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RIM backtracks on PlayBook Android ban plans

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Blackberry playbook
Research In Motion has denied that it is planning to drop side-loading of Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

Yesterday, RIM's vice president of developer relations Alec Saunders caused controversy when he hit out at the "chaotic cesspool" of the Android apps market.

In messages posted on Twitter, he appeared to suggest that RIM would in future prevent side-loading of Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

However, he has since posted a blog claiming that he was misunderstood, as support for Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook OS and the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system will remain in place.

"Side-loading on our platform is changing in nature. Side-loading is a developer feature. It exists so that developers can load their apps on to their own devices to test," he said.

"It's there so developers can send a beta release to their testing community for review. It is definitely not there for some people to side load a pirated app."

Saunders had tweeted a small survey of 75 Android app developers, which indicated that 53% viewed app piracy as somewhat of a problem, or a huge problem.

He also cited instances of developers apparently side-loading free Android apps on to the PlayBook that were made by other companies.

In his subsequent blog post, Saunders said that the next release of the PlayBook OS will include a feature "that will encrypt apps so they can only be run by the user who purchased the app".

He said that RIM is also working with the developer community to ensure they can quickly and easily test their new apps on real hardware, and anyone attending the BlackBerry 10 jam will be given a prototype device to start building on.

Canadian firm RIM has been trying to revive the fortunes of the PlayBook tablet, which has failed to ignite the interest of consumers since it was launched in April 2011.

Despite recently rolling out a new operating system improving performance, it is estimated that only around 1.35m PlayBooks have been sold worldwide, and the tablet has struggled to compete with Apple's iPad and products running Google Android.

RIM was recently forced to deny it was retreating from the consumer market following a disastrous set of quarterly results, which prompted RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie to leave the firm.

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