RIM backpeddles in Playbook side-loading row

After gaining a lot of controversy, RIM says it will not disable Android app side-loading for the Playbook tablet.

The company’s vice president of developer relations Alec Saunders blamed the controversy on Twitter. It was a tweet that he wrote that caused a media firestorm, as it suggested that the tablet device would no longer support wide-scale compatibility for Android apps, which is one of the only moves RIM has done lately that actually gained praise.

What the company would highly prefer is for the app’s developer to convert it into a Playbook-friendly format and then submit it to the Blackberry App World marketplace so that it becomes an official Playbook app.

In fact, RIM has even gone so far as to offer free Playbooks to developers who go that extra mile. But the company, for a change, was realistic and realized not every Android developer would go to that effort.

So it came as a huge surprise when Saunders suggested that this would be the only way that an Android app could come to the new platform.

In a more expansive blog post, Saunders said, “140 characters doesn’t allow for nuance,” clarifying, “Side-loading on our platform is changing in nature. Side-loading is a developer feature. It exists so that developers can load their apps onto their own devices to test.”

He continued, “It’s there so developers can send a beta release to their testing community for review. It is definitely not there for some people to side load a pirated app.”