When Blackberry released their QNX based PlayBook tablet, they announced that it would come with Android application compatibility. While this is being labeled as a major feature, it’s fairly obvious that Blackberry is using this as a leveraging tool to gain developer support. The compatibility layer was never intended to be a replacement for native apps on the platform.
To go further in to it, the compatibility thing was mainly used to entice smaller third party developers who were already established on Android and didn’t have the resources available to rewrite their app for another platform. The hope was that larger companies (such as Skype) would have enough resources and developers on board to make well working native applications.
Skype will be coming to Blackberry as one of the major 3rd party applications on the platform. The catch is that they will simply be porting their Android application to Blackberry instead of creating a native application. While this TECHNICALLY works and people get the functionality, it’s not ideal. The Android emulation on Blackberry still needs lots of work (which might come in the form of the 4.1 update “later”), and emulated applications lack a lot of crucial functionality demanded by power users. There will be no Blackberry Hub tie ins with Skype. It will just be the Android app emulated.
If this says anything about the future, it’s going to be happening a lot more. Companies don’t have enough faith in Blackberry to devote themselves to a real app. They’re still piggybacking on Android. This dependence on Android causes a major schism in the user experience of the platform, which will inevitably scare users off.
While Android compatibility is a neat gimmick and a great starting point, Blackberry needs to re-evaluate this strategy before it gets out of hand. If people want Android Apps, they’ll buy Android devices where the apps work properly. This will not be the Z10’s “Killer Feature”.
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August 30, 2014
July 30, 2013
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