Python on BlackBerry PlayBook


Peter Hansen

I'm slightly surprised to search and not see any recent mention of
Python running on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Since the PlayBook simulators (for developers) were first available
late last year, they've contained Python 2.7. Some time before
release, the permissions were changed so the binaries weren't
accessible to developers or to apps.

There's now a developer beta of the upcoming 2.0 release of the
PlayBook's OS (built on QNX, previously named Tablet OS and now
rebranded as BBX). Though this beta has almost none of the "user-
facing" improvements included, much of what's below the covers is
intact and probably fairly representative of how the final release
will look. In this beta 2.0 release, I see a full installation of
Python 3.2.1 (qnx6 build). (The 2.7 install is still present, and
likely will remain for a long time, as it underpins some important
features in the OS.)

There are other clear signs that RIM/QNX have a significant chunk of
Python related work done already, including a video with some TAT user
interface demos (
) where you can see (in 720P mode, around 3:30) files such as and along with a "PyCascadesSDK".

Currently RIM has no public plans to make a Python SDK available to
developers for use in building PlayBook/BBX apps (which would include
the next generation of their phones). I believe if there were enough
interest shown, this situation could change.

So, I'm curious to what degree it would influence people's interest in
developing apps for the PlayBook if they were to provide a full Python
SDK, or even part of one which the community could flesh out, as one
of the development platforms available for the PlayBook.

For those not watching this area, the current set of platforms
includes native C/C++, WebWorks (HTML5/JavaScript and other web
standards), Java in the form of the now-beta Android player, and Adobe
AIR (Flash/ActionScript3). I think Python would round that out very
nicely. ;-)

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