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RIM says PlayBook tablet will run Android apps

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Less than a month before its first tablet computer goes on sale, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion announced that its PlayBook tablet will support applications written for Android, the operating system that powers many smartphones that compete with the BlackBerry.

The new 7-inch device -- to be launched April 19 -- will be smaller than Apple’s hugely successful iPad. The PlayBook is a bid by RIM to snag a part of the growing tablet market at the same time that BlackBerry phones face increasing competition and slower sales growth as the iPhone and Android-based phones eat up more market share.

The PlayBook will support apps written for Android 2.3 and BlackBerry Java and will open up a wider field for both app users and developers. ‘The upcoming addition ... will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will showcase the versatility of the platform,’ RIM co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis said.

RIM posted fourth-quarter earnings Thursday of $934 million, or $1.78 a share. The company forecasted earnings for the current quarter ranging from $1.47 to $1.55 a share, which fell below analyst estimates. Its shares, which closed up $1.97, or 3.2%, at $64.09, plunged $6.70, or 10.4%, to $57.39 in after-hours trading.

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RIM said that cheaper BlackBerry sales would make up a greater chunk of its revenue in the current quarter. The company also plans to sink more into research, development and marketing, with a special focus on the PlayBook.

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--Shan Li


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