back to article RIM shot at Android: Free PlayBooks for devs

RIM is offering a free PlayBook tablet to developers who submit an Android application to RIM's App World before Valentine's Day, though the T&Cs have yet to be revealed. RIM isn't the first company to hand out hardware to promote software development – it's an established route to filling out an application portfolio – but …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a......

    Fart App. Can I get one?

  2. JDX Gold badge

    How do I make and submit an app without having the tablet in the first place?

    (real question, I never worked on mobile devices)

    1. jai

      emulator with SDK?

      I assume the Android SDK come with some kind of emulator app?

      I've messed around with the Appcelerator Titanium IDE, writing iOS apps in javascript. And from what i could gather, that would convert or wrap your code and then hand it off to either the iOS or Android SDK to compile and deploy into a emulator app running on your pc that'd show you how the app would run on a mobile. At least, that's how the iOS side worked, I assume it's the same process with the Android SDK.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Yes there is an Android SDK

        The issue is not in testing it in Android but in testing it on the PlayBook which is not Android. It might have an Android layer of some sort but that is not the same thing. If your app launches a browser, or reads contacts, or makes calls, or hits the internet you need to be reasonable certainly it will work as intended. It may also be the case that Android APKs have to be repackaged in some way which must also be tested. I hope that RIM have an SDK which can be used for this, or at least an emulator which can augment the Android SDK.

        On a more general point, I wonder if RIM are smart to support Android this way. It's like when OS/2 supported Windows. It might seem like a good idea but it makes Android the lowest common denominator. Few developers will spend the extra effort writing a native app when there is a compatibility layer there which spares them the trouble.

    2. ScaredyCat

      Use the Blackberry Stimulator

      If you don't have a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to test your apps with, you can use the BlackBerry Tablet Simulator to test your application. The BlackBerry Tablet Simulator enables you to run and view your applications as you would on a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet; however, some limitations apply.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not many apps, partly because it's such a PITA to deploy for.

    Try getting it to go with Phonegap. Horrible. The key signing is a nightmare. Then there's stupidities like not allowing underscores in filenames, and limits on icon sizes (which cause their build to crash) and ... and ... and...

  4. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    "Luckily RIM has a lot of PlayBooks lying around the place..."

    Kick 'em when they're down, that's naughty!

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    Android "compatible"

    In theory RIM could port Dalvik and the APIs and provide a reasonable facsimile of Android that most apps don't notice the difference. However I bet there is an entire laundry list of restrictions, bugs and caveats which apply. For example Android apps are strung together with intents and its quite possible that many of the common intents map onto native apps with the restrictions and limitations that is implied by that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I doubt they will port Dalvik, they will likely just transcode the Android code to their format, that's how they run Java. They don't actually run Java as is, first it's transcoded to run on their VM, either ahead of time thus creating their cod files or on the fly on the device.

  6. the-it-slayer

    Selling out?

    Down the plug-hole goes.

    They'll be offering free chocolate buttons to entice dev's next.

    1. the-it-slayer
      Thumb Up

      Shame you can't edit the mistakes. Pssssht. This missing word is RIM. That's your homework for today El Reggers.

  7. jai

    almost tempted

    I'm almost tempted by this.

    I spent some time messing around with Titanium to develop iOS apps (before going the whole hog and picking up Obj-C), and because that will deploy the same code to Android as well, I have some half-finish lame apps that I could complete and submit with very little effort.

    But then.... I'd be stuck with owning a Playbook, with all the social stigmata and ridicule that that will bring down upon me and my family for years to come.

    1. Tiny Iota

      Holy cow

      I think if you had stigmata, social or otherwise, you'd have bigger problems than owning a Playbook!

    2. ScaredyCat

      I was almost tempted by this too... right up to the point that they wanted a copy of my passport so I could 'sell' a free application. At that point I decided I didn't want to trust them with it, particularly as they use Paypal for their payment system.

  8. James 51

    I was going to buy one. This should apply to native apps as well.

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  10. Simon Round

    eBay anyone?

    I imagine a lot of Playbooks will suddenly appear on eBay following this give away to Devs.

    Mines a pint. It's Friday.

  11. Jason Bloomberg

    There's a store for that

    "Yet the whole place feels corporate and restrained compared to the plethora of rubbish which makes the iTunes store, and Android Marketplace, so interesting to peruse"

    That sounds like a definite plus but it seems they are desperately seeking to fill it with crap. Interesting it may be, useful and productive, perhaps less so.

    With a two week deadline and full details not available it's hard to see it as much more than a publicity stunt.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    10k plus Android downloads... I have several apps that meet this criteria.

    However I doubt I would actually use it, just ebay it, or wait for Blackberry to ditch support for the ailing playbook and unlock the bootloaders to run Android.

  13. Outflow

    Angry Birds price

    I thought 69p was the iPhone price. If I'm not mistakes then it is about £2 or £3 for the iPad version.

  14. Sir Crispalot

    Hello World!

    Will that do?!

    1. the-it-slayer


      There's a failure in that plan. There's no native e-mail client to send that message to the world with. Create an app that makes it spin? That's more useful.

      Thank-god for Friday! Beers please!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got mine for doing a native app least year - and if you do an android app, boy, you'll get yours, all right!

    I love having the thing, honestly. The app selection is a bit weak, though improving. And el Reg, did you even LOOK at the app store? It's probably 80% crazy-ass shit and 10% businesslike normality. (The other 10% isn't done yet.)

    As far as dev goes, they have an emulator that does a pretty good job. It was completely accurate regarding my app - aside from speed, where it ran 5x as fast as the real playbook, on one core of a core2quad q6600, after being throttled down by 66%...

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. h3

    Rim could have 100% arm Android Compatibility if they wanted it.

    Either Linux running as a process under QNX

    Or a translator (Like the Linuxulator in FreeBSD or the Solaris Linux branded zone).

    Or colinux style.

    It might even already be supported by QNX (Running Linux underneath a microkernel is hardly uncommon).

  18. ScaredyCat

    Perhaps Blackberry Playbook failure...

    ... is down to the fact that it takes so long to sign up to get they required keys, vendor account auth etc - Developing for Android and IOS really only takes minutes (aside from the software install) to be up and running. It might be Friday, I might be impatient but I expect key generation to be done and available immediately when I submit my info and I expect the vendor validation to be pretty quick too.

    I also don't expect to have to sign up 3 times with the same information just to start developing for the playbook - Perhaps getting this sorted out so it's a seamless process would encourage more developers - as it stands I'm already annoyed before I start porting - that can't be good.

  19. exanime

    Not a bad idea actually

    but perhaps a little too late. And it's not quite free since you have to pay a fee to submit apps (don't know what that fee is now but originally it was higher than Apple or Android)

  20. The Indomitable Gall


    The Ts & Cs are online now:

  21. mego

    Could I rather..

    NOT have the playbook, and rather a good solid kick in the nads? Be more welcome.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would love to have been at that board meeting..

    CEO: "So, how can we get more developers"

    Marketing Schmuck: "SIMPLES! Lets give them a free playbook! I mean, everyone loves them right? AMIRIGHT?"

    All: "Hooray, we're saved!"

  23. P. Lee

    pay for angrybirds?

    Pah! Free with both my samsung galaxy phone and hp touchpad.

    And if you haven't completed it on someone-else's phone by now, you probably aren't interested...

  24. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Why don't they spend a few million paying people to write some killer applications?

    It was a given that in the 80s if you wanted to release a home computer successfully it would often come with a bundle of software to get you going.

    In the 90s you'd usually get Word or Office on your PC, some people think Word is built into Windows as they've always had it bundled.

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