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RIM PlayBook fondleslab to 'run Google Android apps'

'Next generation' Java VM

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Research in Motion – maker of the BlackBerry and the upcoming PlayBook tablet – is building software that will allow the PlayBook to run Google Android applications, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that RIM plans to integrate the software with the PlayBook's QNX-based operating system and that it could arrive in the second half of this year. The PlayBook is slated to arrive in the US sometime in the first quarter.

In unveiling the PlayBook this fall, RIM said it was working on a "next generation" Java virtual machine, and later, rumors indicated that the company was considering using Dalvik - the open source Java VM mimic that Google built for Android - with an eye towards running Android apps.

But according to Bloomberg, RIM is not using Dalvik, at least in part because Oracle has sued Google over the VM and other parts of Android, claiming copyright and patent infringement. RIM is apparently building its software on its own, within the company.

To run Android, RIM must provide not only a Java VM but also support for Google's Android Application Framework. Presumably, the PlayBook will not run Android applications with pieces built using Android's native development kit – pieces that run outside of Dalvik.

RIM intends to offer its own native SDK for the PlayBook operating system, but a Java VM would give users immediate access to tens of thousands of existing apps. The Android Market currently boasts around 230,000 apps, but sources speaking with Bloomberg said RM's set up would provide access to around 130,000. RIM is already offering the WebWorks web-based application development kit, a means of building apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

At launch, RIM also said that its "next-gen" Java VM would run applications written for the BlackBerry, which uses the Java Mobile Edition (ME). Android's Dalvik is an open source implementation of Java Standard Edition, the version originally designed for PCs.

The 7-inch PlayBook uses an OS based on QNX, the UNIX-esque microkernel operating system that once famous for booting — graphical user interface, networking, and all — from a 1.44MB floppy drive. QNX is a POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) operating system, so it shares the same system APIs as Linux, Apple OS X, and other UNIX-based OSes. RIM acquired the outfit behind QNX last year,

The BlackBerry Tablet OS is "built upon" QNX's Neutrino microkernel architecture, which debuted 2001 and does distributed multiprocessing. QNX has been used in production systems using four cores, eight cores, sixteen cores, and thirty-two cores, according to RIM. ®

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