BlackBerry PlayBook can run Android apps via rooting

A how-to guide published online explains how PlayBook users can root their devices to access Google's Android Market and run Android apps.


BlackBerry PlayBook owners tired of waiting for RIM to support Android apps can root their devices to gain access to the Android Market.

With Research In Motion's PlayBook recently rooted and capable of being customized, the folks at tech site CrackBerry have published a how-to guide for enterprising users who want to root their own units.

Starting with a rooted PlayBook, users will need the latest version of Cyanogen Google Apps, the FTP client WinSCP, and a few other items. CrackBerry then explains step by step how to tweak your tablet to capture and launch Google's Android Market from where you can then download your favorite apps.

With RIM now selling all three models of the PlayBook for just $299, rooting the device could be an inexpensive way to turn it into an Android tablet. But as always, there are a couple of gotchas. Rooting the device can be a delicate procedure, so users are advised to proceed at their own risk.

Also, not all Android apps will run on a rooted device, so you'll find certain apps unsupported. The CrackBerry guide noted that movie rentals and specific apps, such as Angry Birds and Skype, don't really work, but apps such as Twitter, Pandora, and Google+ will run.

Since last March, RIM has been promising an update to the PlayBook operating system that would let users run Android apps. But version 2.0 of the OS has again been delayed, this time until February, as the company continues to smooth out the update. Currently, BlackBerry Playbook 2.0 is available only as a developer's beta version.

RIM has faced a tough time drumming up interest in its tablet. Customers had shied away from the PlayBook in droves last year until several retailers trimmed the price of the 16GB edition to just $199.

The company also has several other balls in the air. RIM itself has been under fire for a series of gaffes and a lack of direction from upper management, leading to reports that it could name a new chairman to replace current co-chairmen Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.