Blackberry Playbook users have —for a long time— been able to sideload Android apps for those who have not been updated with native versions for RIM’s tablet. As noted in a recent report from CrackBerry, Vice President of Developer Relations at RIM Alec Saunders announced via Twitter that the feature is being removed and an alternative solution for developers is on the way. In an earlier tweet, he noted, “Privacy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android market.” CrackBerry explained the reasoning behind the move:
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One of the large obstacles that Android developers face today is that their applications are often pirated, and installing Android applications on a device is extremely easy. Once someone has the APK file for the application, which doesn’t take much to get, they can easily install or distribute. Since the release of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, and the ability to convert these APK files to a BAR file (the application installer for the BlackBerry PlayBook), that means even more potential for users to do this. Within a matter of just a few minutes someone can take a developer’s paid application, convert it to a file that can be sideloaded on the PlayBook, upload it to any random hosting site and make it available for just about anyone to download.
RIM hasn’t confirmed exactly when the software update removing the feature will go out, or what the alternative solution for developers will be. We’ll keep you posted as RIM releases more info on the change.