RIM Buys Scoreloop

RIM Buys Scoreloop

Jun 8, 2011

When it comes to social gaming services, BlackBerry has been traditionally left out of the picture. These platforms have launched on iOS, on Android, even on Windows Phone 7, leaving out one of the biggest players in the smartphone market, and a burgeoning competitor in the tablet market. Research In Motion (creators and manufacturers of BlackBerry) are hoping to make social gaming a reality on their platform, by buying Scoreloop.

Scoreloop have been traditionally known for their social gaming features on iOS, and especially Android, where a variety of games have used their leaderboards, achievements, and friendship connection features. As well, Scoreloop has offered mechanisms for in-app purchases through Scoreloop Coins, that users can use to wager in challenges against other Scoreloop users. With RIM purchasing Scoreloop, this should promise to bring all of Scoreloop’s features to BlackBerry OS, and could bring it in as an integrated system feature, much like Game Center on iOS. maskable speculates that the goal is to bring Scoreloop in as part of the “[BlackBerry Messenger] social platform,” so BBM users could easily connect in their games with each other, and could easily compete against each other’s high scores, and issue challenges to each other, based on their BBM PINs.

For the record, Scoreloop is claiming that they will continue to support cross-platform play, but that their support for BlackBerry will be “unparalleled.” This could serve as a long-term trojan horse for RIM, if the BlackBerry hardware line ever peters out, RIM could use this as a way to launch on an OS like Android at some point in the future. Of course, it will be interesting to see just how much of a cross-platform presence a RIM-owned Scoreloop will continue to truly have. With RIM paying the bills, there may be more pressure to focus on the BlackBerry side of Scoreloop. Still, an integrated social gaming service has done wonders for iOS, as Game Center is very user-friendly, although there are some concerns on the developer side with the way scores work, and with device support. For example, Game Center’s asynchronous multiplayer support may not be adopted in a widespread way right away, even by developers with games in development, due to its iOS 5 requirement. It will be up to RIM to make sure that they can minimize the integration and fragmentation hassles when Scoreloop launches on their OS.

Between this and the PlayBook’s limited Android support, RIM is really trying to take a bite out of Android. I have reached out for comment to Scoreloop about the future of their service on Android, and will update when word hits. We have reached out to Scoreloop for comment on the future of the service on Android and will update when if/when we hear back.

Source: Mashable

RIM Shows Off Android App Player for BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

RIM Shows Off Android App Player for BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

May 10, 2011

Meet the newest Android tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Wait, what? That’s right, the BlackBerry PlayBook, BlackBerry’s new tablet has compatibility with Android applications. As seen in the hands-on demo below, several Android applications are shown running on the BlackBerry PlayBook through the Android App Player, showing no kind of performance degradation due to running on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The idea is to bring more apps to the PlayBook, as Android currently has a much wider selection of apps than BlackBerry does. Now, this isn’t the kind of thing where an end user could take an APK file and run it on the PlayBook directly, they are “BAR” files. Developers will have to redeploy their apps for the PlayBook, but BlackBerry manufacturer RIM claims that they will be adding an extension to the Android SDK, so this could be largely a hassle-free process for developers looking to release their apps on the PlayBook.

There are many advantages to the Android App Player. First, it is presumably a new opportunity for developers to expand the reach of their Android apps. While RIM will be curating the apps that come to the Playbook, it could be presumed that RIM will turn away few developers who are interested in expanding the app selection for their new device. Second, this increases the number of apps available for users on the PlayBook, which makes it more useful, which can only be good for Playbook users and for PlayBook sales. Third, it could spur the development of tablet apps on both the PlayBook and for Android tablets, by having another potentially widespread tablet device to deploy apps on. While the PlayBook only simulates a Gingerbread device and not a Honeycomb tablet yet, this is only because the Honeycomb source is not yet available.

There are two concerns with the PlayBook’s Android App Player. First, how will games fare with the App Player? Will they suffer any performance hits from running on a simulated Android device? Second, is this just the harbinger of the PlayBook and BlackBerry OS’ demise? After all, why develop an app for the PlayBook specifically when a developer could just make an Android app that would also work on the PlayBook through the Android App Player? These two things will be answered in the coming months when the Android App Player is released.