RIM has been touting upcoming Android app compatibility on the PlayBook for quite some time now. We’ve seen demos and they’ve made announcements, but the process has – for the most part – been shrouded in confusion. Today, RIM cleared some of that confusion up by posting a video detailing just how easy it is to port Android apps to BlackBerry.
To port an Android app over to BlackBerry, all you have to do it download RIM’s BlackBerry Packager for Android, put in your developer information and upload your APK. The BlackBerry Packager then converts your APK to a BAR file if everything is compatible, and you’re good to go. The advantages of a streamlined process like this are certainly there. Developers can write an app once and have it work on multiple platforms right out of the gate. Some of the disadvantages, like an abundance of spam spilling over onto BlackBerry devices, will likely be sorted out once the service starts to take off.
The question of the hour isn’t directly related to spam or how quick the porting process is, though. It comes down to, “Who cares?” RIM is falling fast. They’re in a death spiral, losing market share left and right, and there’s no end in sight. Why should developers spend time porting apps to BlackBerry devices if they’ll barely end up getting used? So they can update and fix bugs for two platforms? I’m no developer, but RIM’s lack of success with the PlayBook might lead me to think my time could be better spent on the actual platform I’m developing for. If Android app compatibility is the best thing RIM and BlackBerry have going on, the company may be in more trouble than anyone knows.