BlackBerry phones to gain Android compatibility

RIM LogoIn what is likely an effort to stave off any further erosion in market share, RIM is said to be planning to add Android app capability to phones running its new QNX software, according to those close to the company.

The first QNX phones are expected in 2012: RIM's PlayBook was the first to ship with the operating system in April of this year. Adding Android support to QNX-based phones should not be surprising: there is already support in the PlayBook for Android apps.

According to those that have seen the platform, it is just a port of what is already being done with the PlayBook to allow Android apps to be used there. The phones would ship with the capability rather than an upgrade or add-on to the device itself.

Representatives with the Canadian-based smartphone company declined to comment on the report, which first appeared in Bloomberg on Wednesday.

With the inclusion of both BlackBerry and Android app support, RIM would be able to increase the number of apps available to customers by six-fold.

In related news, sources said that an update in September to the company's much-maligned PlayBook should address some of the criticisms of the device.

RIM plans to ship an integrated e-mail system and support for its popular BlackBerry Messenger application. Neither were included in the PlayBook's original release.

That said, BBM may not be as useful to those with the PlayBook considering it is Wi-Fi only, and plans for a 4G model of the device appeared to have been scrapped.

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