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RIM press release confirms BlackBerry PlayBook to support Android apps

by Marty Gabel

Research In Motion's (RIMM) upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will support Android apps after all.

There had already been much press speculation about RIM finally ceding to developers' wishes, and a press release today from MarketWire appears to confirm this.

Still a major player in the smartphone area, RIM has nevertheless seen its market share dwindle as both Android and Apple (AAPL) gain strength. However, BlackBerry remains a popular choice for many corporate users.

According to the press release, RIM will launch two optional "app players" that provide a run-time environment for both Java and Android apps.

By aligning with Google (GOOG) and allowing Android apps to run on their new tablet device, perhaps RIM can become a major player in the tablet market. Currently dominated by Apple's iPad, and likely to see much innovation and cheaper entries from manufacturers making tablets running Google's Android OS, RIM's decision could ensure their new PlayBook, which goes on sale April 19, will survive in a challenging market sector.

The press release also mentions support for HTML5, Adobe (ADBE) Flash, and C++, all allowing programmers and developers to create graphically-intensive and multimedia-rich apps and games, which will be necessary to compete with the iPad 2 and future Android tablet devices.

Stay tuned for more news and analysis.