Research in Motion plans to drop the ability to sideload Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook, Alec Saunders, vice president of developer relations, announced Friday on Twitter. Saunders said that RIM wanted to avoid “duplicat[ing] the chaotic cesspool of Android market.”
This is a kick in the shins at Android’s app store, now called Google Play, which has had its share of problems with malware. The Android store environment also plays more heavily toward free apps than iOS, and the unfavorable sales-to-customer-support ratio can result in low profitability for developers. That aside, Saunders also highlights a issue that sideloading appears to facilitate: piracy. According to the RIM VP, there are instances of developers sideloading free Android apps they don’t own. Crackberry also notes that sideloading Android apps results in buggy and difficult-to-use incarnations on the PlayBook for customers.
Saunders says that RIM is creating another solution for developers who want to transfer their apps to the platform, but in the meantime, this means that the PlayBook platform loses potential access to some 300,000 active applications in the Google Play Store—better a puddle than a (cess)pool, the company seems to think.
RIM plans to announce more details on Android sideloading later today, Saunders tells Ars.