed

The BlackBerry Runtime player for Android apps will have very limited functionality.

Details of the Android apps that BlackBerry PlayBook owners will be, or rather, will not be able to access through the device's long-promised player have been revealed.

Sadly for RIM fans, the long wait appears to be in vain, with the BlackBerry Runtime for Android apps player eliminating a huge array of potentially enticing features.

Presenting the details at the Droidcon conference in Romania, RIM engineers explained exactly what Android functionality PlayBook owners won't be using.

Anything that uses Google Maps, offers in-app billing, SIP VoIP is a no-go, and live Android wallpapers won't be brightening up your tablet.

"Rendered unusable"

The Thinq blog, reporting from the event, says: "Key features which will be unavailable to Android apps running under the compatibility layer on the PlayBook and future BlackBerry devices include Android's famed battery-sucking Live Wallpaper, SIP and SIP VoIP, anything built using the Native Development Kit, apps containing only App Widgets, and apps containing more than one activity tied to the Launcher.

"In addition, any packages which rely on Google Maps, in-app billing services, Android's text-to-speech engine, or the cloud-to-device messaging system will all be rendered unusable under the company's runtime system."

The news comes as a massive blow to BlackBerry PlayBook owners hoping that the long-promised, and now evidently over-hyped, Android player would breathe some life into the ailing tablet.

Start the Fire

For RIM, the disappointment is compounded by Wednesday's Amazon Kindle Fire Android tablet announcement.

The Kindle Fire boasts a very similar 7-inch form factor, full Android Honeycomb compatibility at under half of the retail price of the Kindle.

It's difficult to see how the PlayBook, still without a native email client, can compete with the Kindle Fire even if the price points were similar.

RIM has begun to cut the price of the PlayBook in a bid to turn some inventory into cash, but it now appears that the BlackBerry tablet may have to go the way of the HP TouchPad in order to shift those units.

Even with Wednesday's revelations, the company still hasn't revealed when the BlackBerry Runtime player for the QNX platform will arrive, more than six months after the PlayBook launched.

Via: Thinq

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and TechRadar.com. He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.