After some speculation, RIM has formally announced that their tablet, the Blackberry Playbook, will run Android apps. The inclusion of support for Android apps is huge because it means RIM’s new tablet will ship with the ability to run hundreds of thousands of apps. To further make the point, when the Motorola Xoom shipped you could only install 16 apps on the tablet, which significantly limited what you could do with that tablet.
The Playbook will run Android apps in a secure “sandbox” that RIM is calling an app player. I am a bit discouraged by RIM’s statement that developers will have to repackage, code sign, and submit their apps to the Blackberry App World. Requiring developers to have to do something to make their Android apps run on the Playbook means that some may chose not to participate, meaning their is no guarantee that your favorite Android app will run on the Playbook.
RIM has not announced a ship date for the Playbook, but speculation is that it will be available for purchase in April or May. You can preorder the Playbook from Best Buy at $499.99 for a 16 GB model, $599.99 for a 32 GB model, and $699.99 for a 64 GB model.