BlackBerry Thinks Android is a “Cesspool” – What Does That Make the App World, Then?

BlackBerry Thinks Android is a “Cesspool” – What Does That Make the App World, Then?

Apr 10, 2012

Apparently beggars can be choosers. BlackBerry is going to make it a lot more difficult to take advantage of the PlayBook’s ability to run Android apps. In particular, it appears as if as of BlackBerry 10, the OS “will encrypt apps so they can only be run by the user who purchased the app.”

There appears to be a problem with sideloading and piracy. This does appear to be related to Andorid apps and their perceived quality, as Alec Saunders, RIM’s VIP of Developer Relations, tweeted recently that RIM “[didn’t] want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market” on the BlackBerry App World. As well, there’s mention that RIM “[has] seen apps from devs uploaded by others, and charged for by people who don’t own.”

This of course, seems like something RIM could easily prevent on their end. A little bit of research when checking apps they have to approve to ensure that they are from the original creator doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult. If there are issues, they should resolve them instead of approving them. On a curated market, this kind of thing falls on RIM’s shoulders.

The problem is that this might ultimately hurt users who are taking advantage of sideloading in order to try and extend their device’s capabilities, because the App World itself is not very capable. There is a severe lack of apps for the device, and while perhaps anti-piracy measures may help, it won’t solve the ultimate problem.

Ultimately, RIM is at least coming out and saying what they believe their best policies are. But trying to separate themselves from Android is a bad idea because the best thing they have going is that they can support Android apps. Plus, users have found ways to root the Playbook before, and new root techniques are in development. People will get the apps they want on the Playbook, and encryption won’t stop them.

The Hills Are Greener: Android Is Not A Savior

The Hills Are Greener: Android Is Not A Savior

Mar 19, 2012

The inspiration from this article comes from a non-Android source, in a sense. The BlackBerry Playbook, RIM’s much-maligned seven-inch tablet, is a device I recently got my hands on for free. This was at a perfect time too: the update enabling Android apps to run on the OS was released.

It’s perfect for RIM too, as the problem with the Playbook is quite frankly that there are just no apps with it. No official Twitter app. No official Dropbox app. No official Skype app. It’s a repetitive story with pretty much every major service out there, minus Facebook. It’s got all the terrible apps of the other app stores, but few of the good ones.

The gaming market on the BlackBerry App World is improving though: EA and Gameloft have a solid presence on there, the fantastic Super Crossfire is available, and with more cross-platform tools, the potential for more games to jump from iOS to Android to the Playbook is definitely there.

However, the glaring fault is still that it’s not an Android device. It’s pretty much just running Android apps as an emulation layer, and the startup time on them is much longer compared to native apps. However, if they can get developers to port their apps for the device (BlackBerry had boxes and boxes of the tablets to give away at Game Developers Conference this year) then they may just have a chance. It’s a capable piece of hardware – well-constructed, has 1GB of RAM, 1080p video output, solid front and rear cameras, and the touch bezel technology for switching between apps and calling up menus is useful and innovative.

This whole saga with the $199 Playbook is why I am both optimistic about the potential of a Google Nexus tablet, and skeptical. I am optimistic because the potential for a low-cost Nexus device, with stock Android and a price that may dip as low as $149, with all the apps from Google Play, is very high. The potential lack of a Tegra 3, which would have made it a veritable gaming beast, is disappointing.

I am skeptical because the success of the Nook and Kindle tablets have been as much marketing from the retailers, having them at their storefronts both real and virtual, than it has been price. There are a myriad of reasons why the Playbook hasn’t taken off quite yet even at a $199 price, and the stigma of being attached to the BlackBerry name doesn’t help it. A Google tablet might not have on name and concept alone the kind of cachet that even the Kindle Fire has. It’s counterintuitive because Android is Google’s OS, but will just the Nexus branding sell people on the tablet?

I don’t think that just putting Android software on a low-priced tablet is the key to success. It takes more than that, and even if RIM is successful in getting Android developers on their platform, and if Google does launch that Nexus tablet, it won’t mean guaranteed success at all.