RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook already has a name for itself as the tablet of choice for users looking for cross-platform compatibility, thanks to its ability to run repackaged Android apps. That was cool enough on its own, but a new software package has the potential to revolutionize the tablet’s ability to run apps from competing smartphone platforms, supporting iOS programs.
Demonstration videos of the system first appeared over the weekend, and following some initial bouts of skepticism, it’s all seeming very much real. The developer has also prepared an iOS simulator for Windows, where it has to emulate an ARM processor, but the PlayBook gets to skip that step.
Since Apple’s custom chips are based on standard ARM cores supporting the same instruction set as the OMAP 4 in the PlayBook, RIM’s tablet can directly execute compiled iOS app code. The trick, then, is in routing API calls to the relevant PlayBook equivalents, and coding support for the needed libraries.
At this early stage, compatibility is far from perfect, but when it works, it can do so quite well, indeed. Demo videos show games running on the PlayBook without a hitch, even with full 3D graphics.
Suffice it to say, we’re hugely excited to see what becomes of this project as the kinks are further ironed-out.