by Al Sacco

PlayBook Tablet Runs BlackBerry, Android and…iOS Apps

Jun 13, 20122 mins
Computers and PeripheralsEnterprise ApplicationsiPhone

A software developer has reportedly discovered a way to run some Apple iOS applications on the BlackBerry PlayBook, making RIM's device the only tablet that can run BlackBerry, Android and iOS mobile apps.

If I were to tell you that you can run iPhone and iPad apps on your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, is that something you might be interested in? Yeah. I thought so.


Apparently a developer who goes by the name businesscat2000 on the forums has come up with a way to run select iOS applications on RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, and he’s posted a handful of videos to help convince skeptics that his work is the real deal and not just some clever e-sleight of hand. (Check out the video below for a look at iOS-app Super Monkey Ball running on the PlayBook.)

The iOS apps reportedly run in an emulator on the PlayBook, similar to how Android apps run on RIM’s tablet. And though not all iOS apps can be used on the PlayBook at this time, this development could open some very interesting doors in the future for BlackBerry PlayBook users.

Here’s some developer speak from businesscat2000:

“The CPU isn’t emulated on Playbook (though it is on Windows). It works very similarly to how WINE works to run Windows applications on Linux. The app binary is mapped into memory and imports are resolved to point to my own implementation of the various APIs needed. iOS actually uses a few open APIs already, which Playbook supports just as well (GL ES, and OpenAL). The bulk of the work has been in implementing all of the objective C classes that are required. The ARM code of the applications run as-is – the armv6/v7 support on PB/iDevices are pretty much identical, and the code is designed to run in USR mode. No SWIs, GPIO accesses or any of that kind of shenanigans.”

Apple’s mobile OS has the best selection of high-quality applications of all the major platforms, and the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook would be a huge win for PlayBook users and would undoubtedly boost the tablet’s consumer appeal. The news also suggest that RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphones may be able to run iOS apps, since BlackBerry 10 is based on the same foundation as the current BlackBerry Tablet OS.