When the BlackBerry Playbook was first announced, there were a few big things to be excited for. Its WebOS-like multi-tasking was beautiful and brilliant, its web browsing abilities were extremely well-designed, and the caveat? The ability to run a supposed 80% of Android apps by sideloading them. It seemed destined to do moderately well, even if it didn’t do great. Of course, we all know how history actually played out; the sales were bad enough that RIM ended up pulling an HP and dropping the prices of the tablets. Still, those that did end up with a Playbook had almost a pseudo-Android tablet with that app sideloading ability. If you’re one of those users, you may be disappointed soon.
Alec Saunders, VP of developer releations at RIM, in response to a user question, stated,
“We’re removing side loading for consumers. Pretty sure we’ve got a solution for [developers to install].”
This action is in response to concern over piracy of Android apps and is being made in support of Android developers, an altruistic move if I’ve ever heard one. The question here is will this hurt sales of RIM’s tablet, especially given that there’s a rumored sequel around the corner? When you’re doing your best to sell a product that isn’t faring particularly well, every feature of that device is a potential selling point. Taking one away? Well…
Support of the developers is definitely a good reason to pull such a move, but was it the right one? Will this make a negative impact on sales of the Playbook and its potential successor? Let us know what you think in the comments!