DingleBerry tool brings root access to the PlayBook

Research In Motion's relatively unpopular PlayBook tablet has joined the 'rooted' club, with hackers releasing a tool that allows access to the underbelly of the device's QNX-based operating system.

As with Android and iOS devices - where the process is known as 'jailbreaking,' due to the relatively locked-down status of the platform and its inability to install software from third-party sources without modification - 'rooting' a PlayBook allows software to access areas of the operating system that would otherwise be off-limits.

With the release of 'DingleBerry,' a cheekily-named Windows-only rooting tool with a Mac port in the works, PlayBook developers now have a means to access areas of the BBX operating system that Research In Motion would rather have closed off.

The result: it's possible to write code for a rooted PlayBook that bypasses some of the device's restrictions, such as the decision by US streaming media giant Hulu to prevent playback on the device.

The move adds further possibilities to the mix, however: with RIM heavily discounting the device in the US, and with those discounts expected to extend to the UK in short order as the company seeks to rid itself of excess stock, the device is likely to enjoy similar interest to Hewlett Packard's ill-fated TouchPad.

Should the PlayBook become cheap enough, it is inevitable that developers will seek to port Google's Android operating system to the device in the same way as it was ported to the TouchPad - a process made immeasurably easier by the release of the DingleBerry rooting toolkit.

The tool can be downloaded for Windows now, with a Mac port due in short order.