RIM Will End PlayBook Sideloading to Escape “Android Market Cesspool”
Sideloading is a great way for PlayBook owners to get more Android apps on their tablets while they wait for native versions to be released. But for Research In Motion, it’s becoming a developer-relations problem at a time when maintaining good ties is paramount.
The growing list of paid Android applications being repackaged as free ones that can be run on the PlayBook is causing their creators some dismay. Which is understandable. It doesn’t take much to repackage an Android app for PlayBook, and once it’s repackaged, it’s quite easy to distribute and easily pirated.
For developers, that means lost revenue — and, potentially, bruised reputations — if the repackaged app doesn’t perform as it should. And for RIM, which is hellbent on creating a thriving developer ecosystem around the PlayBook, that’s bad news, indeed.
So the company is doing something about it. It plans to drop app-sideloading support from the PlayBook in a forthcoming update. “We’re removing sideloading for consumers,” said Alec Saunders, RIM’s VP of Developer Relations, adding that the company is very sympathetic to developers’ concerns about app piracy.
“Piracy is a huge problem for Android devs, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android Market [now Google Play],” he said.
Instead, it looks like RIM may follow Apple’s lead, adopting for BlackBerry App World the same sort of closed system that gives Apple such tight control over the iTunes App Store.