RIM's PlayBook Android app player leaks out

An old version of the player was available on the BlackBerry website but has since been pulled

Research In Motion may be getting close to releasing the Android app player it promised for the PlayBook, judging from an old version of the player found on the BlackBerry.com website.

The N4BB blog reported that it was sent a beta build of the Android App Player for PlayBook, which had been found through a changelog in a desktop manager update on the BlackBerry website.

RIM appears to have pulled the Web page but some bloggers have already posted it elsewhere for anyone to download.

Those who have reported that the app player is a large file and is slow. It also lacks a back button but users have discovered that swiping across the bottom of the screen moves to the previous page. Users are under the impression that this is a relatively old version of the software.

RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the leaked player.

In March, RIM announced that it would ship software so that PlayBook customers could run Android and Java apps on the tablet. The move takes some of the pressure off RIM to try to cultivate a rich developer following by allowing existing Android apps to run on the PlayBook. The process won't be totally straightforward, however -- developers will need to port their apps to the PlayBook in a process RIM said will be quick and easy.

The company has not said when the Android and Java players will become available. RIM sold 500,000 PlayBooks during the first six weeks of sales, a figure that many observers called inadequate. Some have criticized the tablet for its lack of a native email clients.

Separately, RIM on Thursday said it was the first to offer a tablet computer certified for use by U.S. government agencies.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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