What If Your BlackBerry Ran Android Apps? It Might Happen

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Whoa, whoa, whoa. This latest BlackBerry rumor comes courtesy of BGR.com and it sounds so crazy that it just… might… work.

In the interest of not overly nerding up the story, the basic gist is that the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet—which we learned about back in September of last year—runs a new (for BlackBerry) operating system called QNX. Moving forward, BlackBerry phones will eventually run the same QNX operating system, too.

In the interest of making QNX backwards-compatible with applications built for current-generation and older BlackBerry phones, the new operating system will contain what’s known as a “virtual machine.” It’s basically software capable of running older applications as though they’re running on different hardware—in this case, older BlackBerry handsets.

Well apparently one of the virtual machines, or VMs, that BlackBerry’s considering building into its QNX operating system is known as Dalvik. And wouldn’t you know it, Dalvik is the same virtual machine used by the Android operating system. According to BGR.com:

“Here is the big news: we have been told RIM is very much considering the Dalvik virtual machine, and we ultimately expect the company to chose Dalvik. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same VM that the Android OS uses, and it would allow RIM’s PlayBook and other QNX devices to run just about any application built for the Android platform.

There are various approaches to this situation — one where RIM uses the open source Dalvik VM and does not involve Google, and another (incredible) scenario where RIM and Google might reach an agreement (basically ‘certify’ the device/platform) that would provide official support to Android apps on RIM’s QNX-based OS, and would feature the Android Market, Google’s Gmail, Maps, and other apps.”

This sounds too simple and too good to be true, but imagine the implications.

BlackBerry’s been slowly bleeding market share to Android and the iPhone, and Android’s got a huge (and growing) user base along with an app store full of ready-to-download titles that could more than round out what’s already available from the BlackBerry App World marketplace and the upcoming apps that’ll be programmed specifically for the new QNX system. The company’s had the enterprise market pretty well covered, but access to Android apps could help it make exponentially more headway into the consumer market.

As always, take this rumor with a grain of salt. There’s likely plenty of red tape involved with something of this magnitude, simple though it may be from a technological standpoint. That being said, it be really cool to see.

More on TIME.com:

BlackBerry Introduces 7-inch ‘PlayBook’ Tablet

What the PlayBook Means for RIM

BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Demo: Multitasking, Adobe Apps

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