April 9, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
The BlackBerry Playbook has struggled to gain a foothold with consumers. For a small group of buyers, the Playbook was appealing as a pseudo Android tablet thanks to a feature that allows it to run some Android apps and install APK files.
That’s not going to be the case too much longer according to Alec Saunders, VP of developer relations at RIM. Responding to a user’s question about whether RIM would remove side loading in Playbook OS 2.1, Saunders said, “We’re removing side loading for consumers. Pretty sure we’ve got a solution for [developers to install].”
RIM will be stripping Playbook consumers of their side loading privileges because of piracy concerns. Saunders went on to say, “piracy is a huge problem for Android devas, and we don’t want to duplicate the chaotic cesspool of Android Market.”
Piracy is a big problem for Android developers and there’s really not much that can be done to prevent it. RIM is taking the extreme step of removing side loading as a way to curb the installation of pirated apps. However, that’s going to get in the way of users who acquired apps the legal way and relied on side loading to install them on their Playbook.
Android support was a selling factor for some Android fans looking for a cheaper tablet. It wasn’t always reported as being the smoothest feature, but the Android App Player was a necessity for getting some of Android’s more popular apps that aren’t available natively on the Playbook. Keep that in mind if you’ve had your eyes on picking up a Playbook because of its former Android strength.