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Android apps soon to be unleashed on Blackberry Playbook

Sadly, no-one's yet ported a screen capture application

Developers can now easily convert their Android apps to work on PlayBook

Research In Motion (RIM), the Blackberry manufacturer, has released a beta version of its next tablet OS which includes the ability to run Android applications.

An online tool allows developers to convert their Android APK files into PlayBook BAR files, which can then be manually loaded onto the device. Once it’s out of beta, developers will be able to upload these to RIM’s Blackberry AppWorld, which should greatly increase the variety of apps available to PlayBook users.

We tested the Android Player with our favourite Android app, the NewsRob RSS reader. Once we’d downloaded the APK file, we used the online tool to upload the file and convert it to a PlayBook BAR file. While we weren’t able to then upload this to the AppWorld, we were able to manually install the file on our PlayBook, and can report that it works well.

There were some small issues with the placement of menus, text sizes and the spacing between news stories, but the app functions perfectly otherwise. We were able to log into our Google Reader account, import all our feeds and read articles.

This is good news, both for PlayBook users and Android developers. It’s even better news now that PC World and Currys have slashed £150 off the price of a PlayBook.

In other news, RIM announced that it will be merging its smartphone and tablet operating systems. The merger will see the features and usability of the Blackberry OS merged with the reliability and speed of the QNX OS. The new OS, dubbed BBX-OS, will also include the ability to run Android applications.

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