BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) just officially released their OS 7 this August. There are rumors that parts of the programming in this latest BlackBerry platform, specifically version 184.108.40.2063 may actually contain some coding compatible with or similar to the Android operating system and application development framework.
BlackBerry OS 7 made its first public appearance in the smartphone scene when images of its user interface were leaked online in the first quarter of this year. It was still then known as OS 6.1.
True or not, this piece of gossip is not entirely surprising. RIM did acquire fellow Canadian software development company QNX Software Systems and they have put that technology to good use as a basis for a new set of operating systems for their latest and upcoming devices.
The Playbook tablet computer for example runs on a particular version of QNX. One of the notable features of this BlackBerry tablet is that it has an emulator for running Android applications. RIM announces that its future smartphone and tablet models running on QNX will also have “Android app players” as the emulator is informally called.
This may seem like a widening of options for BlackBerry users. But keep in mind that Android apps running through an emulator on a QNX platform will be subject to the common limitations of a virtual machine setup. This means the apps will likely run slower and won’t interact smoothly with the other programs native to the BlackBerry device. The rumor may not amount to anything significant, unless this small piece of Android code found in OS 7 is just the tip of the iceberg and more powerful Android-oriented features are going to come out of RIM’s labs.