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Back when the BlackBerry PlayBook was announced by Research In Motion, it quickly came to light that while the tablet wouldn’t be a device running Google’s Android operating system, it would still be capable of using Android apps.
That capability is made possible by a piece of Android software called the Davik virtual machine. It’s basically a program that includes the relevant chunks of Android to run Android apps, allowing Davik to run the apps on other machines. Using it, the Playbook can run Android apps and BlackBerry apps with no trouble.
But the Playbook isn’t the only device that’ll be Android-capable without actually running Android in the future. According to a story from TechCrunch, tech company the Myriad Group is announcing the launch of Alien Davik 2.0, a port of the Davik virtual machine that will make most Android apps compatible with a lot of other devices.
The Myriad Group intends to demonstrate the technology next week at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 conference in San Diego. The company says that Alien Davik 2.0 can run most Android apps as Android Package (APK) files, so they shouldn’t require any modification on the developer’s part in order to get them to work on other devices running Alien Davik. Theoretically, developers could just create the apps using one Android standard and run them on any platform with the software, and that could include the iPad.
Of course, that’s an unholy union that Apple isn’t likely to allow (users with jailbroken devices, however, should be able to work around any Apple-imposed restrictions). Meanwhile, there are a number of new devices that will find new Android compatibility thanks to Alien Davik – like e-readers, connected TVs and in-vehicle displays, to name a few of TechCrunch’s examples. Other device makers, including RIM, are probably going to find some use for Alien Davik 2.0 as well.
With that kind of compatibility across lots of new devices, Android developers might not necessarily be stuck developing apps just for smartphones or tablets. This could open up some pretty wide doors to innovation. Adding smartphone apps to TVs and cars, a process that’s already underway in a more official capacity with some companies that make those devices, means rethinking the kinds of apps that developers create and what they might be good for. And that can mean a whole new class of apps showing up on the Android platform, doing who-knows-what.
That’s speculation down the road, of course. But we’ve already seen Davik bring Android capabilities to non-Android devices, and that’s pretty cool. It’s hard not to get excited about the possibilities.