RIM woos Android developers with free BlackBerry PlayBook tablets
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is offering a free BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to all developers who convert existing Android applications to the forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.
RIM promises one free 16GB PlayBook to every App World vendor who converts his Android app for use on the PlayBook before February 13.
RIM vice president of developer relations Alec Saunders first announced the PlayBook promotion via Twitter, tweeting "Shh.... Android Devs--submit your Android app to [BlackBerry] App World by Feb 13 and get a free Playbook." A subsequent Inside BlackBerry Developer's Blog post from RIM senior public relations and social media manager Alex Kinsella states the device maker is still ironing out the details of the promotion, but confirms registered App World storefront vendors will receive a free 16GB PlayBook for their porting efforts.
The promotion follows days after RIM began accepting Android-based applications optimized for PlayBook OS 2.0, slated to arrive later this month. PlayBook OS 2.0 builds in the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps, enabling developers to repackage existing Android apps to run on the tablet as well as upcoming BlackBerry 10-based devices. RIM offers several different options for porting Android apps, including the BlackBerry Plug-in for ADT, the BlackBerry Packager for Android apps and the BlackBerry SDK for Android apps. RIM urges developers to submit their apps by Feb. 6 to guarantee availability on BlackBerry App World at the time PlayBook OS 2.0 is released.
PlayBook OS 2.0 promises tablet users new tools to improve personal and professional interactions. Highlights include a new unified inbox, multitasking within email, a calendar app touting information about contacts and companies in the user's meeting schedule, a relationship-centric contacts app and expanded productivity features.
RIM launched the first edition of the PlayBook in April 2011. The tablet features two optional "app players" providing a runtime environment for BlackBerry Java applications as well as apps running Android 2.3. RIM also released a native SDK for the tablet, enabling C/C++ application development on its BlackBerry Tablet OS.
BlackBerry PlayBook sales lag far behind more popular tablets like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad and Amazon.com's Android-based Kindle Fire. RIM sold 150,000 PlayBook units in its third fiscal quarter ending Nov. 26, down from 250,000 shipments the previous quarter and 500,000 in the first sales quarter after the product's launch.
- read this Inside BlackBerry Developer's Blog entry
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