Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry, is said to be turning to an unexpected ally in order to secure its position with businesses in the wake of the tablet craze led by Apple’s iPad.

I know what you’re thinking, but that’s the gist of what multiple "trusted sources" reportedly told Boy Genius Report. RIM, which is gearing up to launch its dual-core BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in April, is said to "seriously" contemplate such a feature, the publication explained in an exclusive report Wednesday.

The PlayBook tablet will be powered by QNX operating system that RIM added to its portfolio when they acquired developer QNX Software System last year.

QNX runs Java for legacy support… Third-party Android apps are also written in Java and executed by Android’s Java virtual machine… Putting two and two together shouldn’t be difficult as RIM could opt for the same virtual machine the Android OS uses, the publication explained:

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.


The above mockup image of Android running on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is credit to Boy Genius Report.

Adding fuel to the rumor is the fact that RIM recently acquired The Astonishing Tribe, the design shop behind the original Android user interface. The ability to run Android apps on the speedy PlayBook tablet could be a huge boon for RIM and would admittedly have customers pay attention.

Whether such a proposition would make sense at all is an entirely different matter. RIM is positioning its upcoming tablet as a must-have business tool integrated with its BlackBerry lineup of smartphones. The problem is, Android apps for corporate world are few and far between. The vast majority of applications on Android Market are for consumers so running them on the PlayBook makes little sense unless RIM has changed its mind and now plans on pitching the gizmo to consumers.

Source: Boy Genius Report