Although the device hasn't launched yet, many prospective customers believed the PlayBook's greatest weakness would be its lackluster app selection, especially when compared to the ecosystems Apple and Google have established. Eradicating those concerns, RIM has just announced that its upcoming tablet will be able to run Android apps.

The company will release two "app players" that provide an environment for the PlayBook to run BlackBerry Java and Android 2.3 apps, which will be available through the BlackBerry App World. That functionality will arrive this summer and could open the door to more than 250,000 apps if the entire Android Market is available.

Additionally, RIM said it will release a native SDK allowing the masses to develop C/C++ applications for the PlayBook's BlackBerry Tablet OS, which is based on QNX Neutrino. These options "will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform," said RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.

RIM will demo the new app players and the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida from May 3 to May 5. The PlayBook is slated to launch in North America on April 19 with models ranging from $499 for 16GB of internal storage to $699 for 64GB, or about the same pricing as Apple's second-generation iPad.