RIM responds to Android-on-PlayBook criticisms

Research In Motion has clarified its forthcoming BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, the compatibility layer which will allow the PlayBook and future QNX-based BlackBerry devices to run certain Android applications.

During a presentation at Droidcon in Romania earlier this week, engineers working on the project revealed that several key features - including the Google Maps API, SIP and VoIP support, and Native Development Kit code - would be unavailable to those looking to get their Android apps running on RIM's devices.

Speaking to thinq_ earlier today, the company has clarified that the version of the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps discussed at the event is a 'pre-release' version, and that support for more APIs will become available over time.

"The BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps and associated tools are designed to help developers quickly and easily bring their Android Java applications to the BlackBerry PlayBook" the spokesperson explained. "The current Android Player is a pre-release version and RIM is planning to add support for more APIs in future releases.

"It is important to note that the majority of Android apps will be able to run fully on the BlackBerry PlayBook and without any modification to the app's source code," the spokesperson added.

For those in the area, RIM is extending an invitation to the BlackBerry DevCon in San Francisco next month where they will be given a chance to find out more about the runtime environment first-hand. "RIM invites developers to come to BlackBerry DevCon next month in San Francisco," the spokesperson confirmed, "where they can interact with BlackBerry experts on a wide spectrum of topics, including the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps."

While RIM's promise of APIs to come is a welcome one, it doesn't come with a time scale attached - and the company has yet to confirm whether the initial public release of the runtime environment will feature the same restrictions as the pre-release version on show at DroidCon earlier this week.

Details of the DevCon event, plus the timings of sessions regarding the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps package, are available over on the company's conference website.