Angry Birds (and other Android apps) on Blackberry?
This post encompasses all Android apps but the title states the most important one. I mean, where would we be without Angry Birds, right? Anyway, it’s rumored that RIM (the mother company of the Blackberry line of products) is working on a way to run Android applications natively on it’s upcoming Blackberry Playbook tablet. Now, this is a rumor so in time this post may be completely senseless but let’s assume for a minute they are working on this and eventually it comes to fruition. What does this mean for users, developers, Android and Blackberry as a whole?
For users this would be a wonderful thing. This would allow all those envious Angry Birds (or other Android applications) users to be able to run those applications on their Blackberry hardware. Some users just prefer the Blackberry OS or the hardware or Blackberry Messenger. Others use Blackberries because their workplace requires it. Considering the quantity and quality of applications on the Android Market this would allow all of those users to be able to run apps they want to on their existing hardware. However, there is a down side. If this does indeed happen, these apps are created for Android with Android hardware in mind. Generally, Android developers know what hardware they are able to use and what resolutions to build their app for. If Blackberry users can run Android apps, the app might be for a resolution Blackberry doesn’t support or it may require certain hardware that all Android devices have but not all Blackberries have. Fragmentation is the other issue. Google recently annouced a 6 month release cycle for their OS upgrades. With each new OS version comes new and deprecated API functions. It would be possible that down the road, an application may require a version of Android that the Blackberry simply doesn’t support. The primary problem I see with this is confusion for users.
On the outside this seems great for developers. They can have their application be accessed by even more people which means possibly even more revenue. However, say they have an app that has been on the Android market for over a year. It is supported on all Android devices and has no issues with them. However now users start using it on their Blackberry device and things force close or stop working. Users can tell the developer but may not realize it’s because their on the Blackberry OS. This can lead to confusion and head aches for both users and developers and may even drive Android developers to charge more for their services, which would be bad for users.
This could spell disaster for Android. While more people would be using the apps, they wouldn’t necessarily need an Android phone or OS to run the app. This could mean a decrease in actual Android usage as well as decrease in Android handset sales. This could mean that handset makers may not make the latest and greatest handsets for Android and carriers may not carry the latest and greatest Android phones.
Finally, what does this mean for Blackberry? Well, one might think that if a device can run both Android AND Blackberry apps then it’s a win/win right? Not necessarily. As people begin using Android apps on Blackberry devices they may find the Android device to be easier to use the app or, as stated above, the app may not be fully compatible. This could drive users AWAY from Blackberry instead of toward.
So, is allowing Android apps to run on Blackberry devices a good idea? Maybe, maybe not. It’s too hard to tell. Inter device compatibility would be great in theory but in practice? We’ll just have to wait and see.