Research In Motion announced on Thursday that users of its PlayBook tablet will be able to run Android and Java applications.
The capability will address one criticism often lodged against the PlayBook: an expected lack of applications.
The PlayBook, which becomes available on April 19, will have two optional "app players" that will provide run-time environments for BlackBerry Java apps and Android 2.3 apps. The players will let users download BlackBerry Java Apps and Android Apps from BlackBerry App World.
The applications won't work automatically in the PlayBook app players, however. Developers will need to "quickly and easily" port their apps to run on the tablet OS, RIM said.
They will also have to repackage, code sign and submit their apps to the App World for approval.
The app players will run in a "secure sandbox" on the PlayBook, RIM said. Typically software makers use sandboxing techniques to prevent hackers from gaining access to other parts of the device. Data is protected because a bug in one program doesn't give the hacker access to other programs or data on the phone.
RIM also said it plans to make it easier for developers to build PlayBook apps by releasing a native SDK (software development kit) for the PlayBook enabling C/C++ application development on the BlackBerry Tablet OS.