Details have started to appear regarding Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, the compatibility layer which – it hopes – will breathe new life into its ailing PlayBook by introducing compatibility with Android software.
Sadly, the news is rather more negative than positive. Presenting at Droidcon, part of the Eastern European Mobile Monday Developer Summit being held in Romania today, RIM engineers explained that there are several features which will be unavailable when Android apps are run on the PlayBook.
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.
It’s a blow for those who were hoping for big things: while RIM’s creation will allow a subset of Android apps to run on the PlayBook and future QNX-based devices, it’s a far cry from the total compatibility for which many had been hoping.