Rumor: BlackBerry smartphones to run Android apps

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Research in Motion (RIM) could be looking to integrate Android application support into future BlackBerry smartphones by next year. The move could help revive slowing BlackBerry sales and give customers a much larger app selection than RIM’s App World currently offers.

Bloomberg spoke with three people familiar with the plans that claim RIM’s new QNX smartphone software will be Android-compatible. This is the same OS that the BlackBerry PlayBook uses and if you recall, RIM announced earlier this year that their tablet would get Android app support this summer. The simple fact that the PlayBook is based on the same QNX software that will find a home on BlackBerry smartphones makes this rumor highly feasible.

Google’s Android Market features over 250,000 apps while RIM’s BlackBerry App World barely tops 40,000 apps.

RIM is expected to introduce new QNX-based phones in early 2012 and the company can use all of the help it can get. A June 2011 comScore report showed that RIM had slipped to third place with a 23.4 percent share among smartphone platforms. In July, the company announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs worldwide after poor quarterly reports.

But in RIM’s defense, they are taking a proactive approach to turn things around rather than waiting around for the inevitable. Last month RIM released BlackBerry Messenger 6, an update to their popular Messenger service that enabled interaction with a handful of connected apps. And just today, RIM introduced the rumored BlackBerry streaming music service officially known as BBM Music.

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