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Hacker purportedly demos iOS apps emulated on BlackBerry PlayBook

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
An enterprising developer has demonstrated an alleged hack that would allow iOS apps to run on Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, albeit with certain limitations.

User "businesscat2000" took credit on the CrackBerry.com forums for a video uploaded to YouTube showcasing the concept, as noted by MacNN.

When questioned about the authenticity of the video, the developer claimed to have written a loader to perform the task. According to the poster, the ABI in iOS is "pretty darn close" to QNX's ABI.

"I don't load any frameworks - all imports are built into the loader statically. Makes it much easier to debug and deploy," said "businesscat2000."

The hacker proposed a challenge to other forum users to prove that the concept is real. Skeptics were asked to send non-commercial, DRM-free apps so he could upload videos of the apps running on the PlayBook. The apps were to be built for ARMv6 or universal binary and have 480x320 resolution. Apps based on UIWebView, Maps, CoreData or "any of those classes" were ruled out because they wouldn't work.



Though any solution for porting iOS apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook would be of dubious legality, the hack could possibly provide an interesting boost to the PlayBook platform, which has languished in recent months. The PlayBook already has limited support for some Android applications.

RIM announced that "amateur hour" was over last spring when it released the PlayBook. The launch was a quiet one, however, and the device failed to attract high-volume sales until it received a steep price cut to move unsold inventory. RIM took a $485 million charge on the PlayBook late last year.

PlayBook



If RIM's figures are to be believed, the BlackBerry maker is Apple's closest competitor in terms of generating profits for the app store. The company claimed in February that its BlackBerry App World is the second-most-profitable mobile application store behind only Apple's own App Store. As of February, the store had 60,000 applications.

Meanwhile, RIM is focusing its energy on the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, which will work on both smartphones and tablets. A prototype device for the new operating system was described as a shrunken PlayBook by one analyst after a developer launch in early May. BlackBerry 10 was originally scheduled to arrive earlier this year, but the release has been pushed back to the second half of 2012.

Hit with several rounds of layoffs, an executive shakeup and a plummeting stock price, RIM is fighting for survival. In late May, the company announced plans to ax 40 percent of its workforce. After years at the helm, RIM's co-founders stepped down from their posts as co-chairmen of the board and co-Chief Executive Officers earlier this year.
post #2 of 15

Wow, good job. No commercial application obviously, but I admire it from a technical standpoint.

post #3 of 15

Clever bloke, but ultimately useless..

In other news, 'axe' should have an 'e' on the end lol.gif  (none of the forum smilies work??!!) 

Quote:
the company announced plans to ax 40 percent of its workforce. 
post #4 of 15

Sounds like hacking iTunes to run on the Zune

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

 Apps based on UIWebView, Maps, CoreData or "any of those classes" were ruled out because they wouldn't work.

 

And so the point of this is? How many iOS apps don't use at least one of those?

 

If I'm reading this right (I may not be, it is Friday!) he's found a way to make for apps compiled in XCode for an ARM CPU run on a different ARM CPU but without access to any of the iOS core libraries and APIs which strikes me as being next to useless.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMcM76 View Post

And so the point of this is? How many iOS apps don't use at least one of those?

If I'm reading this right (I may not be, it is Friday!) he's found a way to make for apps compiled in XCode for an ARM CPU run on a different ARM CPU but without access to any of the iOS core libraries and APIs which strikes me as being next to useless.

I was thinking the same thing. If your app doesn't use frameworks then your app may as well be HTML because you almost certainly aren't optimizing your app.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Wow, good job. No commercial application obviously, but I admire it from a technical standpoint.

 

I wouldn't say good job just yet. a huge chunk of apps are out due to the 'no maps, core data' etc. it's only Cydia based apps cause of the 'no DRM' and he claims but apparently can't prove it works so perhaps it doesn't, which is why he was fishing for apps use to prove it. 

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #8 of 15

Smart guy if true, but then, what a tremendous amount of time must this guy have to waste.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Smart guy if true, but then, what a tremendous amount of time must this guy have to waste.

A tinkerer can glue interesting things together and as someone else said be admired for the ability to do it. Sometimes something useful emerges from the tinkering, even revolutionary.

This is not one of those times. This truly was a waste of time and talent.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Smart guy if true, but then, what a tremendous amount of time must this guy have to waste.

That's what I was thinking.  

post #11 of 15
I agree with others that it is pointless in and of itself but I'm sure he learned a lot from the process which could be invaluable in the future.

Perhaps RIM will hire him to get Android working right on Playbooks like they promised so long ago.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 15
A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #13 of 15

He has taken the concepts from WINE and simply applied them to iOS. Simply because he didn't port any of those frameworks doesn't mean it isn't technically possible. While there may be little commercial value to his efforts, it's a very interesting technology demonstration about how portable iOS apps really are.

post #14 of 15

Why give the guy a hard time? I once heard of a guy watching sports on TV for fun, achieving equally little. I say: cool hobby project!

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMcM76 View Post

 

And so the point of this is? How many iOS apps don't use at least one of those?

 

If I'm reading this right (I may not be, it is Friday!) he's found a way to make for apps compiled in XCode for an ARM CPU run on a different ARM CPU but without access to any of the iOS core libraries and APIs which strikes me as being next to useless.

CoreData is just the API that interfaces with SQL Lite database. The other iOS frameworks are imported and used statically.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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