It's confirmed: the forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will indeed be able to download and run Android apps.
We speculated as much a fortnight ago, but now we've heard it from the Canadian's mouth, as it were: in a previously unseen video from Mobile World Congress, a RIM representative confirms the Android tie-in in no uncertain terms.
The clip in question is an otherwise unremarkable product demo of the PlayBook, but around 14 seconds in the representative clearly says the BB tablet will support Android apps. Now admittedly that's not quite the same as an official announcement from on high, but the rep in question surely wouldn't say something like that if it wasn't true.
The representative's exact words are: “we will also support Android apps when we release the Dalvik engine on top of QNX.” This is in line with existing speculation over how RIM would bake in Android support – by using the Dalvik open-source virtual machine.
Of course, this raises just as many questions as it answers. Is there some kind of official agreement in place with Google, or is RIM building Android app support all on its own? And will the Canadian firm be able to sell apps directly?
Then there's the other curveball of the three BlackBerry smartphones that were detected running an Android app in testing recently. While the QNX platform might see some action beyond the PlayBook in the future, these are clearly BlackBerry OS devices. So how is RIM building in Android app support for them?
Sadly, a single-sentence quote from a stand rep at Mobile World Congress isn't going to answer any of those questions, but we'll be keeping our ear to the ground and will pass on further info once we have it.